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Folk Dances of Rajasthan: A Cultural Experience

Rajasthan, the royal state of India, often referred to as “the land of kings and queens” is known for its rich cultural heritage. And the folk dances of Rajasthan is a cultural experience.

They not only aesthetically pleasing but also narrate stories in a unique and captivating way. There are many folk dance forms such as Ghoomar, Kalbeliya, Bhavai, Kathputli etc., each telling a different story.

If you ever visit Rajasthan, one of the things to do is attend a folk dance performance. The folk dance tradition has been passed on from one generation to another through word of mouth and demonstration by elders since centuries ago.

The frenetic drum beat and exciting costumes will make you feel like you are in the past. Stories will be told by gestures and body language with smooth movements that can be graceful or vigorous, depending on the story’s mood.

The people who perform these traditional folk dance have strong links with their culture that they pride themselves in showcasing before others.

Rajasthani traditional dances come from different villages in the state, but they all have something in common. They are accompanied by music and singing, and clapping sounds. This makes them into extraordinary compositions.

This form of art provides entertainment and education about local traditions and history to children who see them performed at village-level festivals or community gatherings where tribal communities assemble once annually during Diwali festival season when all castes participate joyfully under a single umbrella.

Some details about the folk dances of Rajasthan!

  1. Ghoomar
  2. Kalbeliya
  3. Bhavai
  4. Kathputli
  5. Kachchhi Ghodi
  6. Gair
  7. Chari
  8. Chang

1) Ghoomar

Ghoomar or Ghumar is one of Rajasthan’s popular folk dances, performed initially as entertainment for royalty.

The dance moves involve clapping and swaying hands as well as twirling around the body. It originated from the Bhil community and was primarily performed as entertainment for kings in ancient times.

Ghumar dance is performed at festivals and social events today, with women wearing brightly coloured costumes and veils.

In the Ghoomar dance style, both men and women form a long chain or line to create an oval-shaped formation. The leader of this group is usually a woman who stands in front with her hand on one person’s shoulder and at the back with another person’s shoulder.

They then typically do two steps forward, followed by three backward, while singing Rajasthani folk songs. Ghoomar has many variations depending on whether it is performed for entertainment purposes (in which case there are specific rules), as part of worship rituals, or accompanied by a musical instrument such as dholak (a kind of drum) or shehnai (Indian oboe).

2) Kalbeliya

Kalbelia(Kalbeliya) is a folk dance of Rajasthan. It’s often called the “snake charmer dance” because its movements are like serpents.

The Kalbelia tribe created this beautiful dance form, and women wear their traditional clothes. There are jackets, veils, and long skirts.

Some people dance in pleasing patterns that look like a snake. The music is played by men using traditional instruments such as the dholak, a two-headed drum, and the khanjari, a percussion instrument.

Other traditional musical instruments used in Rajasthan include the dufli, morchang and khuralio.

The folk dances of Rajasthan are unique in many ways; not only does it tell stories with catchy tunes, but they also illustrate the rich heritage and culture of India. The best places to enjoy Kalbeliya dance form are Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Pushkar and Bikaner.

3) Bhavai

In Rajasthan, a state in India, folk dances are essential and play an integral part in daily life.

Sometimes you might see women balancing loads of pots on their heads and dancing around. One such dance is performed by Jats, Meena, Bhil, Kumhar & Kalbelia.

Bhavai is a folk dance usually done by women in the Kalbelia, Jat, Meena, Bhil or Kumhar tribe.

It takes many years to learn this dance. Women balance pots and pitchers on their heads as they dance and twirl. They sometimes use a glass or brass thali (brass plate) to help them balance the pots.

At the dance, some men play instruments and sing.

It takes hard work to do this dance. You can watch the best of them in Jodhpur, Jaipur and Bikaner.

4) Kathputli Dance

Kathputli dance is a folk art of Rajasthan and derives its name from the Hindi word ‘Katha,’ which means story.

Puppets in this culture program do the dance that the artists control. The show is similar to a puppet show. It has a Kath and Putli. Many hundreds of years ago, the Bhat tribe made this dance.

The artists also make the dolls talk. Sometimes they tell stories about tribes, and sometimes they tell stories about our country’s social issues.

The stories told through Kathputli performances may be based on mythology or folklore, such as Panchatantra tales. In contrast, others have been adapted to reflect changes in society, challenges faced by ordinary people etc.

Puppets are created in Sawai-Madhopur, Bari and Udaipur. They are made of mango wood and filled with cotton.

New Delhi has an area known as Kathputli Colony of street performers in the Shadipur Depot area. For the last 50 years, it has been home to some 2,800 families of magicians and puppeteers from Rajasthan. They come to continue the legacy that their grandparents started.

5) Kachchhi Ghodi

It is first started in Shekhawati. Men artists wear traditional clothes and tell the stories of the bandits through dance and traditional song.

During a performance, they ride on a puppet horse which is symbolic of chivalry and bravery.

There is background music, and the dance involves people who move in a circle while holding hands.

Folk dances have become a popular cultural tradition in Rajasthan, this dance form is performed during weddings and other social events.

6) Gair

Folk dancing is a favourite activity in Rajasthan. Both men and women dance together, using traditional instruments and colourful outfits that are aesthetically pleasing to watch and tell captivating stories.

Gair dance form originated from the Bhil community and is performed at major festivals such as Janmashtami & Holi.

Men and women dance together with traditional instruments, graceful movements, and colourful clothes.

Women wear a long dress called a ghagra choli, and men wear traditional clothes with an arrow, sword and stick.

Folk music is often played on instruments, and dancers usually perform in circles. This is a dramatic performance. There are strong rhythms that the performers hit sticks to.

7) Chari

Chari is a ritualistic dance form that primarily belongs to the communities of Ajmer and Kishangarh.

They do it on special occasions like when someone has a baby boy, or when they get married, or at festivals. The ceremony has symbols that represent the ritual of collecting water in pots.

The women are wearing traditional clothes, and they have a brass pot on their heads. They also have a lighted lamp in them.

The dance is accompanied by sounds of the dholak, harmonium and nagada.

8) Chang

The Rajasthani folk dance of Chang originated from the Shekhawati region (Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar) in Rajasthan.

The most important part of this dance is the fast-paced rhythm from the chang instrument. The man will dance to this and sing a song.

Another exciting thing is that some men dress up like women. They wear traditional clothing and dance. It is cool to watch.

This dance is performed during the Maha Shivaratri festival. It is a celebration, so people are happy and they do this dance – the best place to enjoy this at Shekhawati, Rajasthan.

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