The folk regional dances of India

The land of India has vastly rich traditional folk dances

As unique as the traditions of India, the incredible are its ways of celebration, differing from region to region. One of the fascinating celebrations is the fabulous folk dances. It is a type of group dance performed at social gatherings based entirely on traditional music. However, the fun fact is that anyone with little or even no training in these dances can do it with ease and fun.

Dumhal
A folk dance from Jammu and Kashmir, Dumhal is performed by a group of men wearing long colourful robes accompanied by tall conical caps laced with beads and shells. Performed on special occasions and festivals, they move in a procession carrying a banner. Rouf is entirely women-oriented, performed during springtime by dancers in two rows facing each other gliding forward and backward.

Bhangra
Bhangra was originally performed during the harvest season in traditional Punjabi dress on the music of Dhol. Now famous worldwide, it has become a popular form of celebration for weddings and festivals. Giddha is said to be the female version of Bhangra, performed by women wearing bright colorful phulkari salwar kameez, usually accompanied by ‘Bolliyan’, a collection of couplets.

RaasLeela
Performed especially during the festivals of Krishna Janmashtami and Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan, it is a popular folk dance comprising mythological stories of Lord Krishna dancing with Radha and her friends. Said to be the ‘dance of the divine love’, it is also performed in Assam called Raax Mahotsav, during late November or early December.

Garba
Garbha means womb and Deep means a small earthenware lamp, Garba Deep is a popular festive Gujarati folk dance. Traditionally performed during the nine-day festival of Navaratri in rings and concentric circles around a lit lamp or a picture or statue of the Goddess Shakti, this represents the cycle of birth and death. Dandiya a modernized way of Garba, is played in a pair or group using sticks.

Bihu
Brisk steps and rapid hand movements describe this folk dance best performed by both men and women of Assam on the music of Dhol, Pepa (horn), and Gagana – an instrument made of bamboo. While the women wear mustard and red-coloured saree, men look cute in dhoti and a mustard and red colour headband.

Ghoomar
An invention of the Bhil tribe of Rajasthan, this dance went on become a popular folk dance of Rajasthani communities. The highlight is in the swirling of women wearing vibrant colorful ghagra – a long heavily embroidered colorful skirt – flowing to the Rajasthani folk music.

If you get to the depth of it there is no dearth of the cultural intricacies in India. One can also find a wide variation of these folk dances being performed all around the country.

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