Regional Folk Dances of India

Regional Folk Dances of India

Indian folk and tribal dances are simple dances of a particular area which they perform to express their joy and happiness. India being a diverse country is linked to different mythology and cultures in different parts. Folk dances are performed on every possible occasion like to celebrate the arrival of seasons, the birth of a child, a wedding, and festivals in their region.

The heritage of dance in India is nearly 5000 years old. There are basically two types of dances classical and folk dances. Classical dances are various dance forms with unique facial expressions and mudrā, or hand gestures, to narrate the story and to demonstrate concepts such as particular objects, weather, aspects of nature, and emotions. While folk dances literally mean dance of people or common man’s dance which is an integral part of their life. Folk dance is accompanied by folk music and songs of their region and music instruments that are regional in character. Some of the folk dances according to their region are.

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Kuchipudi Dance

Kuchipudi (Classical), Vilasini Natyam, Andhra Natyam, Bhamakalpam, Veeranatyam, Dappu, Tappeta Gullu, Lambadi dance, Dhimsa, Kolattam, Butta Bommalu.

Kuchipudi is one of the eight major Indian classical dances of India. Veeranatyam is an ancient dance form and had its religious significance. Vilasini Natyam is the traditional dance of devadasis. Andhra Natyam had its history of 2000 years and was lost during the British era but was revived in the 20th century. Butta Bommalu is a type of dance where each dancer wears different maks over the head and shoulders.

Dappu is a type of drum beaten with sticks to create rhythm with ankle bells. Dappu dancers at the front of any procession, whether it be for jataras, festivals, or marriages. Tappeta Gullu is a devotional dance performed during festivals. Lambadi dance is associated with daily tasks harvesting, planting, sowing, etc.

Dhimsa dance is a dance of young and old, men and women of Valmiki, Bagata, Khond, and Kotia tribes. Kolattam is a stick dance also known as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu usually performed during village festivals.

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh dance

Aji Lamu, Buiya, Pasi Kongki, Hiirii Khaniing, Ponung, Peacock dance, Wancho Dance, Bardo Chham.

Bardo Chham is the folk dance of the Sherdukpens community performed during festivals which are based on the story of good and evil. The dancers mask themselves representing different animals and act like fighting the evil forces.

Wancho Dance is one of them, which is performed by the tribe that calls itself Wancho. The Buiya Dance and the Ponung Dance are performed by Digaru Mishmis and Adi tribes respectively. These dances are performed by the accompaniment of songs sung in chorus. Musical instruments like drums and Cymbals are played along with the songs sung for the dances. Musical instruments like Ranasingha, Karna, Turhi, Flute, Ektara, Kindari, Jhanjh, Manjara, Chimta, Ghariyal, and Ghunghru are played to provide music for the songs and the dances.


Assam Bihu Dance

Bihu, Ojapali, Satriya, Naga dance, Bichhua, Natpuja, Maharas, Kaligopal, Bagurumba, Khel Gopal Tabal Chongli, Canoe, Jhumura Hobjanai

Bihu is one of the most popular folk dances of Assam and like its name, it is related to the Bihu festival. Bihu dance has brisk steps with rapid movements of the hips, arms, and wrists along with twirls to the beats of the drum. The main attraction of the dance is the colorful outfits worn both by men and women.

Ojapali is the most distinctive folk dance from Assam, representing the rich tradition and cultural heritage of the state. Satriya dance is a renowned classical dance of Assam the basic aim of this dance is to teach common people religious teaching. Bagurumba folk dance is the dance of the Bodo tribe in Assam. Jhumur is a type of dance performed by young girls accompanied by few male members dancing to the rhythm with musical instruments and vocals.


Bihar Folk Dance

Bidesia, Jat-Jatin, Jumari, Jhijhian, Kajari, Domkach, Sohar-Khilouna

Bidesia holds a unique place in folk dances from Bihar originating from its Bhojpur district. It gave voice to many social concerned topics in Bihar like issues of Rich and poor, traditional and modern of Bhojpuri society. Bihar is an agricultural-based State. In the harvesting season, male and female villagers do their work with dance and song in the field. Their happiness and joy are the symbols of a good crop.

