The colorful state of Rajasthan is understood for its range of customs and traditions. Anyone visiting this state will see it within the Amazing Folk Dances of Rajasthan and its music too, aside from its history and culture. Rajasthan is well-known for its antique tradition, forts, and haws. Each rajasthan folk dance form performed here features a link to Rajasthani history and culture. These folk dances are colorful, lively, energetic, and vibrant, and immensely captivating.
Traditional Folk Dances of Rajasthan:
1. Ghoomar – Dance of Rajasthan
The dancers’ graceful moves, swaying hands, perfect twirls, and clapping signify this immensely popular folk dance. It’s its origins in the Bhil community and, consistent with history, performed for kings and royalty in past. It recently received international approval for being a Rajasthani folk dance and regularly performed at social events and festivals.
2. Kathputli – Dance of Rajasthan
Kathputli or puppetry completed by puppets on a string controlled by the artistes. Resembling a standard puppet show, this performance comprises Kath (wood) and a Putli (doll). This dance form is harked back to the Bhat tribes that originated several centuries ago. Voiceovers by artistes make the performance livelier and complete. Mythological stories referring to tribes narrated through these performances.
3. Chari – Dance of Rajasthan
Made popular by Ajmer’s Saini community and Kishangarh’s Gujjar community, this Rajasthani folk dance was performed to explain the art of water collection at community wells. Women place water pots on their heads while performing this dance and place a lighted lamp in it.
Nowadays, it’s also performed at exclusive functions, weddings, and festivals, and when a baby boy is born. The musical instruments that accompany this dance also are exclusive to this dance. They comprise a harmonium, dholak, and nagada.
4. Bhavai – Dance of Rajasthan
Yet one more dance form where women dancers balance pots on their heads as in the Chari dance, here they balance several pots on their heads while grooving to the music. It’s performed by women of the Jat, Kumhar, Meena, Kalbelia, and Bhil communities. It’s a fascinating stunt that these traditional artistes perform.
Some balance up to eight earthen or brass pots on top of their head. While balancing the pots they rotate within the circumference of a plate or a glass. Male performers play music instruments including sarangi, dholak& harmonium.
5. Gair – Dance of Rajasthan
This dance stands out as different from all other folk dances of Rajasthan because, for the primary time, it’s performed by both men and women. A presentation from the Bhil community, this dance may be a must-see performance at all major festivals such as Holi and Janmashtami.
Men and ladies’ dancers dress up in the most vivid colors and swing to the traditional beat of Rajasthani folk instruments. Their dance moves are in tandem with the music and they may move in clockwise circles or anti-clockwise. People here like to watch male performers hit the sticks of other male performers to the musical beat.
Folk Musical Instruments of Rajasthan
A ravanahatha is an ancient bowed, musical instrument, utilized in India, Sri Lanka, and surrounding areas. It’s suggested as an ancestor of the violin.
The kamancheh may be a Persian bowed string instrument used in Persian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Kurdish music. The kamancheh said to the rebab which is the historical ancestor of the kamancheh and the bowed Byzantine lyra. The strings played with a variable-tension bow. It’s widely used in the classical music of Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan with slight variations within the structure of the instrument.
3. Sindhi Sarangi
Sindhi Sarangi may be a bowed string instrument from Rajasthan. It’s a resonator, a finger board and peg box carved out of one block of wood. It has four playing gut strings and twenty-two sympathetic steel strings.
The morsing is an instrument almost like the Jew’s harp, mainly utilized in Rajasthan, within the Carnatic music of South India, and in Sindh, Pakistan. Often categorized under lamellophones, which is itself within the category of plucked idiophones.
It consists of a metal ring within the shape of a horseshoe with two parallel forks which form the frame, and a metal tongue within the middle, between the forks, fixed to the ring at one end and liberal to vibrate at the other. The metal tongue is bent at the free end during a plane perpendicular to the circular ring so that it can be struck and made to vibrate. This bent part is named the trigger.
Alghoza may be a paired woodwind instrument. It’s traditionally used by Baloch, Saraiki, Sindhi, Kutchi, Punjabi, and Rajasthani folk musicians. It consists of two joined beak flutes, one for melody, the second for drone. The flutes are either tied together or could also hold together loosely with the hands.
The endless flow of air is necessary as the player blows into the two flutes simultaneously. The fast recapturing of breath on each beat creates a bouncing, swinging rhythm. The wooden instrument initially comprised two flute pipes of identical length but over time, one among them was shortened for sound purposes. Within the world of Alghoza playing, the 2 flute pipes are a couple — the longer one is the male and the shorter one is the female instrument. With the utilization of beeswax, the instrument is often scaled to any tune.
Nagphani may be a traditional wind instrument belonging to the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand. This often also played in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Nagphani formed like a serpent with a metal tongue painted with bright colors. Nagphani is employed by tantric ritual performers.
Jantar may be a stringed instrument made of wood, steel, and horsehair. A community instrument, it’s found in Madhya Pradesh. Majorly employed by the ‘Pradhan’ community of Madhya Pradesh as an accompanying instrument.
The Chikara may be a bowed stringed musical instrument from India, want to play Indian folk music. It’s used by the tribal people of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
Ektara literally means ‘one-string’, also called actara, iktar, ektara, yaktaro, Gopichand, gopichant, golki may be a one-stringed musical instrument used in the traditional music of South Asia, and utilized in modern-day music of Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
The folk musical instrument “DERU” is an hourglass wooden shaped membranophonic instrument made of mango wood. Mounted with the skinny parchment of skin on both sides of the frame with a rope. While playing one hand strikes with the stick, the opposite manipulates the tension of the skins with the string.
Mostly it’s used by Jogi’s with Goga epic singing in Rajasthan. Classical Indian hand percussion deru is a well-known folk instrument for drumming in Western & Southern states in India. Deru is an hourglass shaped drum, which is the larger version of the Damru or Damroo but usually played with the bare hand rather than damru.
A Deru player adjusts the pitch of the instrument by adjusting the pressure that’s applied to these strings. Two chords are knotted at the top and attached to the middle of the Deru. When the Deru vigorously swayed from side to side the knots hit the drumheads and produce sound. This percussive instrument is very peculiar to the regions of Rajasthan.
The Deru produces rhythmic beats in tune with the performance. The Deru may be a common accompaniment to ritual chants and used in the performance of popular folk songs.
Khartal is an ancient instrument mainly utilized in devotional / folk songs. it’s derived its name from the Sanskrit words ‘kara’ meaning hand and ‘tala’ meaning clapping. This wooden clapper may be a Ghana Vadya which has discs or plates that produce a clinking sound when clapped together. It falls under the category of idiophones of self-sounding instruments that combine properties of vibrator and resonator.