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Dandiya- A Version of Garba?

Dandiya dance during Navratri In my last blog I wrote about Garba dance. In this blog I’ll tell you more about Dandiya, a dance form hailing from the Gujarat state of India. Many people think that both Garba and Dandiya are the same, but actually they are very different dance forms. If we look at the history of these two dances, we see that both originated in Gujarat and are performed during the Hindu festival of Navratri. Dandiya’s alleged origins can be traced back to the times of Lord Krishna. One legend states that the dance form originated from Lord Krishna and Radha’s ‘raasleela’ and hence it is known as ‘dandiya raas’. Today Dandiya remains one of the most significant aspects of any Gujarati celebration.    Lord Krishna dancing with Radha Originally performed in the honour of the Hindu Goddess Durga, Dandiya dance represents a battle between demon Mahishasur and Goddess Durga in which Goddess Durga emerged victoriously. The colourful sticks used during Dandiya represent the sw
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Garba: The Nine-Night Dance

Garba dance Gujarat is a state of India that is located on the western coast of the Arabian sea. Garba is one of the most celebrated dance forms in Gujarat. It is traditionally performed during the nine-day Hindu festival called ‘Navratri’. The word ‘nav’ means nine and ‘ratri’ means night. Thus, the festival derives its name from its celebration over a period of nine nights. This festival is devoted to Goddess Durga, whose nine forms are worshiped on nine days. The festival is celebrated in various ways across India, but in Gujarat it is celebrated in a unique way. Gujarati people follow the primary tradition of performing garba dance for nine nights to pay their respect to Goddess Durga.  The word Garba, derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Garbha’, means womb. This dance is usually performed around an earthen lantern with light inside it. The earthen lantern is called ‘Garbha Deep’. This lantern represents the human body and the light inside it represents life (fetus) in the womb

Ghoomar- The Spinning Dance of Rajasthan

Rajasthan, a state in the northern part of India, is known as the cultural capital of the country. Rajasthan has a rich heritage of folk dance, music, art, and architecture. Many of these art forms have survived through ages and are even part of the present Rajasthani culture.  The word Rajasthan means ‘the abode of kings.’ Rajasthan gets its name from the many Rajput kings who ruled the state before the British rule. For centuries, Rajasthan had been ruled by various Rajput, Maratha and Muslim rulers which eventually contributed to the state’s diverse culture. As a state, Rajasthan is home to numerous tribes like Bhils, Banjaras, Minas, Gadia, Lohar and their indigenous cultures. Rajasthani culture is famous for having a variety of folk dances that are vibrant, attractive, and a great form of entertainment.          The Mehrangarh Fort-Jodhpur,Rajasthan One of the most popular folk dances of Rajasthan is Ghoomar dance. The word Ghoomar comes from the Hindi word ‘ghoomna’ which m

Lavani- The Pride of Maharashtra

  Lavani is one of the most dynamic, robust, sensual and popular folk dances of the Indian state of Maharashtra as well as the surrounding areas in Konkan or coastal region of India. It is a combination of song and dance. The most common themes of this folk dance are feelings like heroism, love, sorrow, devotion and different aspects of social life such as religion, politics etc. Maharashtra was once a battle torn state and lavani dance served as a morale booster and a mode of entertainment to weary soldiers during the 18 th and 19 th centuries. This dance form reached the peaks of popularity during the rule of the Peshwa Dynasty that was seated in Pune, during which Lavani was given support by the ruling elite. This folk dance was originally performed by ‘Dhangars’ or shepherds living in the Sholapur district of Maharashtra. They were inspired by nature and the dance form contains tales of the birth of their deity. Lavani has come a long way since then and has been adopted as an i

How a Bird Inspired Dance!

  Tinikling Dance In my last blog I wrote about a magical bamboo dance of the north eastern state of Mizoram called Cheraw. In Philippines there is a similar bamboo dance called Tinikling. Tinikling is a traditional folk dance of the Philippines which originated in Leyte, one of the Visayan Islands during the Spanish colonial eras. According to legend, this dance was started by the people who worked in the paddies and farms of the Philippines. When the Spaniards conquered the Philippines, the natives were sent to ‘haciendas’ (plantation, factories or mines) and lost control of their land. To please the king of Spain, the natives had to work all day. Those who worked too slowly would be sent for punishment, in which the worker had to stand between two bamboo poles which were then clapped to beat the natives’ feet. To escape their punishments, the natives jumped around the poles and from this action, Tinikling dance originated. Tinikling is now the national dance of Philippines. This d

A Dance with Bamboo-- from the Land of Mizos

On the occasion of International Dance Day, I would like to share with you one of the mesmerizing yet lesser known folk dances of India- Cheraw. Cheraw is one of the oldest bamboo dances of the north eastern state of Mizoram in India. This dance is believed to be originated as early as the 1 st century AD in the Yunan province of China. During the 13 th century AD the mongoloids of Mizoram migrated to the Chin Hills and finally settled in the present state of Mizoram. They brought this dance along with their other cultural traditions. In ancient times, this dance was performed in rituals as believed to bring solace to the soul of a mother, who had died over child birth and left her new born baby. But now the Cheraw has become an integral part of almost every auspicious occasion such as festivals, marriages etc in Mizoram. This beautiful and elegant dance form involves about six to eight people holding pairs of bamboo staves on another horizontally placed bamboo on the ground. The

Phalgun Dance- Phaag

Haryana is a state in India located in the Northern part of the country. The Vedic land of Haryana has been the cradle of Indian culture and civilization. It occupies an important place on the cultural map of India. Haryana boasts of a rich cultural heritage that goes way back to the Vedic times. The seasonal and religious festivals glorify the culture of this region. The people of Haryana have their own traditions. They have preserved their old religious and social traditions and celebrate all their festivals and traditions with great enthusiasm. The folk dance of Haryana represents the main folk culture of this state. Many folk songs and dances of this state are related to harvest and festivals. One of the lesser-known dances of Haryana is the Phaag Dance. The word Phaag is derived from the word ‘Phalgun’. Phalgun is the 12th lunar month in the Hindu calendar and corresponds with the months of February/March of the Gregorian calendar. This month is significant because it marks th