Dussehra's mysterious dance

By on October 19, 2018
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The Dhangar community in Goa gears up to ward off evil with their unique dance performance - Dussehra Nruth

Dussehra is around the corner, and the Dhangar community in Goa can hardly contain its excitement. Residents of the numerous hamlets in remote villages sometimes called Dhangarvadas, clean their wards, repair their  maands, and wash and spruce up a set of mysterious costumes. It is the time for the Dhanger’s Dussehra Nruth!

Most people in Goa witness the the Dhangar dance during the Shigmo parade. In a matter of minutes, the Dhangars or sometimes professional dance troupes pass by the spectators, giving an incomplete or inaccurate picture of this spectacular dance.

If one wants to really enjoy, appreciate and understand this rarely witnessed cultural feast of the Dhangars, one must visit some of the Dhangar communes that hold the Dussehra Nruth in full regalia.

The ritual begins at about 10.30pm when the beats of the haunting drums and soulful tunes of a bamboo flute summon all tribesmen to the angan (maand) of Zoto Hegdo. While the women and children squat, about eight men go indoors to change into their ritual costumes.

They emerge wearing clean, white gowns with some emblems and a coloured sash. They also wear a head gear consisting of a white or coloured pagdi, and carry a coloured scarf in one hand. They then anoint each other’s foreheads with sacred turmeric powder and begin the Dussehra Nruth.

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.

Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.


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