Jat-Jatin is the most popular folk dance of North Bihar, especially in Mithila and Koshi region. It reflects the sweet quarrel between husband and wife. Jumari Dance of Bihar is similar to the “Garva dance of Gujrat” where married women dance celebrating the arrival of Kartik month.

Jhijhian is a dance performed while praying to Lord Indra when rain has not arrived for a long time. Kajari, the folk dance is performed to celebrate the beginning of the Shravana, the month of the rainy season. The folk dance, Domkach belongs to Mithila and Bhojpur regions of Bihar. Sohar-Khilouna is performed celebrating childbirth Where ladies gather to bless the newborn child.


Chhatisgarh Folk Dance

Raut Nacha, Gaur Maria Dance, Panthi, Karma dance, Soowa, Saila Dance

Raut Nacha is a traditional folk dance of Chhattisgarh which is done as a symbol of devotion to Lord Krishna. The yadavs/yaduvanshis is a caste that considers itself as descendants of Krishna mainly perform this dance form.

Panthi is the folk dance Satnami community of Chhattisgarh. The Gaur Maria Dance form is the folk dance of Chhattisgarh of the people of Bison Horn Marias of Abhujmaria plateau of Bastar in Chhattisgarh. It is performed on the occasion of marriages and is a very beautiful and joyful dance.

Karma Tribal groups like Gonds, the Baigas, and the Oraons in Chhattisgarh have Karma dance as part of their culture. Soowa or Suwa/Sua tribal dance in Chhattisgarh state is also a form of Parrot Dance. It is a symbolic form of dancing related to the worship of God.


Goa Folk Dance

Tarangamel, Dashavatara, Dekhni, Dhalo, Dhangar, Fugdi, Ghode Modni, Goff, Jagar, Kunbi, Mando, Muslam Khel, Perni Jagar, Ranamale, Romta Mel, Divlyan Nach (Lamp dance), Veerabhadra

Traditional folk dances of God have continued uninterruptedly, while the Portuguese music and dance influence on local culture has helped Goa dance to evolve in new forms. The annual events like the spring festival of peasants, Shigmostav have many folk dances of Goa involved. Godhi Modni is a popular Goa folk dance performed during Shigmo and brings back the memory of the great warriors in the past.

Dekhni is a song cum dance and has only women dancers who perform this dance. Dhangar dance is performed by a community of shepherds who worship a folk god named Bira Deva and perform it with dhol and flute. Goff, Talgadi, and Shigmo are beautiful folk dances that are a part of spring jubilation and spread festive mood among the peasants.

Muslam Khel is another folk song cum dance in the praise of the brave kings. Zagor is a folk dance inherited from the modern Marathi Theatre in Goa. Divlyan Nach (Lamp dance) is very difficult as the performers need basic art and skill to keep lamps on their head with body movement. Fugdi and Dhalo are folk dances performed by the women in Marathi and Konkani songs. Veerabhadra, Morulem, Romat, and Tonyamel are other forms of Goas folk dances performed.


Gujarat Folk Dance

Garba, Dandiya Ras, Tippani Juriun, Bhavai, and Padhar

Garba is a type of Indian dance usually performed at festivals and special occasions in Gujarat. This joyful dance is based on a circular pattern of movement and rhythmic clapping. This dance is popularly performed during Navratri. Garba songs are composed by folk poets and are lyrical poems sung in praise of Lord Krishna. Singing in chorns is an invariable accompaniment of Garba Nrtiya.

Other forms of Garba are Deevo, Ghado, and Garbi. Dandiya Raas is performed by men and women wearing colorful clothes designed for dance especially. Beautifully decorated wooden sticks called Dandiya are used as props in the dance.

Tippani is popular among Kharva and Koli habitants of the coastal region, as they dance in the form of sailors and fishermen. Bhavai dance is performed the whole night without any stage equipment, by a male, a Brahmin north of Gujarat. Padhar dance is performed by Padhar community to express delirium or exhilaration.


Haryana folk dance

Khoria, Jhumar, Phag Dance, Daph, Dhamal, Loor, Gugga, Khor, Gagor

Khoria dance of Haryana is their famous folk dance which is performed at auspicious instances like weddings, during other important festivities and during monsoon or time of harvest. There is a group of dancers who perform this dance and speed is the most important feature of this dance.

