The people of Rajasthan live life to
the hilt. After hard work in the harsh desert sun and the rocky
terrain whenever they take time off they let themselves go in gay
abandon. There is dancing, singing, drama, devotional music and
puppet shows and other community festivities which transform the
hardworking Rajasthani into a fun-loving and carefree individual.
Each region has its own folk entertainment, the dance styles
differ as do the songs. Interestingly enough, even the musical
instruments are different.
Of considerable significance are the
devotional songs and the communities who render these songs.
Professional performers like the Bhaats, Dholis, Mirasis, Nats,
Bhopas and Bhands are omnipresent across the state. They are
patronised by the villagers who participate actively in the shows
put up by these travelling entertainers. Some of the better known
forms of entertainment are:
Ghoomar Dance: This is basically a
community dance for women and performed on. auspicious occasions.
Derived from the word ghoomna, piroutte, this is a very simple
dance where the ladies move gently, gracefully in circles.
Gait Ghoomar: This is one of the many
dance-forms of the Bhil tribals. Performed during Holi festival,
this is among a few performances where both men and women dance
Gait: Another Holi dance but performed
only by men. This becomes Dandia Gair in Jodhpur and Geendad in
Chart Dance: This is popular in the Kisherigarh region and involves dancing with a chari, or pot, on
one’s head. A lighted lamp is then placed on the pot.
Kachhi Ghodi: This is a dance
performed on dummy horses. Men in elaborate costumes ride the
equally well decorated dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these
dancers move rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes. A
singer narrates the exploits of the Bavaria bandits of Shekhawati.
Fire Dance: The Jasnathis of Bikaner
and Chum are renowned for their tantric powers and this dance is
in keeping with their lifestyle. A large ground is prepared with
live wood and charcoal where the Jasnathi men and boys jump on to
the fire to the accompaniment of drum beats. The music gradually
rises in tempo and reaches a crescendo, the dancers seem to be in
a trance like state. Drum Dance: This is a professional dance-form
from Jalore. 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.
Teerah Taali: The Kamad community of
Pokhran and Deedwana perform this dance in honour of theft deity,
Baba Ramdeo. A rather unusual performance where the men play a
four-stringed instrument called a chau-tara and the women sit with
dozens of manjeeras, or cymbals, tied on all over their bodies and
strike them with the ones they hold in their hands. Sometimes, the
women also hold a sword between their teeth or place pots with
lighted lamps on their heads.
Kathputli: Puppet plays based on
popular legends are performed by skilled puppeteers. Displaying
his skill in making the puppets’ act and dance, the puppeteer is
accompanied by a woman, usually his wife, who plays the dholak, or
drum and sings the ballad.
Pabuji Ki Phach: A 14th century folk
hero, Pabuji is revered by the Bhopa community. The phad, or
scroll, which is about 10 metres long, highlights the life and
heroic deed of Pabuji. The Bhopas are invited by villagers to
perform in their areas during times of sickness and misfortune.
The ballad is sung by the Bhopa as he plays the Ravan-hattha and
he is joined by his wife who holds a lamp and illuminates the
relevant portions at appropriate points.
Maand: Rajasthan’s most sophisticated
style of folk music and has come a long way from the time it was
only sung in royal courts, in praise of the Rajput rulers.
Professional singers still sing the
haunting ballads of Moomal Mahendra, Dhola-Maru and other
legendary lovers and heroes.
List of singers and performers also
includes the Mirasis and Jogis of Mewat, Manganiyars and Langas,
Kanjars, Banjaras and Dholies. Performances like the Kuchamani
Khayal, Maach, Tamasha, Rammat, Nautanki and Raasleela are no less
popular. The musical instruments of Rajasthan are simple but quite
unusual. Handcrafted by the musicians themselves they are rather
unique and include instruments like the Morchang, Naad, Sarangi,
Kamayacha, Rawanhattha, Algoza, Khartal, Poongi, Bankia and Da
There are dozens of other instruments which are exclusive to
It is a rather difficult task to list
all the different types of music, dance and entertainment that can
be found in Rajasthan. The range is mindboggling.
Rajasthan Dances, Rajasthan Folk Music, Rajasthan State