and dance are deeply ingrained in the life of Rajasthanis. The
cool stillness of the desert after the searing heat of the day and
the upsurge of life in the short-lived rainy season or spring are
filled with soulful, full-throated music and rhythmic dance.
All the regions of Rajasthan have their distinct folk
entertainment. The dance styles differ and so do the songs.
Interestingly, even the musical instruments are different.
hilly tracts of central and southern Rajasthan are rich in
community entertainments because of the lifestyle of tribes like
the Bhils, Meena, Banjaras, Saharias and Garasias.
Eastern Rajasthan is fertile and affluent, with plenty of
patrons to sustain professional entertainers like the Bhats,
Kamads, Bhopas, Kacchi Ghodi dancers and Kathputli (puppeteer).
in the harsh scantily-populated desert areas of Western Rajasthan
have very little leisure for merrymaking. Therefore, in this
region, entertainment is provided by professional performers
like the Bhats, Dholis, Mirasis, Nats, Sargadas and Bhands.
Folk traditions and classical forms found royal patronage in
Rajasthan. A major school of the sophisticated classical Kathak
dance form originated in Jaipur, as did Dhrupad singing. The
rulers of Jaisalmer extended patronage to the Manganiyar
The haunting melody of Rajasthan evokes from a variety of
delightfully primitive looking instruments. The stringed variety
include the Sarangi, Rawanhattha, Kamayacha, Morchang and
instruments come in all shapes and sizes from the huge Nagaras and
Dhols to the tiny Damrus. The Daf and Chang are a big favourite of
the Holi (the festival of colours) revellers.
Flutes and bagpipers come in local flavours such as Shehnai,
Poongi, Algoza, Tarpi, Been and Bankia.
Rajasthani dances have a life of their own, a vigorous rhythm
that is hard to describe.
it is the community dances such as the men-only Gair, or the
women-only Ghoomar, or the Gair Ghoomar in which both men and
the Kachhi Ghodi dance where men in elaborate costumes ride
equally well-decorated dummy horses, while a singer narrates the
exploits of the Bavaria bandits of Shekhawati.
Or the sensuous Snake dance of the Kalbeliya gypsies of
Jaisalmer, in which women accentuate supple and snake-like
the spell-binding Fire dance of Bikaner and Churu where men dance
on a platform of smoldering embers.
Other popular dances include the Chari dance of Kishangarh and
the Drum dance of Jalore.
Then of course, there are the colourful Kathputli (puppet)
shows, which are a hot favourite with every traveller to
Apart from many folk musicians and dancers who have risen to
fame, Rajasthan has also produced some of the finest classical
artistes of all times. You can read more about them by