As the tradition is every year, we do the Kumarika poojan for all the girls during the Ashtami or Navami day of Navaratri. During this celebration, the new students are given a small token of appreciation along with the prasad of the pooja and some students are made to do the “Gejje Pooje” or the “Ghungroo Poojan” where they get their Gejje for the first time from the Guru and after taking the blessings of the Lord Nataraja and the Guru, they wear the Gejje and do a small performance in class to symbolize a new journey into the art form.
The students who have already received their Gejje previously, receive them once more after the pooja from the Guru and they too perform a small dance in order to symbolize their further journey into the art form.
Importance of Gejje or Ghungroo in Indian Classical Dance: “Ghunghroos” or foot bells are one of the most important requisites of an Indian Classical Dancer.
Indian Dancers who are conscious of the sacred purpose and content of their art, worship Ghunghroos (foot bells) as Goddess Saraswati Herself. Before tying the Ghunghroos on their legs they first offer them to their Guru, so that He may bless them, then they put the foot bells with a deep feeling of adoration and reverence to their forehead and heart and then only they tie them to their legs.
Traditional Indian Dancers who are fully aware of the sacred purpose of their Ghunghroos never throw the Ghunghroos after the performance on the floor or in some corner; this would be considered by sensible dancers as a sacrilege. In the contrary, after the dance performance or dance practice is over, a traditional Indian Dancer puts the Ghunghroos lovingly on a special sacred place, ideally on an Aasan (divine seat) in front of the altar of one’s Divinities.
When Ghunghroos are purchased newly, first Pooja should be made with them and only afterwards one should wear them. Ghunghroos play an important role in all the major styles of Indian Classical Dance, except in the Northeastern style “Manipuri”. For all other styles, like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi and specially for the North Indian Kathak Dance, Ghunghroos are of utmost importance. In the contrary to the Western Classical Dance Styles, who try to defy gravity, the Indian Dances are heavenly and still strongly connected to Mother Earth, the Goddess Bhoomidevi. The Indian Dancers execute beautiful rhythmic patterns while touching the Mother Earth with the full palm of the feet or the heel or toes. Special musical effects of interesting different rhythmic patterns executed by the dancer’s feet are very much enhanced and multiplied by the use of Ghunghroos.