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The city of Rajkot is a flourishing, colourful and traditional one, ripe with multicultural diversity. With strong influences borne of cultural traditions and vast heritage, Rajkot has an amalgamation of many religions - Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Strongly influenced by the cultures shared with members of the society and passed on from one generation to the next, the people of Rajkot share cultural traits with the remaining state of Gujarat as well. The fourth largest city of the state, numerous festivals are celebrated here with aplomb. A place that expertly mixes modernity with tradition, the architecture of this city is depicted by a number of historical monuments and structures which show modern day sophistication and new, modern forms of construction.
People of Rajkot
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The people of the city of Rajkot belong to a variety of religions and cultures – however, despite their varied origins, they live harmoniously and function as a community. The citizens are predominantly vegetarians, owing to strong influences from the Hindu and Jain culture. One can find many languages in this multicultural abode of a city, namely Hindi, Gujarati, English, Urdu, Sindhi, Tamil, Maratha, Bengali, Malayalam. Of these, however, Urdu, Gujarati, English and Sindhi are the predominantly spoken languages. Gujarati in itself has over eleven different dialects, most of which are spoken in Rajkot.
A religiously diverse city, the main religious groups found here are Muslims, Hindus, Parsis or Zorastrians and Jains. The major castes of people of the city are the Banias, the Brahmins, the Bhils and the Patidars. The women in Rajkot are very fond of jewellery - Opulent chains, pendants and other heavy gold jewellery are a common, almost expected sight during marriages, family get-togethers and festivals. The attire of the people of Rajkot changes with changing seasons and upcoming festivals - Women don Saris in the quintessential Gujarati manner, and men opt for cotton Kurtas or formal clothes.
In rural parts, people are found to wear kurtas and dhotis. Traditional outfits like ‘chania choli’ and ‘kedia dress’ is worn by men and women during cultural festivals or in rural areas. The city of Rajkot is a part of Kathiyawad, which is why the people of the city are also referred to as the Kathiyawadis. The citizens are engaged with a variety of modern day job in the fields of administration, information technology, accounts and finance, amongst others.
Art and Craft in Rajkot
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Having witnessed a prosperous cultural legacy, the city of Rajkot is a major regional centre for the arts, with many spots and places dedicated to the section of performing arts inside the city. Silver craftsmen and goldsmiths hailing from the Soni community have, since long, worked on fascinating designs and intricate patterns of jewellery. These people have also been patronized in the past by royal families and currently by the affluent business communities in Rajkot. Hemu Gadhvi Natyagraha is one of the first non-profit regional theatres,
and is rich with history and dedicated to the famous Gujarati Play.
Rajkot is also well known for its textile printing industry, and these textiles, embellished with colourful and artsy embroidery are the distinctive beacons of different communities who make and wear them. The most popular niche of people are the craftsmen who earlier catered to royalty, and now utilize their expertise in metal and wood carving to create small and ornamental articles. Following is a list of the different handicrafts of Rajkot:
Wood with metal embossing
Music in Rajkot
Rajkot is famous for its native music genre, called Dayro. This music form is used to convey ancient folk stories, traditions and sayings. The people of Rajkot also indulge in Kathiyawadi folk music from time to time. The city is known for various orchestra groups who perform professionally as well, primarily the latest and most popular music from Bollywood. They are quite popular at weddings and other festivals.
Festivals in Rajkot
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The festivals in Rajkot are popularly regarded as the most vibrant of occasions, wherein the entire population of the city gets together in mirth, joy and merriment. Enriched with wide array of festivals, Rajkot signifies a cultural dynamism in which the entire community comes together in celebration and joy.
The International Kite Festival
The International Kite festival, or Uttarayan is a major event in the city of Rajkot, and it occurs in mid-January every year – precisely, when the Sun's direct rays reach the Tropic of Capricorn after the winter solstice. Also referred to as Makar Sankranti, people hailing from all corners of India as well as from other countries often flock to Rajkot to watch this colourful, competitive and entertaining festival.
Navaratri is a popular festival which is celebrated across the city of Rajkot, and is one of Gujarat’s most prominently observed festivals. Celebrated over a duration of nine days, the religious significance of Navaratri festival speaks of its association with 'Shakti' or eternal power. The people of Rajkot perform Garba, which is a special dance indigenous to Gujarat and incorporates embellished outfits and a particular dance sequence. People dress in colourful and bright attires for the Navaratri nights. While the men don colourful local dance costumes, the womenfolk adorn themselves with various gold ornaments for this this fun festival. An atmosphere of glee, fun and enthusiasm is seen in these nine days, be it for the young or the old.
Modhera Dance Festival
Celebrated in the month of January, the Modhera dance festival is another popular event of Rajkot. Traditionally performed at the Modhera Sun Temple, this beautiful dance represents the rich tradition of the multicultural city of Rajkot. The Sun Temple is the ideal venue for this annual festival, and the intricate beauty of the outer walls of the temple are reflected in the sculptures covered on it, in which the figures of Surya are prominent.
One of the most awaited festivals in Rajkot, Janmashtami is celebrated with great aplomb in this city. A five day mela to commemorate this festival is conducted every year at the race course - with over 150 stores, rides and merry-go-rounds and other enthralling activities, over ten lakh people flock to Rajkot each year for this popular an boisterous mela.
People flock from all parts of India to visit Rajkot and get a glimpse of the mesmerizing and entertaining charm of these local festivals.
Food in Rajkot
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As mentioned before, the majority of Rajkot’s residents are vegetarian. A traditional ‘Gujarati Thali’ consists of dal (lentils), rice, roti, and vegetables apart from farsan and a sweet dish followed by chaas - a concoction of yoghurt, water and spices. Evening platter consist of khichdi kadhi or ‘bhakri-shak’. Mainly, the diet of the people of Rajkot consists of lentils, cereals, green leafy vegetables, milk, fruits, yoghurt, etc. A variety of accompaniments like pickles, papad, chutney, yoghurt, etc. serve as side dishes to the main menu.
A variety of dishes are prepared by the people of Rajkot, and in today's time many of those dishes are heavily influenced by food from other regions as well. People are often seen enjoying ice golas, ice-creams, and sugar-cane juice, or 'ganne ka ras' during the summer season.
Thus, a city rich in culture, Rajkot is frequently referred to as 'Rangilu Rajkot' which means colorful Rajkot.