Phag Dance is performed by agriculture folks in the month of February-March during sowing and harvesting. The dance celebrates the harvest and is an expression of joy and bliss.

Loor dance of Haryana is performed during Holi festival performed by girl dancers. Daph folk dance is also connected to harvest and spring season. This dance is performed by both men and women on ancient Haryanavis music instruments. Gugga dance is performed around the Gugga leaden in his honor and they sing songs, which praise Gugga saint.

Dhamal dance is popular among Ahir community in the Gurgaon area, the music players play high note music and a graceful dance form starts. Jhumar dance is named after an ornament known as Jhumar worn by Haryanavi ladies on their forehead and it is a form of Haryanvi Gidda.

Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh folk dance

Nati, Chham, Dangi, Lahauli Dance, Thoda dance, Mala dance, Demon dance, and Cholamba dance

Nati is the most famous folk dance of Himachal Pradesh, it originated from Kullu and Shimla area. Its form varies with regions like Kullu Nati, Kinnauri Nati, Gaddi Nati, and Shimla Nati and was listed as the largest folk dance in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016.

Dangi is based on the oldest folklore in Himachal Pradesh and involves female dancers. This dance is performed in the temple of Goddess Naina Devi during the harvest season. Chhanak Chham is performed on the occasion of Chakhar and is a devotional dance performed as a tribute to the divine lord Buddha.

Lahauli Dance looks similar to Ladakhi dance, while the Thoda dance is like a war dance performed before men go to war. Mala dance and Demon dance is also popular in Himachal Pradesh since the historic period. Cholamba dance is usually performed when a tiger is killed.

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir folk dance

Dumhal, Kud dance, Fumenie and Jagarana, Gwatri, Karak, Rouf, Kud Dandi Nach

Rouff is the most popular dance pf Kashmir valley and is performed by the womenfolk. Rouf dance is performed on festive occasions like Eid and Ramzan days are going. The Kud dance is one of the hilly region dances from Jammu, which exhibits swaying & sinuous movements. Kud is basically a ritual dance performed in honor of Lok Devatas.

Dumhal is a classical folk dance of Wattal tribe in the Kashmir region. They wear tall caps with beads and shells and colorful dresses and carry some banners during their dance movement and move in a circular position.

Fumenie and Jagarana is a dance style performed by the ladies on the eve of the groom’s departure to the inlaw’s house. Heren is a traditional theatre form performed during the Lohri festival by 10-15 members. Gwatri is a singing/ dance combined tradition in which the singers narrate some text which is enacted by the Gwatari dancers.

Karak is a tale ballet singing form sung by a community called ‘Jogies’. They narrate a popular folk tale in their dance style, performed by three members with the accompaniment of a typical folk instrument called ‘Rabab’.


Jharkhand Folk dance

Chhau, Jhumar, Palka, Sarhul, Jat-Jatin, Karma, Danga, Bidesia, Sohrai

Jhumar is a folk dance that is performed with the accompaniment of traditional musical instruments, for instance, tribal drums (”medals” and ”singas”). The main theme of Jhumar is love and romance. Some other dance forms are Jaudra, Choukara, Bheja dance, Damkach, Janani Jhumar dance, Mardana Jhumar dance, Phagua dance, Sarhul dance, Santhal, Jamda, Matha, Sohrai, and Lurisayr.

In Chhaw dance, the dancers cover their faces with a mask. So, it is the body movements (not facial expressions, as in other classical dances) and head and neck movement that is important. The plantation of Karma trees is done during the Karma festival as they are believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Thereafter, the dancers get into a circle, and with hands around each other’s waist, they dance together passing branches of the tree to each other, thus celebrating as a group.

The two most important forms of Karma in Jharkhand State are Lahsua and Khare. This dance form is performed by Baigas and Gonds. Palka is the dance of the Munda community of Jharkhand. With chest blades, headgear, anklets, bows, arrows, spears, swords, and shields the dancer enacts battle scenes, symbolizing the great war of the Mundas against the British.


Karnataka Folk dance

Yakshagana, Dollu Kunitha, Bhootha Aradhane, Veeragaase Dance, Bayalata

People of Karnataka not only perform the dance for entertainment but also for their spiritual enhancement. Yakshagana is a theatre form of dance and is an ancient art. Yakshagana form developed in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Many dance forms in Karnataka have a unique and special appearance that defines state integrity and culture.

