Top 10 Folk Dances Of Rajasthan (2020)
When it comes to visiting a culturally rich state in India, Rajasthan definitely tops the list. This princely state is home to a number of folk dances which have gained popularity throughout the world. These traditional dance forms are usually performed by skilled dancers who have spent years trying to master the art form. The folk dances of Rajasthan are extremely lively and colorful with the dancers decked in fantastic dresses and jewelry.
Some of the folk dances of Rajasthan also use props such as the Kathputli dance. These folk dances belong to different tribes who inhabit different parts of Rajasthan. The folk dances which are accompanied by traditional folk music often narrate a story in a unique way. Many of these dances are performed on auspicious occasions such as festivals, weddings, etc.
Read on as we explore some of the top folk dances of Rajasthan which should be experienced by people travelling to Rajasthan.
Top 10 Folk Dances Of Rajasthan
- Bhavai Folk Dance – The Bhavai folk dance is considered as one of the most difficult folk dances of Rajasthan and it can take several years for the dancers to master it completely. This dance form is mainly performed by women belonging to tribal communities such as Bhil, Kumhar, Meen, Jat, and Kalbelia. In this folk dance of Rajasthan, women balance around 8-9 brass or earthen pots on their head and twirl around while standing on the edge of a plate, glass, or even a naked sword. This dance form is nothing less than a miraculous stunt by the skilled women dancers. While the women dance, the male performers usually sing and play instruments such as sarangi, dholak, harmonium, etc. You will find this folk dance traditionally performed at weddings and it is quite popular in Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, and Banswara. Image Source
- Chari Folk Dance – Belonging to the Gujjar community in Kishagarh and Saini community in Ajmer, the Chari folk dance of Rajasthan is a celebratory dance performed during occasions such as weddings, birth of a son, festivals, etc. In this dance form, which is performed only by women, brass pots are kept on the head and balanced perfectly while dancing around. These brass pots often have cotton seeds which are dipped in oil and lighted. Balancing the lit pots and dancing gracefully and in perfect synchronization is truly a sight to behold! The word Chari means a pot and the Chari folk dance is a representation of the act of collecting water by the women of these tribal communities in a chari or pot. This daily activity of collecting water has been beautifully translated into a folk-art form.
- Chakri Folk Dance – The Chakri folk dance of Rajasthan is somewhat similar to the Raai folk dance performed by the Beriyas tribe in Madhya Pradesh. The Chakri dance is a fast-paced dance which involves women wearing colorful traditional attires spinning around vigorously to the beats of the dholak. This folk dance of Rajasthan is primarily performed by the women belonging to the Kanjar tribe. To witness this stunning and vigorous dance performance, you will have to travel to the Hadoti region in Bundi, Kota, and Baran district. This dance is usually performed during festivals and weddings in the Hadoti region.
- Fire Folk Dance – The Fire folk dance of Rajasthan is one of the most dangerous yet appealing dance forms and people from throughout the world travel to Rajasthan to witness this stunning folk dance. This dance is mainly performed by men and boys of the Jasnathis belonging to Bikaner and Churu districts. In this folk form, the performers literally play with fire and exhibit various fire stunts such as holding fire rods in their hands, putting kerosene in their mouth and using it to light the fire rods, twirling the fire rods on their heads and legs, etc. In some stunts, the performers also dance or move on top of a bed of charcoal which is set on flame. The precision with which these artists perform is such that they never have any wounds or burn marks after they perform. It is truly one of the best folk dances of Rajasthan. If you wish to witness this marvelous performance, then head to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, or Bikaner. The best time to experience this folk dance is during festivals such as Janmashtami, Holi, etc.
- Gair Folk Dance – Performed during the festival of Holi, the Gair folk dance is a beautiful synchronized art form performed by both men and women who hold sticks in their hands as props. In this group dance, the performers make two circles and dance around performing various steps in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. Along with swinging their arms to the beats of the drums, the men also hit their sticks, thus, producing a delightful rhythm. The women performers are decked in colorful ghagra choli and the men are decked in a full-length traditional kurta and carry a sword, stick, and arrow. This dance is usually performed in the Mewar region of Rajasthan by the women and menfolk of the Bhil tribe. There are different variations of this dance performed in Marwar region known as Dandi Gair and in the Sehkhawati region known as Geendad dance.
