Folk Dances and Music of Rajasthan

Folk dances and music of Rajasthan are major tourist attraction. Music and dance are two very important aspects of the folklore of any region .The people of Rajasthan during the time of relaxation indulge in culturally rich activities which ranges from dancing, singing, drama, devotional music and puppet shows. Rajasthan has great variety of dance, which are simple expressions of celebrations and festivity. Each region of Rajasthan adds its own form of dance styles and performers. These are dance that follows a lineage of age old traditions, adhere to religious significance, display their daring attitude, as well as complementing various fairs and festivals. Folk dances and music are major attractions for the tourists visiting Rajasthan. The various folk dances of Rajasthan are as follows -

Ghoomar Dance: The Ghoomar dance is performed on festive occasions only by women. Ghoomar, the popular folk dance of Rajasthan, is broadly of two kinds – one that is prevalent among the tribals & rural areas; and another one that is performed by urban people. Ghoomar derives its name from the Hindi word ‘Ghoomna’ and literally means whirling movement. Turning and circular movement form the core of the dance. In this dance ladies move gently, gracefully in circle. Traditionally, all women whether old or young, participate in the dance, which can continue for hours into the night. Among the tribal communities, the Sanasis and the Bhils have the tradition of performing Ghoomar. The Sanasis call it Gher Ghoomar. In the tribal Ghoomar, both men and women participate, but in the non-tribal kind only women perform it. The dancers wear highly pleated long skirts. The skirts form the shape of rotating umbrellas while the dancers take fast turns and become a feast for the eyes. While the tribal Ghoomar is accompanied with Dhol, Jhalar, ldiophone; and flute; the musical accompaniment for the non-tribal Ghoomar is provided by Dholak, Nagara , Shehnai, and harmonium. In all kinds of Ghoomar, the dancers sing while dancing. A new bride, on being welcomed to the home of her husband, too is expected to dance the ‘ghoomar’ as one of the rituals of the new marriage.

Kachhi Ghodi: Kachchi Ghori dance, popular among some communities in eastern part of Rajasthan, is generally performed by dancers belonging to Kumhar and Havana communities in Shekhawati region. The dance is performed during the celebration of a bridegroom's party. As the name of the dance suggests, it is a dance of false horse rider. To the both ends of a pair of bamboo rods two baskets are tied. The head of a horse prepared with papier-mache is fixed to one of the baskets. To the other a bunch of flex fibres are tied to suggest the tail of the horse. The dancer gets into the dummy horse at the middle of the space between the two bamboo rods and adjusts it at his waist so that it appears as if he was riding a horse. The dancer is dressed like a bridegroom. Traditionally, four to five dancers perform the dance. A singer usually sings the exploits of the bandit Robin Hoods. The musical accompaniment to the dance is provided by Dhol, the drum, and Turahi, a wind instrument made of brass.

Chari Dance: It is a festive dance. The Chari dance, also called Charwa, is performed by the female folks. Popular among the Mali community of Kishangarh region in Rajasthan, the Chari dance is played out on the occasion of the birth of a son in the family. The name of the dance is derived from the word ‘chari’, literally means a brass pitcher. During the performance of the dance, the participating women make spin and swaying movements while balancing pitchers on their heads. The mouth of the pitcher is adorned with a bowl of fire, flames rising high. The lighted lamps placed on the pot never tumble down during the rhythmic swaying. Several musical instruments like Dhol, Shehnai, Thah, Bankia etc. are utilized to deliver festive music for Chari dance.

Kalbelia: Kalbelia is a nomadic snake charmer community of Rajasthan and found in occupation of ensnaring snakes, extracting venom and selling medicines / herbs protecting from death by snake bite. Kalbelia people belong to Nath sect of Hindu religion. The festive dance of this community is also known as Kalbelia dance. In modern days, people from the community are also opting for other professions. The festive dance of Kalbelia is performed only by the womenfolk of the community on the occasions of social & ceremonial celebrations. Traditionally, the danseuses perform the Kalbelia dance by putting on embroidered black skirt (ghaghra) & blouse. The movements involved are rhythmic and acrobatic-inspired. Special music is performed with the help of several musical instruments like Daph, Fungi, Been etc. Ajmer – Pushkar region is known for the highest concentration of Kalbelia community in Rajasthan.

Fire Dance: Bikaner and Churu are deservedly famous for their fire dances. The performers dance on the fire as if it did not exist and even put burning coal in their mouths, to the beat and rhythm of pipes and drums. The dancers seen to be in a trance like state.

Drum Dance: Jalore district is known for their drum dance. Five men with huge drums round their necks, some with huge cymbals accompany a dancer who holds a naked sword in his mouth and performs vigorously by twirling three painted sticks.

Gair Dance: This dance performed exclusively by men at the holi festival. The men wear long, pleated tunics that open out into full-length skirts as they move first in clockwise them in anticlockwise direction, beating their sticks to create rhythm when they turn. This becomes Daiidia Gair in Jodhpur and Geendad in Shekhawati.

Tera Taali: Rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan can be seen in Tera Taali dance form of the Kamara community. Two or three women conduct the dance by seating throughout the performance. The name Tera Taali derives from ‘terah’ (thirteen) & ‘taali’ (clapping) as thirteen kinds of cymbal clapping is performed by the dancers. These cymbals are tied to different parts of the dancers’ body and hit / moved rhythmically to the beats of the accompanying song. The danseuses carry two / three pitchers on their head while performing dance movements.

Kathputli (puppeteering): Tradition of puppeteering has long existed in Rajasthan. Katha means 'story' and puth means 'puppet'. The puppets are doll manipulated by a puppeteer who stands above and works the puppets by strings connected to head, waist and hands. Usually puppets do not have legs and feet and the lower part of their bodies is covered by a long skirt. This is performed by skilled puppeteers. The puppeteer is accompanied by a woman, usually his wife, who plays the dholak, or drum and sings the ballad.

Bhawai: Bhawai or Bhavia is the traditional folk dance of Rajasthan. It is performed with great skill it is the art of dancing and gyrating even while marinating a fine balancing act and poising many articles and items on one's head. The other folk dance in Rajasthan are Gair Ghoomer which performed by men and women both on the holi festival, Terah Taali, Pabuji Phad, Maand, Kathak - a classical dance of India, Sapera Dance etc.

The folk music of Rajasthan also occupies an important place among the traditions of Rajasthan. Rajasthani folk music has great variety and is rich, heroic and enjoyable. It covers all aspects of the life of the Rajasthani people. The folk music of Rajasthan is alive due to its traditional style of singing the folk songs. There are many singing communities in Rajasthan. More important among these are the Dholis, known by several names, Mirasis, Dhadhis, Langas, Manganiyars, Kalbelies(snake charmers), Jogis, Sargadas, Kamada, Nayaks and the Bhawaris. These communities have contributed to the preservation and popularization of Rajasthani folk songs. There are various types and themes of folk songs for various occasions and time like songs on separation, songs on unions, song about life in the family and its members, songs about deities and songs associated with festivals and ceremonies.

A large variety of musical instruments are used in the Rajasthan. These instruments are handcrafted by the musicians themselves. The most important instruments are Sarangi, Ektara, Morchang, Ghoralio, Garasiyas, Naad, Poongi, Rawanhattha, Khartal, Bankia and Da. There are dozens of other instruments available in Rajasthan. It is really interesting to find that folk music and dances impart vigour to tourism in Rajasthan. Policies and practices of Rajasthan tourism department foster the sustenance of folk dances and music.

Rajasthan Tour Packages

Vibrant Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Group Tour

Vibrant Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Group Tour

7 Nights / 8 Days
Destination : Delhi – Shekhawati –Bikaner – Jodhpur- Khejarla – Pushkar – Jaipur – Agra

Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Tour

Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Tour

15 Nights / 16 Days
Destination : Delhi-Agra-Fatephur Sikri-Jaipur-Ranthambore-Bundi-Udaipur-Jojawar-Narlai -Manvar-Jodhpur-Pushkar

Real Rajasthan India Tour

Real Rajasthan India Tour

14 Nights / 15 Days
Destination : Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Pushkar-Udaipur-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Bikaner-Mandawa

Rajasthan Shopping Tour

Rajasthan Shopping Tour

18 Nights / 19 Days
Destination : Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Pushkar - Kota - Bundi - Chittaurgarh - Bijaipur - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Bikaner - Mandawa

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