Dammam dance is also one of the traditional dances of the state. The nature-loving culture of Kannadigas enhanced the preservation of tribal dances, some of the folk dances of Karnataka are Dollu Kunitha, Krishna Parijatha, Bhootha Aradhane, Nagamandala, etc.

Dollu Kunitha in Karnataka is generally performed to commemorate an auspicious event and is performed by both men and women either in separate groups or together. Gorava Kunitha of Karnataka is typically performed by groups of 10 to 11 men. They usually belong to the singing tribe of the Goravas, who are strong worshipers of Lord Shiva.

Bhootha Aradhane means Devil Worship is performed during the local worship of the devil so that it does not bring evil upon them. Veeragaase Dance is performed at the Dussehra procession held in Mysore annually. It is also presented in the months of Shravana and Karthika and various religious festivals of importance. Bayalata literally means ‘Open Theatre Drama’. It is in fact a combination of dance and drama. It is a type of Yakshagana art form.


Kerala Folk dance

Kathakali (Classical), Mohiniyattam, Thullal, Thirayattam, Theyyam, Oppana, Duffmuttu, Chakyar Koothu, Padayani, Thiruvathirakali

Kathakali is a popular classical dance of Kerala which draws its inspiration from ancient texts and epics. Kathakali, Mohiniattam, and Thullal include in the dances of Kerala. Besides these, Theyyam, Koothu, Krishnanattom and Koottiyattam are also practiced in Kerala.

Theyyam is performed to glorify Goddess Kali and Koodiyattam dance is a traditional dance of Kerala. Velakali Dance is performed where the performers are dressed as warriors and carry wooden swords and shields. Thiruvathirakali is performed by women mainly during the Onam festival.

Duffmuttu is quite popular with the Muslim population of Kerala who also performs Oppanna dance. Chakyar Koothu is a traditional dance where the performers narrate the epic Ramayana and the Mahabharta, Syrian Christians of Kerala perform Margamkali dance and is mainly done during the festival time and marriage ceremony in Kerala.

Padyani dance of Kerala is performed wearing colorful masks called Kolams and project some act from epics like Bhairavi, Kalan, Yakshi, and Pakshi.


Lakshadweep Folk dance

Lava, Kolkali, Parichakali

Kolkali and Parichakali are two major folk dance of Lakshadweep. Kolkali dance is performed with sticks (Kol) and is usually performed by men and not women. Parichakali dance is called Shield dance and the dance is performed with swords and shields, it is somewhat like a martial art form.

In Minicoy, Lava dance is very popular. The costumes worn by the participants are multi-hued, with traditional headgear. Constant drumming, with the melody of the folk songs, enhances the movements of this dance. During the marriage, the Oppanna dance is a common dance performed which is also performed in Kerala.

Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh Matki dance

Gaur, Jawar, Matki, Muria, Saila, Bhagoriya Dance

Gaur Dance is the most popular dance form in Madhya Pradesh and is performed by Sing Marias or the Tallaguda Marias. Muria dance is performed by Muria tribe and is performed on auspicious occasions such as a marriage or any other festival.

Jawar Dance is the harvest dance in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh and is performed by women wearing baskets full of Jawar on their heads. Matki Dance is mostly performed in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, where women balance earthenware pit (Matki) on their head while performing.

Bhagoriya Dance is performed by the Bhils tribe and is performed mainly during Holi. The Saila dance is a form of stick dance and is very popular among the people of Sarguja, Baitul, and Chhindwara districts. The traditional folk dance of the Bhil tribe is Ghoomar. Representing the symbol of womanhood Ghoomar is famous in this tribe.


Maharashtra folk dance

Lavani, Tamasha, Koli, Povadas, Dindi, Dhangari Gaja, Kala

Lavani is a popular folk dance of Maharastra, the word Lavani is derived from the word Lavanya which means beauty. Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument.

The tamasha dance form has been believed to be derived from the ancient form of Sanskrit drama – the ‘Prahsana’ and the ‘Bhana’. Koli is a folk dance of fishermen of Maharashtra. The dance form incorporates elements of sea and fishing which this community is more familiar with.

