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 Rajasthanis 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.
Rajasthani music is very famous not only in India but also in the world. Music and dance are deeply ingrained in Rajasthani life. The stillness of the desert evening and the upsurge of life in the short- lived rainy season or spring are filled with soulful, full- throated music and rhythmic dance. Instruments such as sarangi, kamaycha, satara, nad, and morchang create a wide range of liting and melodious sound in accompaniment to the music of the Bhopas, Kalbeliyas, Langas and the Manganiyars. Professional performers like the Bhatts, Dholis, Mirasis, Nats 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.
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. The Ghoomar is the characteristic dance of the Bhils. Men and women sing alternately and move clockwise & anticlockwise giving free and intended play to the ample folds of ghagra.
This is popular in the Kishangarh region and involves dancing with a chari, or pot, on one's head. A lighted lamp is then placed on the pot.
The Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu are renowned for their tantric power and the dance is in keeping with their lifestyles. A large ground is prepared with live wood and characoal 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. This is a desert dance.
Terahtaal is derived from the hindo word '13', it is performed with the aid of 13 cymbals, which are fastened to the bodies of the female dancers who are accompanied by male singers and drummers. It is performed in honour of the local diety, Ramdev, and can be seen at the Ramdevra festival which is held in August or September at the small village of Ramdevra, near Pokhran in western Rajasthan.
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 together, dressed in traditional costume. At the commencement of the dance, participants form two circles, the women, who form a small inner circle, are encompassed by men, who form a large circle around them, and who determine the rhythm of the dance by the beating together of sticks and striking of drums. As the dance proceeds, the participants change places, with men forming the inner circle.
This is a professional dance-form from Jalore. Five men with huge drums around 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.
Another holi dance but performed only by men. This becomes dhandia gair in Jodhpur and Greendad in Shekhwati. It is a dance of southern Rajasthan originally.
The Kamad community of Pokhran and Deedwana perform this dance in honour of their diety, Baba Ramdeo. In this 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. This dance is seen in fairs.