Music and Dances

Among the more difficult things in life, one thing that is not difficult at all is to talk about the amalgamation and heritage of the different and diverse cultures of India. Indian culture, dominated by Jainists, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs is the perfect example of how the grandeur of the Indian culture is unparalleled. The most celebrated artform comes from the land of the Rajput’s – Rajasthan. When it comes to celebration, the Rajasthani’s know when to sing and dance – ALWAYS.

The vivaciousness of the songs and dances of Rajasthan are an undulating tribute to the magnificence, heroism, valour and vicissitudes of the grandeur and richness of the Rajasthani culture and history. A true Rajasthan tour or for that matter any tour of India is incomplete without engulfing yourself completely in the vibrancy of the folk dance and music of the Rajputana land.

The beauty of the dances and music of Rajasthan are so alluring that it can make brighten you up even in the darkest of times, going hand in hand with the struggle and history of this wondrous land of Rajasthani marvels. The golden stillness of the desert leaves you breathless and soulful in the midst of full-throated music and rhythmic dances that are the most mesmerizing creations of art and culture you will ever see. The state of the Royal Rajputana’s has a very vibrant, highly evolved tradition of performing arts carefully nurtured and sustained over the centuries.

Dance

Since generations, families would invite Nats, Dholis, Bhats and Bhaands to dance and sing at family celebrations, marriages or births, or other festivities, marriages are incomplete without the show put up by them. The irrigated land of Eastern Rajasthan is dominated by puppet shows, Bhopas and the Kachhi Ghodi dances whereas, other parts of Rajasthan are famous for its Kalbeliya dancers, with their musical snake dances and the Manganiyars and Langhas of Jaisalmer.

Some of the best-known folk dances of Rajasthan are Ghoomar, Gair, Bhavai, Chari, Drum Dance, scintillating Fire Dance, Kachhi Ghodi, Sapera Dance, Kathputli, and Terah Tali. Some of these are explained below –

  1. Ghoomar
    Made famous by the beautiful Rani Padmavati of Chittorgarh, you must have seen Deepika Padukone perform it effortlessly on many occasions. A community dance form of the Rajputs, it is performed by the women of the house using swaying movements in circles to convey the joyousness and celebrate the spirit of any auspicious occasion
  2. Gair
    Gair is one of the dance forms of the Bhil tribes. This dance is performed by both men and women together at the time of Holi festival
  3. Bhavai
    This dance form is the perfect example of the balance and nimbleness of the magnificent Rajputana women. Veiled women dancers are seen to balance up to a jaw dropping eight or nine brass pots as they dance and swing around like in the ghoomar, making a pivot swaying with the soles of their feet balance on top of a glass, or on the edge of a weapon. Some of the performers use only papier mache pots that are fixed together, and stupendously move their feet
  4. Chari
    Famous in the Krisangarh region, this dance form is performed with a Chari or pot on the head. The dancers make the elaborate patterns with their hands while holding brass pots on their heads. This dance is only performed by women
  5. Drum Dance
    This is the dance form of the warriors in true spirit of the Rajputs. The Jhalore region is famous for this nerve exhilarating form of dance. Sword juggling is the highlight of this dance form
  6. . Kathputli
    In true sense of its name, this is the dance of puppets. Traditional stories of the luxury and struggles of the state of romance are carefully and craft fully presented with the use of wooden puppets dressed in authentic Rajasthani attire. Famous all over the world, this is the oldest and most loved dance form in Rajasthan
  7. Sapera Dance
    Performed by women dressed in long black cloaks draped in silver ribons, this is the dance unique to the hearts of the Kalbelia community in Rajasthan. The Sapera or snake charmer dance includes men and women both, with men playing instruments to charm the snales and females performing to the dance
  8. Tera Thali
    It takes immense skill to perform the artform, true to its name, tera thali involves the use of thirteen brass disks attached to different parts of the body and one in the hand of the performer, during the performance, viewers are left mesmerized by the sounds and gestures made

Music

When it comes to music, Rajasthan is famous across the world for its ‘Dholis’, and deep voiced singers, play instruments such as the Ektara, ghunghroo and sarangi to people. It is no secret that instruments are the basic white necessities of life. They add that perfect tune to words to make it melodious. Among the Rajasthani instruments dominating the world are Sarangi, the most prominent folk musical instrument of Rajasthan, found in different forms.

These musical instruments are used in such a way that songs and dance are incomplete without them, however the vice versa is completely possible because of the talent showed by these exemplary artists. There are two traditional classes of musicians: the Langas, who stuck mostly exclusively to Muslim audiences and styles, and the Manganiars, who had a more liberal approach.

Some of the most widely famous artforms are listed below –

  1. Mand
    Similar to Thumri or Gazal, Mand singers are the most sophisticated artists of folk music and are the most exclusive contribution to the classical music of India. One of the most famous Rajasthani Mand singers is Allah Jilai Bai of the Bikaner Gharana
  2. Panihari
    True to the environmental realities of Rajasthan, overworked women created melodious numbers that spoke of flowing rivers and the splashing waves. Most songs often had water and rains as their theme. Soon Panihari songs became famous and common. This is the more celebrated form of music famous among the drier parts of Rajasthan
  3. . Pabulji Ki Phach
    The melancholy period of the Bhopas explore the townships of Rajasthan and entertain the bystanders with their performance related to the Pabuji Ki Phach Folk Music with descriptions of the beautiful architecture and culture of the Bhopas. It is performed in the commemoration of about a 14th century folk hero who is the most honored protagonist of the Bhopa community

With the vastness and vivacity of the dance and music forms described above, the Rajasthani culture is an epitome of the beauty and sensuality of the sands of the Thar Dessert and land of the Royal Rajputana’s. To experience the vibrancy and vigor of any of these dance forms is an experience of a lifetime, worth living a thousand times.

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