starting on september 25, hindus will observe ten days of ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts in honor of the supreme mother goddess, durga, and her defeat of the demon mahishasura. hinduism, it should be noted, is the only religion in the world which has emphasised to such an extent the motherhood of god.
the first nine days of festivities, known as navarātrī (literally meaning nine nights), see thousands of youth participate in the garba dance to honour durga. (garba is itself a word that derives from womb, or life, and the dance is meant to honor the fact that all humans have the divine energy within them.)
girls and women dress in the traditional garga choli, a three piece dress comprised of a colourful blouse, a long, embroidered skirt, and a shall known as a dupatta. photos are by amit dave and sam panthaky from ahmedabad, in the northern indian state of gujarat, where the garba dance originated.