is culturally rich and has extensive tradition in art and culture, which
reflects Indian way life. The dance, music and art forms have been
watchfully cultivated and patronised by the erstwhile courts. An equally
rich and varied folk culture from villages is both fascinating &
The music is of uncomplicated innocence and songs depict day-to-day
relationships and chores more often focal around bring of water.
Rajasthan's cultural tapestry takes in simple
folk to highly cultivated classical music and dance in its own distinct
In the realm of the folkways dance and music rule supreme and one cannot
think of Rajasthan without this important element of its folk life. A
large variety of musical instruments is used in the countryside.
It ranges from the soft tinklers to thunderous kettledrums; from simple,
slender flutes to intriguing trumpets; and from the rustic looking
resonators for basic rhythm to elegant and fully developed bowing or
It is a fascinating sight to see the folk musicians of Rajasthan with
their musical instruments, who besides dressing themselves in colourful
attire, also decorate and embellish their instruments with beautiful
trappings and ornamental coverings. They are a people with music in
Their amazingly rich music has an extraordinary individuality, tradition
and exotic flavor, which gives a distinctive feature and quality to
their musical sounds, and a certain pulse which does not fail to
fascinate the listener, staying like lingering perfume.
They have songs for every occasion with rich emotional content, almost
an endless variety of tunes, quite a few delightful dance forms, and a
large number of musical instruments, all a collective creation of the
folks which is retained by them in its traditional form and character
and passed from one generation to the other.
The people of Rajasthan live life to the hilt. After hard work in the
harsh desert sun and the rocky terrain whenever they take time off they
let themselves go in gay abandon. There is dancing, singing, drama,
devotional music and puppet shows and other community festivities which
transform the hardworking Rajasthani into a fun-loving and carefree
individual. Each region has its own folk entertainment, the dance styles
differ as do the songs. Interestingly enough, even the musical
instruments are different.
Of considerable significance are the devotional songs and the
communities who render these songs. Professional performers like the
Bhaats, Dholis, Mirasis, Nats, Bhopas and Bhands are omnipresent across
the state. They are patronised by the villagers who participate actively
in the shows put up by these travelling entertainers. Some of the better
known forms of entertainment are:
Ghoomar Dance: This is basically a
community dance for women and performed on. auspicious occasions.
Derived from the word ghoomna, piroutte, this is a very simple dance
where the ladies move gently, gracefully in circles.
Gait Ghoomar: This is one of the
many dance-forms of the Bhil tribals. Performed during Holi festival,
this is among a few performances where both men and women dance
Gait: Another Holi dance but
performed only by men. This becomes Dandia Gair in Jodhpur and Geendad
Chart Dance: This is popular in the
Kisherigarh region and involves dancing with a chari, or pot, on one’s
head. A lighted lamp is then placed on the pot.
Kachhi Ghodi: This is a dance
performed on dummy horses. Men in elaborate costumes ride the equally
well decorated dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these dancers move
rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes. A singer narrates the
exploits of the Bavaria bandits of Shekhawati.
Fire Dance: The Jasnathis of Bikaner
and Chum are renowned for their tantric powers and this dance is in
keeping with their lifestyle. A large ground is prepared
with live wood and charcoal where the Jasnathi men and boys jump on to
the fire to the accompaniment of drum beats. The music gradually rises
in tempo and reaches a crescendo, the dancers seem to be in a trance
like state. Drum Dance: This is a professional dance-form from Jalore.
Five men with huge drums round their necks,some with huge cymbals
accompany a dancer who holds a naked sword in his mouth and performs
vigorously by twirling three painted sticks.
Teerah Taali: The Kamad community of
Pokhran and Deedwana perform this dance in honour of theft deity, Baba
Ramdeo. A rather unusual performance where the men play a four-stringed
instrument called a chau-tara and the women sit with dozens of manjeeras,
or cymbals, tied on all over their bodies and strike them with the ones
they hold in their hands. Sometimes, the women also hold a sword between
their teeth or place pots with lighted lamps on their heads.
Kathputli: Puppet plays based on
popular legends are performed by skilled puppeteers. Displaying his
skill in making the puppets’ act and dance, the puppeteer is accompanied
by a woman, usually his wife, who plays the dholak, or drum and sings
Pabuji Ki Phach: A 14th century folk
hero, Pabuji is revered by the Bhopa community. The phad, or scroll,
which is about 10 metres long, highlights the life and heroic deed of
Pabuji. The Bhopas are invited by villagers to perform in their areas
during times of sickness and misfortune. The ballad is sung by the Bhopa
as he plays the Ravan-hattha and he is joined by his wife who holds a
lamp and illuminates the relevant portions at appropriate points.
Maand: Rajasthan’s most
sophisticated style of folk music and has come a long way from the time
it was only sung in royal courts, in praise of the Rajput rulers.
Professional singers still sing the haunting ballads of Moomal Mahendra,
Dhola-Maru and other legendary lovers and heroes.
List of singers and performers also includes the Mirasis and Jogis of
Mewat, Manganiyars and Langas, Kanjars, Banjaras and Dholies.
Performances like the Kuchamani Khayal, Maach, Tamasha, Rammat, Nautanki
and Raasleela are no less popular. The musical instruments of Rajasthan
are simple but quite unusual. Handcrafted by the musicians themselves
they are rather unique and include instruments like the Morchang, Naad,
Sarangi, Kamayacha, Rawanhattha, Algoza, Khartal, Poongi, Bankia and Da
There are dozens of other instruments which are exclusive to Rajasthan
It is a rather difficult task to list all the different types of music,
dance and entertainment that can be found in Rajasthan. The range is