Rajasthan is a land of rich culture and traditions. Making it even more glorious, the folk music and dances of Rajasthan stand apart when compared to all the other dance and music forms of the country. Quite unique and traditional, they have in fact become an integral part of the identity of this desert land.
The folk songs are mostly about the heroic Rajput kings and battles fought by them. With a variety of musical instruments, singing, dance, puppet shows and a lot of drama, folk music and dance is an inseparable side of soul and blood of Rajasthani people. Here we are going to describe a few important forms of music and dance which are popular in Rajasthan.
Bhajans and baanis are devotional songs describing importance of the almighty. These are mostly accompanied by musical instruments such as dholak and ektara. Ballads, however are the songs about bravery of their rulers as well as some prominent love stories of the region. The most commonly played musical instruments are:
- Dhol – This is the most widely used instrument in rural areas of Rajasthan. Dholak is the smaller version of a dhol and is widely used in other parts of the country as well. These are made up of wood and goat skin.
- Sarangi – A bowed string instrument with a small neck, sarangi is one of the most prominent classical instrument.
- Naupat – This a pair of drums, one of them known as a Nagada (the male one) and the other as Jheel (the female one). These are played during wedding ceremonies.
- Rawanahatta – This two stringed bowed instrument is played by Bhopas to revere Pabuji, their Deity. Of the two strings, one is made up of horse hairs and the other with twisted threads. Coconut shell forms the bow and bamboos form the main body of this unique instrument.
Rajasthan is renowned for historical forms of folk dances. Men and women dress themselves in traditional attire and perform these dances on several occasions such as festivals, weddings, fairs and other events. The most popular and loved dance forms of Rajasthan are:
- Ghoomar dance – This dance form is performed by women during weddings and festivals. A new bride entering her husband’s house for the first time also performs Ghoomar dance as a part of tradition. Ghoomar means to move in circular motion. In this dance form ladies move in circular motion and also form different steps while moving.
- Kachchi Ghodi – Men belonging to Sargara, Kumhar and Bavaria communities perform this dance form. Men hang a dummy of a horse on their body which are beautifully decorated with colorful accessories, clothes and flowers and dance as if they are riding a horse. These horses are made up of baskets and bamboo sticks. These can very commonly be seen at events or places showcasing Rajasthani themes.
- Teerah Taali – This dance form is performed by both men and women. Women tie lots of manjeeras all over their body and play them with their hands while sitting. Men on the other hand play chau-tara which is a four stringed instrument. Rhythm created by a combination of both these instruments is just fabulous.