Hindu Festival celebrated in Palmerston North

Margi Pandya joins in the stick dance.
WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Margi Pandya joins in the stick dance.

For nine consecutive nights, spanning September and October, the Senior Citizens' Hall on Main St, Palmerston North is transformed.

In come bright colours, swirling dancers, food and music, as the Indian community enjoys Navratri, a Hindu festival.

The word Navratri refers to the nine auspicious nights during which Goddess Durga is worshiped. For many people it is a time of religious reflection, for others it's a time for dancing and feasting.

A special feature of Navrati is the dandiya, or stick, dance in which dancers hold sticks in both hands, form two circles and strike each others' sticks in time to the music. In India thousands of dancers can participate in one huge communal dance.

Kiran Meghwal and Mumal Ranawat stand in the centre of the dance circle.
1 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Kiran Meghwal and Mumal Ranawat stand in the centre of the dance circle.
Yati Joshi carries a tray of candles.
2 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Yati Joshi carries a tray of candles.
Bhanumata and Niranjna Patel carry a tray of celebratory candles to signify wealth, knowledge and grace.
3 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Bhanumata and Niranjna Patel carry a tray of celebratory candles to signify wealth, knowledge and grace.
An energetic evening takes its toll on tired bodies.
4 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
An energetic evening takes its toll on tired bodies.
Tanya Yadav sits beside the food offerings.
5 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Tanya Yadav sits beside the food offerings.
Ruchi Ritesh holds a tray of celebratory candles.
6 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Ruchi Ritesh holds a tray of celebratory candles.
Pritima Parmer joins the dance.
7 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Pritima Parmer joins the dance.
Parth Trivedi joins in the dandiya dance.
8 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Parth Trivedi joins in the dandiya dance.
Pia Linga takes a break between dances.
9 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Pia Linga takes a break between dances.
Time out from dancing for a little food.
10 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Time out from dancing for a little food.
When the dancing stops the singing and clapping continue.
11 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
When the dancing stops the singing and clapping continue.
Pia Linga, left, and Kirtesh Patel, 10, join in the dandiya dance.
12 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Pia Linga, left, and Kirtesh Patel, 10, join in the dandiya dance.
Dakshina Patel holds Megh Patel while joining in dandiya dance.
13 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Dakshina Patel holds Megh Patel while joining in dandiya dance.
About 300 people from the Palmerston North Indian community celebrate Navratri at the Senior Citizens' Hall.
14 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
About 300 people from the Palmerston North Indian community celebrate Navratri at the Senior Citizens' Hall.
The celebrations continue.
15 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
The celebrations continue.
The energetic atmosphere and dancing can be a tiring experience.
16 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
The energetic atmosphere and dancing can be a tiring experience.
A sample of the vast array of food offerings.
17 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
A sample of the vast array of food offerings.
Lost in a blur of colour and movement.
18 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Lost in a blur of colour and movement.
The dancers go by.
19 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
The dancers go by.
Tina and jayesh Patel, with their sons, Jainil and Jeehan.
20 of 20WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Tina and jayesh Patel, with their sons, Jainil and Jeehan.

Stuff