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WATCH: Indian diaspora perform ‘Garba’ at NY Times Square to mark its inclusion in UNESCO heritage list

Enduring near-freezing temperatures late Thursday evening, members of the Indian-American community from around the New York tri-state area, including New Jersey, turned out in large numbers to perform Garba in the heart of Times Square.

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New York: Times Square echoed with the sounds and music of ‘Garba’ as members of the Indian-American community performed the traditional Gujarati dance at the iconic New York City destination to celebrate its inclusion in the UNESCO cultural heritage list. Diaspora organization Federation of Indian Associations NY NJ CT NE organized the festival in collaboration with the Consulate General of India in New York.

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Enduring near-freezing temperatures late Thursday evening, members of the Indian-American community from around the New York tri-state area, including New Jersey, turned out in large numbers to perform Garba in the heart of Times Square.

Garba, considered to be among the oldest forms of group dance and the longest dance festival spanning nine nights (Navratri), is a very popular group folk dance form in key states of India including Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. On Wednesday, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage inscribed ‘Garba of Gujarat’ on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during its 18th session to be held in Kasane, Botswana.

Donned in traditional Garba finery, men and women performed the traditional Gujarati dance surrounded by the flashing Times Square billboards as New Yorkers and tourists from around the world stopped to watch, take photos and videos and cheer the performance. Some bystanders even joined the dance, trying to match the steps and the rhythm of Garba and the ‘Dhol’.

In a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, UNESCO posted, “New inscription on the Intangible Heritage List: Garba of Gujarat, India. Congratulations!” The leading organisation for this initiative, the Federation of Indian Associations NY-NJ-CT-NE (FIA) extended an open invitation to the entire Indian American community to join in this momentous celebration at Times Square, NYC which was supported by the Consulate General of India, NY.

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PM Modi reacts to UNESCO’s update

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday praised the declaration of ‘Garba’ (traditional dance form of Gujarat), as an Intangible Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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