Published July 07, 2023
8 Famous Traditional Folk Dances of Rajasthan
Rajasthan, known as the cultural capital of India, is often referred to as the “Abode of the Rajas” due to its history of being ruled by several kings. This rich heritage has resulted in a diverse culture, majestic monuments, arts, language, and captivating folk dances. The traditional folk dances of Rajasthan are performed on auspicious occasions, bringing joy and adding a touch of happiness to the events. These dances are vibrant, energetic, and unique, as they beautifully narrate stories, showcasing the liveliness of Rajasthani culture.
Here is a list of the most captivating and vibrant folk dances of Rajasthan that will mesmerize you with the essence of Rajasthani culture:
Ghoomar is quintessentially Rajasthani and one of the most popular dances in the region. It involves graceful movements, swaying hands, spinning, and rhythmic clapping while singing folk songs. Originally introduced by the Bhil Tribe and later adopted by the Rajputs, this dance is performed by women during special festivals and events, particularly during Holi and Teej. The performers wear traditional dance outfits, including a swirling skirt called Ghagra, a Blouse (Choli), and an Odhani (veil) to complete the look. The gracefully coordinated movements, swirling outfits, and upbeat songs mesmerize the spectators.
Also known as the “Snake Charmer Dance” or “Sapera Dance,” Kalbeliya showcases synchronized serpentine movements performed by the Kalbeliya tribe women. The dancers imitate the motion of a snake, enthralling the spectators. This dance form originated from the Kalbeliya Tribal group, with women donning traditional dance outfits like Aghrakhi (a jacket-like garment), a black swirling Ghagra (a long swirling skirt), and an Odhani (veil). The male members of the tribe accompany the performance by playing traditional musical instruments such as Khanjari (a percussion instrument), Dholak (a two-headed drum), Pungi (a woodwind instrument), Morchang, Khuralio, and more. The dance songs are based on famous folklore and mythology, adding to the stunning performances.
Kachhi Ghodi Dance
Kachhi Ghodi Dance, a famous folk dance of Rajasthan, is performed by Rajasthani men to portray the legends of local bandits. Originating from the Shekhawati Region, this dance symbolizes courage and chivalry. The male performers wear turbans, kurtas, and dhotis while dancing with a flute and pretending to ride a decorated dummy horse, engaging in mock sword battles to convey the legends.
Bhavai Dance is a ritualistic folk dance performed by tribal women from groups like Kumhar, Jat, Meena, or Kalbelia. This dance form will leave you wonderstruck as the women balance eight to nine earthen or brass pots on their heads while twirling. They often grasp the sides of a brass or glass plate or even the edge of a sword with their feet. Male performers accompany the dance by singing and playing instruments such as Sarangi, Harmonium, and Dholak.
Kathputli Dance showcases the ancient art of puppetry in Rajasthan. Kathputli refers to a wooden doll that is manipulated by a puppeteer. This dance form originated from the Bhat tribe community and presents stories from mythology, Indian folklore, and social issues. The puppeteer controls the puppets using strings attached to the Kathputli, bringing the dolls to life.
Originating from the Saini and Gujjar communities, Chari Dance is a traditional dance form of Rajasthan. Women perform this dance on special occasions as a symbol of joy, incorporating the ritual of collecting water in a brass pot called Chari. While wearing traditional Rajasthani attire, women dance and sing to the beats of Dholak, Nagada, and Harmonium while gracefully balancing the brass pot on their heads, with a lit lamp inside.
Gair Ghumna, a crowd-pleasing dance form mostly performed by the Bhil Community, takes place during auspicious occasions and festivals like Holi and Janmashtami. In this famous folk dance of Rajasthan, women wear Ghaghra Choli, and men wear long pleated tunics. The dancers move in circles, both clockwise and anti-clockwise, forming intricate patterns and movements. The performers carry “Khanda,” a stick cut out from the Gundi Tree. At times, they may also carry swords and arrows.
Chang is a fascinating ritual dance performed during festivals like Maha Shivratri and Holi. It is named after the instrument “Chang” used for the dance. During the performance, men dress as women and energetically dance to lively beats, creating an exciting experience for the spectators.
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