Gavari – Lost in pandemic 2020
Gavari is an annual 40-day ecstatic dance drama tradition practiced only by the Mewari Bhil tribe in Rajasthan. It has been a biggest source of entertainment with beautiful expressions by the troupe which has different characters. This tribal dance is a running dramatical dance which goes from village to village for a month.
The Bhils dedicate this dance to their principal deity Goddess Gavari (Gauri), a Shakti avatar. They perform this centuries-old ceremonial dance to pass on to the posterity, the values and lessons associated with art. Moreover the Bhils invoke, experience and celebrate Goddess Gavari’s creative epiphany and employ ascetic discipline, enraptured trance, and wild theatrics to convey ancient myths, historic events and tribal lore.
As an 800 year performing art, Gavari was very popular among the tribal communities in South of Rajasthan. Every year after the festival of Raksha Bandhan, the Bhil tribe express their devotion to Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati through Gavari folk opera. Throughout the 40-day performance, the Bhils follow strict rules. They follow celibacy, remain barefooted, doesn’t sleep on bed, skip night meal, do not bath during this period, abstain from alcohol and meat.
There are over 10000 people of all ages take part in the dance drama performances and use different costumes and colours to represent Lord Shiva and the demon Bhasmasur. Though the performers do not get any monetary gain but they have been doing it out of passion. Most of the participants are farmers or labourers who are associated with mandalis. They leave their homes for the entire season performing in various villages on invitations. The uniqueness of Gavari is in its fusion of pan Hindu mythology with purely local folk beliefs.
The purpose behind this custom is to ensure the wellness of their loved ones after marriage and instil in them a sense of proud and security. To mark the end of the religious festivities, the community concludes the rituals by immersing the effigy of an elephant in the river
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