Povadas dance describes the events in the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj the great Maratha ruler. Dhangari Gaja is a dance form of Dhangars who belongs to the shepherds, cowherds, buffalo keepers, and blanket weavers of Sholapur district, Maharashtra.


Manipuri Dance

Manipuri (Classical), Maibi Dance, Khamba Thoibi Dance, Pung Cholom, Maibi Jagoi, Nupa Pala, Manipuri Raas Leela

Manipur is known for its bouquet of folk dances as there are many tribal communities and their dance forms. Manipuri is a classical dance of Manipur and has its own aesthetics and conventions. The dance is a purely religious and spiritual practice where the cult of Radha and Krishna are the central themes.

The Maibi Dance known as a ritual dance showcased a combination of slow and flowy movements, soft expressions, and beats of some traditional musical instruments. Khamba Thoibi dance is a duet of male and female partners, a dance of dedication to the sylvan deity. Pung Cholom is performed as an invocatory number preceding the Sankirtana and Ras Lila.

During the festival of Lai-Haraoba Meitei people perform Maibi Jagoi dance. Nupa Pala which is otherwise known as Kartal Cholom or Cymbal Dance is performed by male partners, using cymbals and wearing snow-white ball-shaped large turbans, who sing and dance to the accompaniment of Mridanga, an ancient classical drum “Pung” as it is called in Manipuri. Raas Leela is famous in Manipuri culture illustrating the eternal love of Radha and Krishna.


Meghalaya Shad Suk Mynsiem dance

Shad Suk Mynsiem, Shad Nongkrem, Laho

Shad Suk Mynsiem is a type of dance form performed during the thanksgiving festival in the spring season. Men and women wear colorful traditional costumes and participate in dance, which is accompanied by drums and pipes called tangmuri, the queen of musical instruments.

Nongkrem dance festival is performed to appease the all-powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a rich bumper harvest and prosperity of the people. Laho dance is performed both by males and females for entertainment where all wear their best costumes and usually have two men on either side of a woman holding arms together dance in steps.


Mizoram Cheraw Bamboo Dance

Cheraw Dance, Khuallam, Chheihlam

Cheraw Dance popularly known as Bamboo dance is the most important dance in Mizoram performed on festive occasions. Long poles of bamboo are laid across logs on the ground, one at each end. Each pair of poles is held at each end by a person who sits on the ground, holding one pole in each hand. The bamboos are struck against each other, and the logs on the ground, in rhythm with the music. The dancers skip in and out between the bamboos and avoid getting caught between them.

Khuallam is a dance of the guests and is performed during the ceremony called “Khuangchawi”. Chheihlam is a dance form is performed to recite the heroic deeds of the past and praise the honored guests.


Nagaland dance

Naga Dance, Zeliang, Changsang, Monyu Asho, Melo phita, Khupielili, Akok-khi, Langnyu- Khiamtsangshe, Rukhyo Sharu, Angushu kighilhe

Zeliang is a special dance form of Nagaland mostly performed by female dancers with upright body position and unbent knees in perfect equilibrium while moving with loud shouts and high-pitched calls.

In the Naga dance, the tribals perform as hunters and the dance portrays the complete sequence of hunting prey and how the particular animal is cooked and eaten. Changsang dances are performed by the Chang tribe from Nagaland during Naknyulum festivals. Monyu Asho dance is performed by Phom Nagas during the festival of Monyu.

Kukuyipheto is performed by Chakesang Nagas and is an excellent choreography as the dance consist of fast and complicated footwork. Melo Phita dance performed by the Angami Nagas during the Sekrenyi festivals. Angushu kighilhe dance is a famous dance for Sumi Nagas.


Odisha Folk dance

Odissi (Classical), Chhau Dance, Goti Pua, Baagh Naach or Tiger Dance, Dalkhai, Dhap, Ghumra

Odissi, one of the principal classical dances of Odisha and is one of the eight recognized classical dance forms of India. Chhau Dance is originated and performed in the Mayurbhanj District of Odisha and also in Nilagiri of Baleswar district. The dance is a stylized mock battle in which two groups of dancers armed with swords and shields, alternatively attack and defend themselves with vigorous movements and elegant stances.

