Life in the Desert
People & Customs
Art & Craft
and dance are deeply ingrained and form an integral part
in the life of Rajasthanis. The cool stillness of the desert
after the searing heat of the day and the upsurge of life
in the short-lived rainy season or spring are filled with
soulful, full-throated music and rhythmic dance.
haunting melody of Rajasthan evokes from a variety of delightfully
primitive looking instruments. The stringed varieties 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 Damrus. The Daf and
Chang are a big favourite of the Holi (the festival of colours)
revellers. Flutes and bagpipers come in local flavours such
as Shehnai, Poongi, Algoza, Tarpi, Been and Bankia.
Some prominent Folk dances:
The Bhawais are professional dancers; their dances are very
fast, energetic and imaginative. Women never participate
in these performances.
The nomadic Jogi tribe, who are devotees of Lord Shiva and
the Yoga system of philosophy, worship the Nag Deva (the
Cobra). Men are traditional snake charmers. Women are dancers
who perform a special symbolic dance, pretending to transform
into a cobra whilst in a trance like state.
or Pot Dance:
The dancers carry brightly lit brass pots on their heads,
executing many flexible movements of the body. It is a dance
for gay occasions and requires a lot of patience & balance.
This dance is performed during Holi, a colourful spring
festival. Men and women perform separately or together,
holding short wooden sticks in both the hands. The dance
begins with a slow tempo of stick beats and speeds up gradually.
This dance is performed by young girls and married ladies
in the month of March to Goddess Parvati. The performers
dress up in beautiful clothes and jewelry carrying brass
pots filled with green grass, flowers and leaves on their
The dancers, only women, dance in a ring or circle starting
with slow music, the tempo increasing gradually. This is
the most famous dance of Rajasthan.
One of the most interesting dances where the dancer rides
a dummy mare (Kachhi Ghodi). The dancer does the footwork
with the beat of the drum.
Raas: Lord Krishna's beautiful and
symbolic dance with Gopis (milk maiden) is a delightful
representation with deep philosophical meaning. This dance
depicts - 'Thus should man love God'.
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 - at thirteen different
places. The performers, mostly ladies, start beating these
manjeeras at thirteen different places in rhythms with the
A Folk Dance in progress