Rajasthan, the gorgeous royal kingdom, is famous for its own customs and traditions. One of the reasons that the state has gotten famous, that’s because of its vivid folk dances and performances that are an integral part of the local culture, and each dance variety has a long history. View some of Rajasthan’s most captivating traditional folk dances.
Here is a list of some of the popular folk dances of Rajasthan.
1. Bhavai Dance
Bhavai is a traditional folk dance from Rajasthan. This is a tremendously demanding dance form that only professionals can execute. This dance involves female dancers balancing 8 to 9 pitchers on their heads while dancing.
The skilled dancers balance a number of earthen pots or brass picks during this nail-biting, stressful dance, then swing with the soles of their feet placed on the top of a glass, as well as the edge of a bare sword or the rim of a brass thali plate.
- Location: Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Banswara, Dungarpur.
- Performed by: Skilled male and female dancers
- Performance Occasion: Marriages
- Features: Involves 8 to 9 dancers with earthen pots.
2. Chakri Dance
Chakri, as the name implies, means ‘Chakkar’ Circle rotation in Hindi. Chakri is a popular traditional dance among the Kanjar people. The Kanjar tribe lived in the areas of Kota and Baran in Rajasthan. Chakri Dance gets performed at almost every wedding and festival in Rajasthan’s Haroti area. The Kanjar tribe’s women solely do Chakri dance, which is also their principal source of revenue.
- Location: Kishangarh
- Performed by: Women from Gujjar Community
- Performance Occasion: Marriage occasions or the birth of a male child.
- Features: The dance describes the art of collecting water.
3. Chari Dance
The Chari dance is a traditional folk dance of Rajasthan, India. This dance illustrates Rajasthani women gathering water in a chari, or pot, in their daily lives. This Chari dance expresses the happiness of the woman who goes for kilometers to fetch water for her family. This folk dance gets performed by a group of dancers. Women perform the chari dance by wearing chari or pots on their heads and placing a bright bulb inside the pot.
- Location: Hadoti region of Bundi, Kota, and Baran District
- Performed by: Women of Kanjar Tribe
- Performance Occasion: Marriages and Festivals of Hadoti region
- Features: Dance includes a series of fast and vigorous spinning movements.
4. Drum Dance
Rajasthan is well-known for its drum dance. India is a professional dance genre from the Jhalore district of Rajasthan in which only men can participate. Five men beat large drums tied around their necks in this dance. The drummers are also accompanied by a dancer holding large cymbals in their hands.
Another member carries a naked blade in their mouth to enhance the effect of the performance. The dancer gets a sword to place in his mouth, as well as three additional bare blades to juggle with his hands while avoiding injury to himself.
Drum Dance is a particularly appealing Rajasthani dance in which men musicians play large drums and brass plates or Thalis. Women and others can dance in a group setting.
- Location: Jalore
- Performed by: Only Men
- Performance Occasion: Marriages
- Features: Five men beat huge drums that are tied around their necks.
5. Fire Dance
Fire dance is a distinct dance that is popular in Rajasthan’s desert region. The Jasnathis of Rajasthan’s Bikaner and Churu districts are depicted in this traditional dance. This is a challenging dance that is only performed by the Banjara people. This lovely folk dance is supposed to be the tantric dance of the Jasnathis.
This dance, performed on a large ground spread with live wood and charcoal, is a dazzling illustration of the Banjara way of life. The Jasnathi men and boys plunge onto the fire, accompanied by drum beats.
The dance features incredible fire feats performed by the dancers while holding fire rods in their hands and putting kerosene on their lips. The fire rods on the dancers’ heads and legs are likewise moved.
- Location: Bikaner and Churu districts of Rajasthan.
- Performed by: Men and boys
- Performance Occasion: On Holi and Janmashtami
- Features: Jasnathi men and boys jump onto the fire with drum beats.
6. Gair Dance
Gair is a prominent folk dance in Rajasthan. This traditional folk dance is one of the several dance forms performed by Rajasthan’s Bhil population. This is one of the few dance performances in which both men and women participate together.
As a simplified rendition, this folk dance gets performed as a succession of half swirls. depending on the dancers’ abilities it’s built up to a succession of intricate patterns. Dandi Gair, found in the Marwar region, and Geendad, found in the Shekhawati district of Rajasthan, are two examples of its varieties. It’s usually done simply by reciting the name Priyanka.
Men dance in a large circle while holding a wooden stick. Rajasthan’s Gair dance gets performed by groups of dancers moving in and out of a large circle. When the men spin, they beat their sticks to create a rhythm. Gair is a well-known folk dance in Rajasthan. This traditional folk dance is one of many performed by Rajasthan’s Bhil community.
This is one of the few dance performances in which men and women jointly perform. This folk dance gets performed as a series of half swirls in a simpler version. Depending on the dancers’ talents, it’s built up to a succession of elaborate patterns.
- Location: Mewar and Shekhawati
- Performed by: Men and Women from Bhil Tribe
- Performance Occasion: Holi
- Features: Performed by men and women holding wooden sticks.
