As far as wildlife is concerned, the Indian peninsula is a continent in itself where the sheer diversity of the wildlife astounds you with more than 350 species of mammals and 1200 avifauna species in the country.
The people want to do only one thing in the cities during the summers – they want to get away from it. They want a cool getaway in India itself where they can have some respite from the scorching heat of the plains.
The people of Rajasthan are known to enjoy life and live it to the hilt. They do not let the arid desert landscape get them down but celebrate life through a variety of dance, Rajasthan music, puppet shows etc. Rajasthan folk music, dance are renowned the world over for their color, grace, and unbounded creativity. The different regions of Rajasthan have their own music and even the dance of Rajasthan differs from place to place.
‘Dance Rajasthan’ can be one of the epithets to describe the whole multi-regional Rajasthan folk music, dance scenario in this desert state.
Melodious devotional music is an import part of the Rajasthan music in the state. Musical performers like, Mirasis, Nats, Bhopas, Bhands, Dholis, and Bhaats can be found all over the state and are given due patronage by villagers.
The whole concept of ‘Dance Rajasthan’ revolves around a few specific dance forms and music that are a specialty of Rajasthan. They are:
This dance of Rajasthan is performed by the Bhil tribals during the Holi festival. This is a dance where men and women can both participate in and thus enjoy themselves fully.
This is a popular community dance performed by women. Typically, performed on an auspicious occasion, this dance is very simple yet elegant. Herein, ladies gracefully move in circles, with a gentle rhythm.
This is one of the renowned Rajasthan folk music dances that come from the Kisherigarh region of Rajasthan. The name of the dance comes from the use of ‘chari’ or a pot on ones head while dancing. A lighted lamp is then placed in the pot, and the resultant effect is breathtaking.
This is yet another dance revolving around Holi, but this time it’s completely men-centric. In Jodhpur the same dance is called ‘Dandia Gair’ as it is performed using two small wooden sticks. In the region of Shekhawati, the dance is called ‘Geendad’.
Rajasthan is a mystical land and this dance of Rajasthan illustrates the fact with aplomb. The Jasnathis of Chum and Bikaner, perform this dance, where the men and boys jump on to a fire that has been specially prepared using charcoal and wood. All this is done with the accompaniment of loud drum beats.
This is a very popular dance form where, men in elaborate costumes ride dummy horses. These dummy horses are also beautifully decorated, and the men hold naked swords and move with the rhythmic beating of fifes and drums.
This is one of the most unusual Rajasthan folk music dance forms performed by the Kamad community of Deedwana and Pokhran, in honor of their theft deity, Baba Ramdeo. The men play a ‘chau-tara’ which is a four string instrument and the women have dozens of cymbals tied all over their bodies, which they strike with the cymbals they hold in their hands.
As the name suggests this dance of Rajasthan is performed by a dancer and five men with huge drums. Originating from Jalore, the dance involves the dancer holding a naked sword in his mouth and performing a dance by vigorously twirling three painted sticks. All this while, he is accompanied by the five men with drums and cymbals, which they beat rhythmically.
Pabuji ki Phach
The Bhopa community reveres a 14th century folk hero known as Pabuji. The folk art form involves the use of a ‘phad’ or a scroll that has a length of about 10 mts, which lists the life and heroic deeds of Pabuji. This is a very simple dance form where the Bhopa plays the Ravan-hattha and his wife illuminates the relevant portion of the scroll, using a lamp, at the appropriate points.
This is a traditional Rajasthan folk music dance form that involves puppets. Skilled puppeteers make the puppets’ dance and they usually enact popular legends.
This is sophisticated Rajasthan music at its best. Professional singers sing haunting ballads of legendary heroes and lovers like Dhola-Maru, Moomal Mahendra etc.
Other Rajasthan folk music and dance forms include, Raasleela, Nautanki, Rammat etc. Musical instruments like Morchang, Naad, Sarangi etc give a melodiously haunting effect to the proceedings.
The variety of dances of Rajasthan and Rajasthan music is innumerable and it’s difficult to list all of them. But one thing is sure, all of them can captivate audiences with there grace and tune.