Wherever you venture out in Rajasthan, there is one thing that is synonymous with this colorful state; the people of the deserts and the forts have been performers for centuries together. There are a multitude of music and dance forms in and around our desert camp in Jaisalmer. Manvar’s own cultural evenings at our desert camp in Jaisalmer feature some of the most talented performers from across the Thar.
As the sands of the Thar swish and sway with the ever present winds, so too do the fleet footed dancers of Rajasthan. These artists often come from tribes that mainly practice the artforms and pass on the skill to their future generations. They would often be employed in the royal fortresses or practice among their own villages.
In this post, we’d like to explore some of these artforms that have come to define Rajasthan across the world. Below are some of Rajasthan’s most famous forms of traditional dance. Each form of music and dance has its own eccentricity to it, something that simply cannot be missed when you are on a trip to Jaisalmer or on a trip to Jodhpur at our desert camp.
Kalbeliya is a dance whose name comes from its tribe of origin. Kalbeliyas are traditionally snake catchers and their respect and appreciation for the serpents is also reflected in their dance form. Traditionally, Kalbelias would impart the snake into their musical act, going from street to street and dancing to the tunes of the dholak and the pungi, the instrument used by snake charmers of the community. They would sing about the graciousness of the cobra and be advocates against killing it. Kalbeliya is usually performed by the women of the communities and the men end up being the musicians and the backdrop to this grand performance.
Kalbeliya is definitely not to be missed during the cultural evenings at our desert camp near Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
Perhaps one of the most famous forms of folk dance in India and even the world, Ghoomar is a dance form that is originally of the Bhil tribes of Rajasthan. It was ranked as one of the world’s top dances in 2013 and continues to be a source of amazement for anyone visiting Rajasthan for the first time.
Ghoomar is traditionally a form of dance that was created to worship the goddess of learning, Saraswati. The word “ghoom” in Hindi means “to travel around”, which is representative of the twirling and spinning of the dancers. Here too, most of the dancers are women and the men are resigned to being instrumental and vocal companions throughout the performances. Ghoomar is similar to the Garba of Gujarat, but like most things Rajasthani, it has its own special touches that can only be seen for yourself during a cultural performance at our desert camp in Jodhpur.
One of the most difficult performances to achieve seamlessly, Bhavai is a dance form where women dance deftly while balancing a great number of pots on their hands and heads. Not to be confused with the theatre performance of the same name, Bhavai is a folk dance that is similar to ghoomar but with the addition of these pots. As if things weren’t difficult already, Bhavai dancers perform their steps while balancing on other objects like stools and even swords and other sharp objects.
A dance form that takes a unique twist: The main performers are puppets! Traditional mainly to Jailsamer and Jaipur’s artist communities, Khatputlis are over a thousand years old and are one of India’s most popular artforms. The kathputlis serve mostly as messengers for actual stories that the natives wish to convey. Multiple tribes use kathputlis in their art across Rajasthan.
So now that you have a fair idea of Rajasthan’s traditional dance forms, where can you experience them? At our desert camp near Jodhpur and Jaisalmer of course. Manvar’s traditional evenings ensure you get the best traditional Rajsthani experience in the lap of luxury.