7. Gawari Dance
The Gawari dance of Rajasthan is a tribal dance performed by the famous Bhil tribe. This is basically a tribal dance story, and its cast of many various individuals reflects this well. The Gawari tribal dance is a month-long theatrical performance that moves from village to village. It’s a terrific source of entertainment for the rural population.
- Location: Udaipur, Rajsamand, and Chittorgarh
- Performed by: Bhil Tribe
- Performance Occasion: During September and October
- Features: The tribal group move from village to village performing
8. Ghoomar Dance
Ghoomar is a traditional and lively Rajasthani folk dance. Ghoomar or Ghumar got invented by the Bhil tribe and was then adopted by other Rajasthani clans.
The Ghoomar dance is primarily a feminine dance performed mainly during female gatherings. Ghoomar is a circle dance performed by groups of ladies draped in swirling gowns, accompanied by men and women singing in unison.
This wonderful folk dance is also known as ‘Ghoomna.’ The flowing colors of the flowing ‘Ghaghara,’ the long skirt worn by Rajasthani women, arouse curiosity during pirouetting. One of the most amazing folk dances of Rajasthan.
- Location: Across Rajasthan
- Performed by: Bhil and Rajput Community
- Performance Occasion: Rajput Marriages
- Features: Dancers move gently and gracefully in circles
9. Kachhi Ghodi
One of Rajasthan’s most well-known traditional dances is the Kachhi Ghodi Dance. This folk dance originated in Shekhawati’s bandit territories and is typically performed for the enjoyment of the bridegroom’s party.
This dance gets performed by men riding dummy horses. Men in extravagant clothes with red turbans, dhotis, and kurtas embellished with magnificent mirror-work ride dummy horses. While a vocalist recalls the exploits of the Shekhawati region’s Bavaria bandits through his song, these dancers walk rhythmically to the beat of drums and fifes, brandishing a bare sword in one hand.
- Location: Shekhawati
- Performed by: Men
- Performance Occasion: Marriages and Holi
- Features: Performed by men on dummy horses.
10. Kalbelia Dance
The Kalbelia dance is a traditional Indian dance from the Indian state of Rajasthan. It’s also known as the ‘Sapera Dance’ and the ‘Snake Charmer Dance.’ The Kalbelia dance gets performed by a Rajasthani clan known as the ‘Kalbelia.’
This dance has increased in popularity to the point where Rajasthan’s Kalbelia dance and songs got added to UNESCO’s representative list of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2010. In Kalbelia, males play various traditional instruments while females dance. The Kalbelia dance is one of the most erotic Rajasthani dances.
- Location: Pali, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, and Udaipur district.
- Performed by: Women and Kalbelia Community.
- Performance Occasion: The special dances are performed during Holi.
- Features: Women in flowing black skirts who dance and swirl.
11. Kathak Dance
Kathak Dance is a well-known and beautiful dance form in Rajasthan, India. It is India’s sixth most popular dance, and one of the country’s most well-known Gharanas is the Jaipur Gharana of Rajasthan. The Jaipur Gharana created its own style of Kathak dance. Kathak dancers dress in traditional, colorful attire. In the backdrop, classical music gets played, with tabla, sarangi, and sitar, among other instruments. The Kathak Dance of Rajasthan is a beautiful dance.
- Location: Jaipur
- Performed by: Women of Rajasthan
- Performance Occasion: Cultural Night
- Features: NA
12. Kathputli Dance
- Location: All across Rajasthan
- Performed by: Bhat community
- Performance Occasion: All Festive Occasions
- Features: Stuffed dolls performance.
13. Khayal Dance
The term ‘Khyal’ in Hindi means “Thought.” Khyal is a traditional folk drama that involves dancing. Khayal dance is the only one that got affected by a wide range of topics. This dance gets performed by the Bhawai tribe of Rajasthan. This dance, which got inspired by themes from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, was also performed by their forebears. Women do not perform Bhawai dances. A mind-blowing Rajasthani dance.
- Location: All of Rajasthan
- Performed by: Bhawai tribe of Rajasthan
- Performance Occasion: Special occasions and festivals
- Features: Khayal dance is the only dance that is inherited from different themes.
14. Terah Taali
- Location: Ramdevra, Dindwana, Dungarpur, Udaipur
- Performed by: Women from Komad tribe.
- Performance Occasion: To honor the folk hero, Baba Ramdeo.
- Features: The women dance with 13 manjiras tied to a different part of their body.
15. Walar Dance
The Walar dance of Rajasthan is a beautiful and lively tribal dance performed largely by women. The Garasia tribe performs a traditional Rajasthani dance called Walar. As it incorporates simple circular movements of dancers to the beats, it got regarded to be a predecessor of Rajasthan’s famous Ghoomar dance. The dance gets regarded as one of the most amazing folk dances of Rajasthan.
- Location: Udaipur, Pindwara, Abu Road.
- Performed by: Women from Garasia Community
- Performance Occasion: On the occasion of gangaur and Teej festivals.
- Features: Involves simple circular movements of dancers on beats.