- Ghoomar Folk Dance – The Ghoomar folk dance is one of the most popular folk dances of Rajasthan and it is popular not just in India but throughout the world as well. This dance form originated in the Bhil community but was later on adopted by other communities as well, including the Rajput women. Though this folk dance has very simple steps, its beauty lies in the graceful movements which include swaying of hands, clapping, twirling around, etc. Ghoomar is performed only by women who wear colorful lehenga cholis and cover their faces with an odhani (veil) while dancing to traditional songs accompanied by traditional instruments. The main USP of this folk dance of Rajasthan is the way women twirl around in perfection which not just shows off their talent and skill but also the mesmerizing colors of their ghaghras. It is often performed during Rajput weddings, Holi, Teej, etc. You can catch a performance of Ghoomar folk dance in Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bundi, and Kota.
- Kalbelia Folk Dance – Since the year 2010, the Kalbelia Folk Dance has been included in the list of Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. This folk dance of Rajasthan which is also popularly known as the snake charmer dance or sapera dance is performed by women belonging to the Kalbelia community. The dance steps in this folk dance represent the movements of a serpent, hence the name. Performed during festivals such as Holi, the women dance to Kalbelia songs that focus on folklore and mythology. The Kalbelia women wear a traditional costume which consists of an angrakhi which is a jacket, odhani which is a veil, and long black and red swirling ghagharas having beautiful embroidered patterns in different colors. The dance is accompanied by traditional instruments such as the poongi, dufli, dholak, khuralio, khanjari, and morchang. The Kalbelia folk dance is quite popular in Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Pali district, and Udaipur district.
- Kathputli Folk Dance – This is one folk dance of Rajasthan which is not just popular among adults but also among children. Kathputli refers to puppets, and hence, it is also often referred to as the puppet dance. These puppets are made of mango wood, filled with cotton, and colorfully dressed. Having a height of about one and half feet, they are usually made in Udaipur, Bari, and Sawai-Madhopur. The Kathputli folk dance is not used just for entertainment purposes but also for spreading social messages and portraying various mythological, historical, and folklore stories. The puppets are controlled using strings attached to them and the puppeteers are also the ones who sing the son on which they make these puppets dance. The Kathputli folk dance truly brings out the essence of Rajasthan and its culture and traditions.
- Terah Taali Folk Dance – The Terah Taali folk dance is one of the most unique folk dances of Rajasthan. In this folk dance, women who are the main performers adorn their body with terah (13) majeeras, i.e., brass discs. They strike these manjeeras with the ones they have in their hand, thus creating the perfect rhythm. This dance is performed by the women belonging to the Kamad tribe and the men sing traditional folk songs while playing instruments such as sarangi, harmonium, dholak jhanjhar, pakhwaja, etc. This folk dance is usually performed for honoring Baba Ramdeo, a folk hero. But nowadays it is performed during almost all festivals in Rajasthan. To make the dance more intriguing, performers sometimes also use a sword or pots on their head. To experience this folk dance, head to Dindwana, Udaipur, Dungarpur, or Ramdevra.
- Kachhi Godi Folk Dance – The Kachhi Godhi folk dance originated in Rajasthan’s Shekhawati region and it is performed mainly by men. This is a colorful folk dance where men are dressed in traditional attire which includes dhoti, kurta, and colorful turbans. The highlight of this folk dance is that the men perform the dance by pretending to ride a dummy horse who is also well decorated in colorful cloth. The dance is performed to the music of percussion and flute. This dance mainly showcases the stories of local bandits and involves mock sword fights as well which depict the bravery and chivalry of the performers. This dance is often performed during weddings, festivals, social events, etc. You can check out the Kacchi Godi folk dance in Jaipur, Udaipur, and of course the Shekhawati region.
Apart from these folk dances, some of the other famous folk dances of Rajasthan include:
- Chang Folk Dance – Also known as Dhamal, this dance is famous in Bikaner, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, and Churu.
- Drum Folk Dance – Performed by only men, this dance form is famous in Jalore.
- Gawri Folk Dance – Originated in the Bhil tribe, this dance form is famous in various districts of Rajasthan such as Chittorgarh, Udaipur, and Rajsamand.
- Walar Folk Dance – Women belonging to the Garasia community perform this folk dance and it is famous in Abu Road, Pindwara, and Udaipur.
Rajasthan truly has a plethora of folk dances and each one of them is worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime!