You instantly think of royalty and nobility when you hear the word Rajasthan. The land has its own glorious charm to it. Rajasthani’s have gracefully kept their traditions and values alive, through their resplendent folk dances. These dances not only narrate stories wrapped in folk songs, but also echo their magnificent history. Here are the types of dances you must know about.
If you like fast paced music, beats of a tambourine like instrument (called chang as well) and interested in knowing how men look dancing in traditional women attire…You must watch this Rajasthani dance! Originally from Shekhawati region (Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjunu and Sikar). This is usually performed during the festive season of Holi. This dance form is also known as ‘Dhamal’.
What if I told you that there’s a dance form which narrates the stories of local Rajasthani bandits? That too along with flute and drums? Well, that’s true! It’s usually performed at weddings or social events, wherein men wear colorful turbans and kurtas along with a dummy horse. The dance symbolizes chivalry and courageousness.This form also comes from the Shekhawati region.
Recognised as an ‘Intangible Heritage’ by UNESCO, is a sensuous dance with serpent-like moves performed by the women. Which is why it is also called the ‘snakecharmer’ or the ‘sapera’ dance. Two headed hand drums (dholak), percussion instrument (khanjari), and woodwind instrument (pungi) are played by men while women dance lusciously wearing a long skirt (ghagra), veil (odhni) and a jacket-like garment (angrakhi). Usually women of the namesake tribe perform Kalbeliya.
Watch men wear skirts, carry an arrow, stick and sword in their hands while women in ghagra choli. They dance in clockwise and anticlockwise directions, circling each other on the drum beats! It is fascinating to watch the men turning and hitting their sticks together. Gair is performed during the festival of Janmashtami by the Bhil community.
More than thousands of years ago the Bhat tribal community in Rajasthan, started with this traditional puppet show. From regional problems and issues of the country to mythologies and folk stories, everything is narrated by the puppeteers. They invest in creating different style and tone of voices for the puppets (kathputli – kath means wood and putli means doll).
Bhavai is one of the most famous Rajasthani dances. Women dance on broken glass or the edges of a brass plate, balancing eight to nine earthen pots or brass pitchers on their head. Sarang, dholak and harmonium is played by male musicians and singers in the background.
Recognised world-wide as one of the most captivating local folk dance, Ghoomar leaves the audience wanting for more! Women swirl, spin and sway with not only beautifully coordinated hand and leg movements but also synchronize with other women in the dance. Their attire, which consists of ghagra choli and veil (odhani) enhances the steps performed by them. Ghoomar is staged on occasions like festival of Holi, Teej and at weddings when a newly wed bride enters her marital house. Bhil tribe pioneered this dance form which was later adopted by the royal families too.
Chari means pot, where as the dance represents joyfulness of the culture and the tradition of collecting water in chari. Women dance to the beats of harmonium, dholak and nagada, while balancing the pot on their head which also has a lit lamp inside of it. The dance was introduced by Saini community of Ajmer and Gujjars of Kishangarh.