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Rajasthani Music and Dance

Rajasthani Music and Dance


Music and dance are deeply ingrained in Rajasthani life. The stillness of the desert evening and the upsurge of life in the short- lived rainy season or spring are filled with soulful, full- throated music and rhythmic dance, Instruments such as sarangi, kamaycha, satara, nad, and morchang create a wide range of liting and melodious sound in accompanment to the music of the Bhopas, Kalbeliyas, Langas and the Manganiyars as well as the lively and spontaneous dances, ghoomar, gair and chari. Through songs the legendary battles of the Rajputs are told. The music engenders both a spirit of identity and provides entertainment as relief from the daily grind of wrenching a living from the inhospitable land of heat and dust storms.


Folk Music There is a great tradition of popular poetry, which is written under the rival banners of Turru and Kalangi. This is a sung in groups in Jikri, Kanhaiyya or Geet, Hele-ke-Khyal and Bam Rasiya of Eastern Rajasthan. The Folk music of Rajasthan is an indispensible component of functions such as weddings, engagements, and births.    There is a plethora of songs for such occasions.   There are also many songs associated with planting and harvesting.   In these activities the villagers routinely sing of their hopes, fears and aspirations. These songs are best enjoyed in the Ratijagas- the nightlong soirees of devotional songs which induces a trance-like spiritual milieu. Other traditional songs that reflect the rich traditional heritage of Rajasthan include Endooni, Morubai, Diggipura ka raja, Dhola dhol majira baje re. Folk songs of Rajasthan depict various moods including loneliness of lovers, their union, inter-personal relationship, laughter, faith and happiness. Folk music is also used for educational purposes.

The haunting melody of Rajasthan evokes from a variety of delightfully primitive looking instruments. The stringed variety include the Sarangi,  Rawanhattha, Kamayacha, Morchang and Ektara.Percussion instruments come in all shapes and sizes from the huge Nagaras and Dhols to the tiny Demrus. The Daf and Chang are a big favorite of the Holi (the festival of colors) revelers

Flutes and bagpipers come in local flavors such as Shehnai, Poongi, Algoza, Tarpi, Been and Bankia.


Dances of Rajasthan



Kalbelia Dance
This fascinating kalbelia dance is performed by the women of Kalbelia community, age-old occupation being catching snakes and trading snake venom. Hence the dance movements and the costumes bear resemblance to that of the serpents. Dancers are attired in traditional black swirling skirts, sway sinuously to the accompaniment of pungi, dufli and plaintive notes of the 'been' - the wooden instrument of the snake charmers.

Two or three women sing in a high-pitched, free flowing voice, while others join in the dance. The vigorous and zestful display of their perfect movements to the enchanting tune of musical instruments is a treat to the eyes.


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. The Ghoomar is the characteristic dance of the Bhils. Men and women sing alternately and move clockwise & anticlockwise giving free and intended play to the ample folds of ghagra.

The Kucchi Ghodi:-

Free dancing full of zest, with rows of dancers waving colourful pennants makes the Bam Rasiya of the Braj region spectacular. It is performed at Holi. The ‘Kucchhi Ghodi’ or dummy horse dance is performed on festive occasions, by men who are as colourfuly attired, as are their horses.

Caari or pot Dance:-

This dance requires a lot of patience and balance. The dancers carry brightly lit brass pots on their heads, displaying many flexible movements of the body. It is a dance of gay occassions.


Gair 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 together.



Terah Taal (Thirteen Beats) :
This is a dance of professional expertise where the dancer performs with the help of hollow metallic discs (Manjeeras) tied on the hands, legs and foreheads - a thirteen different places. The performers, mostly ladies, start beating these manjeeras at thirteen different places in rhythms with the music.


Fire Dance :
The Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu are renowned for their tartaric power 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 vigourously by twirling three painted sticks


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