Adding one more feather to India’s cap and an appreciation of India’s cultural diversity- Gujarat’s Garba Dance has now been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. 

Garba – Gujarat’s popular Garba Dance, a folk dance is performed for devotional reasons in honour of Goddess Durga. Men and women get together in a circle where they whirl and twirl to folk music for hours. What starts as slow movements, the tempo builds with people dancing more vigorously and energetically. Gujarat’s Garba dance is mainly performed during Navratri. 

Gujarat's Garba Dance
Female dancers in traditional colorful Indian costume on the floor among crowd during Navratri
Image Credit: Pete Burana

As announced by Gujarat’s Chief Minister, Bhupendra Patel on X, “The age-old tradition of devotion to Goddess Mother in the form of Garba is alive and growing. Garba which has become the identity of Gujarat has been approved by UNESCO under its intangible cultural heritage list,” He also added, “This is a moment of pride for Gujaratis spread all over the world. This is a result of importance being given to the heritage of the country…Congratulations to the people of Gujarat.”  

The Garba Dance of Gujarat making it to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is being seen as a matter of immense pride not only for Gujarat state but the entire nation.

‘Garba of Gujarat’ received prestigious recognition under the provisions of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage during the 18th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Kasane, Botswana. The folk dance of Garba is deeply rooted in the ritualistic and devotional traditions of Gujarat. It plays an important role in developing socio-economic and gender inclusivity. 

Even UNESCO’s New Delhi cluster office also shared the excitement, announcing, “Excited to share that #Garba of Gujarat is now India’s 15th inscription on the @UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!”

Garba costumes
Gujarati folk artists with beautiful traditional dress
Image Credit: OmMishra

A trip to Gujarat with our all-inclusive Gujarat Tour Packages is enough to catch a glimpse of the beautiful dance form of Gujarat’s Garba. The best time for the same is the ‘Rann of Utsav’ festival held every year in Gujarat’s Kutch from November to February. If you are here to explore the country with our India Tour Packages, book your cheap flights to Gujarat and hotel reservations in advance to beat the tourist rush. 

Also Read: The Ultimate Rann of Kutch Travel Guide

The inclusion of Garba marks the 15th ICH element from India to join this distinguished list. This signifies the cultural significance of Gujarat’s Garba dance.

Apart from Gujarat’s Garba other Indian elements previously included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural List are:

  • The tradition of Vedic chanting (2008)
  • Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana (2008)
  • Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre (2008)
  • Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas, India (2009)
  • Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala (2010)
  • Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan (2010)
  • Chhau dance (2010)
  • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India (2012)
  • Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming, and dancing of Manipur (2013)
  • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India (2014)
  • Yoga (2016)
  • Nawrouz, Novruz, Nowrouz, Nowrouz, Nauryz, Nooruz, Nowruz, Navruz, Nevruz, Nowruz, Navruz (2016)
  • Kumbh Mela (2017)
  • Durga Puja of Kolkata (2021)

Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Aklan piña handloom weavingPhilippines
Al-Man’ouché, an emblematic culinary practice in LebanonLebanon
Alpine pasture seasonSwitzerland
Art of Akhal-Teke horse breeding and traditions of horses’ decorationTurkmenistan
Art of illumination: Təzhib/Tazhib/Zarhalkori/Tezhip/NaqqoshlikAzerbaijan – Iran (Islamic Republic of) – Tajikistan – Türkiye – Uzbekistan
Arts, skills and practices associated with engraving on metals (gold, silver and copper)Iraq – Algeria – Egypt – Mauritania – Morocco – Palestine – Saudi Arabia – Sudan – Tunisia – Yemen
Bolero: identity, emotion and poetry turned into songCuba – Mexico
Ceramic arts in UzbekistanUzbekistan
Ch’utillos, the Festival of San Bartolomé and San Ignacio de Loyola, the meeting of cultures in PotosíBolivia (Plurinational State of)
Craftsmanship and performing art of Balaban/meyAzerbaijan – Türkiye
Craftsmanship of mother of pearl inlayAzerbaijan – Türkiye
Dabkeh, traditional dance in PalestinePalestine
Elechek, Kyrgyz female headwear: traditional knowledge and ritualsKyrgyzstan
Garba of GujaratIndia
Harees dish: know-how, skills and practicesUnited Arab Emirates – Oman – Saudi Arabia
Hiragasy, a performing art of the Central Highlands of MadagascarMadagascar
Iftar/Eftari/Iftar/Iftor and its socio-cultural traditionsAzerbaijan – Iran (Islamic Republic of) – Türkiye – Uzbekistan
Jamu wellness cultureIndonesia
Knowledge, craft and skills of handmade glass productionCzechia – Finland – France – Germany – Hungary – Spain
Mahadra, a community system for transmission of traditional knowledge and oral expressionsMauritania
Malhun, a popular poetic and musical artMorocco
Maltese Village Festa, an annual community celebrationMalta
Midwifery: knowledge, skills and practicesColombia – Cyprus – Germany – Kyrgyzstan – Luxembourg – Nigeria – Slovenia – Togo
Nguon, rituals of governance and associated expressions in the Bamoun communityCameroon
Polonaise, traditional Polish dancePoland
Practices and meanings associated with the preparation and consumption of ceviche, an expression of Peruvian traditional cuisinePeru
Procession and celebrations of Prophet Mohammed’s birthday in SudanSudan
Rickshaws and rickshaw painting in DhakaBangladesh
Rotterdam Summer CarnivalNetherlands

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