In Baagh Naach the performers paint their bodies with yellow and black stripes like that of a tiger and attach a suitable tail. One or more dancers move from house to house and after a crowd gathers the dance begins. Dalkhai is the most popular folk-dance of Odisha. This is mostly danced by young women of Binjhal, Kuda, Mirdha, Sama, and some other tribes of Sambalpur, Balangir, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Nuapada, and Kalahandi districts.

Dhap dance is a Sambalpuri folk dance is mostly performed by the Kandha tribe of the Kosal region. The Sambalpuri folk dance called Ghumra is also known as vira-badya of the Odisha region.


Puducherry Garadi dance

Garadi, Podikazhi Attam

Garadi is a very popular dance form of Puducherry. The Garadi dance has its link to the Hindu epic Ramayana and is believed to be originated from that time. Gadari dancers mask themselves as Vanar and mimic the gesture of the monkey. Therefore, the dance is also candidly known as Monkey Dance of Puducherry. The monkey dance is performed on special occasions and festivals which are celebrated in Puducherry.

Podikazhi Attam is the well-known folk dance form of Puducherry. This is celebrated by the local fishermen community.


Punjab Gidda

Bhangra, Giddha, Jhumar Dance, Jago Dance

Bhangra of Punjab is popular in the whole country and not only in Punjab, it is traditionally performed during Baisakhi. During Bhangra, people sing Punjabi Boliyaan lyrics, at least one person plays the dhol (drum), and other people may play the flute, dholak drum, or other musical instruments.

Jhumar is a type of dance performed in a circle and performed exclusively by three generations of a family at a wedding. Gatka is a weapon-based martial art form of dance, the word Gatka means wooden sticks and is an armed fighting style of dance.

Giddha is the most popular dance form of women in Punjab where women say verses called bolis, folk poetry, and dance. Jago Dance is done during marriage when girls carry a water pot decorated with lights and candles and sing and dance Jago.


Rajasthan Folk Dance

Ghumar, Kalbelia, Bhavai, Kachchhi Ghodi, Gair, Chari, Kathputli dance, Chang

Ghumar is the traditional folk dance of Rajasthan, it was developed by the Bhil tribe and was later adopted by other Rajasthani communities. The dance gets its name from the name ‘ghoomna’ which means swirling with long robes or Rajasthani skirt with their face covered with veils.

Kalbelia is also one of the famous Rajasthani dance of the tribe with the same name. The Kalbelia dance, performed to celebrate any joyful moment in the community, is an integral part of Kalbelia culture.

Chari dance reflects the inadequate water supply and women go miles to collect water and express their joy through Chari dance. The dancers balance brass pots on their heads while performing the dance.

Kachchhi Ghodi is a type of dance performed by men wearing different traditional attires like dhoti, turbans, and kurtas and perform the dance by riding on puppet horses. Kathputlis is a type of puppet. Rajasthan is famous for its puppet-playing tradition. Bhavai dance basically involves women dancers balancing 8 to 9 pitchers on their heads and dancing simultaneously. It can only be performed by skilled artists.


Sikkim Folk dance

Chu Faat Dance, Singhi Chaam, Sikmari, Yak Chaam, Denzong Gnenha, Tashi Yangku, Maruni Dance

Most of the folk dances are performed as an essential aspect of the festival, and these dances are either ritualistic or simply celebrative. Some folk dances are associated with agriculture operations and some are celebrations of the birthdays of Gods/Goddesses or mythological celebration.

Singhi Chham is regarded as the guardian dance of Sikkim and is characterized by a masked dance performed. The dance centers on the Snow Lion the symbol of Sikkim. Chu Faat Dance is specifically performed on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Buddhist calendar of North. Lepcha community performed this dance to dedicate the peak of Mount Kanchenjunga along with its companions Mt Narshing.

Sikmari Dance is performed by the Lepchas to admire the beauty of nature. The Singhi Chaam dance performed in order to show respect towards the mythical snow lion which is only found in the Trans Himalayan region. Yak Chaam dance is performed by the Bhutia community as many families which are dependent on the Yak for their survival for using Yak’s wools in their daily life.

Tashi Yangku is believed to bring good destiny to the land. Tashi Yangku dance is meant to alleviate the Gods for continuing prosperity and peace in the region. Maruni Dance is performed in the Tihar festival by the Nepali community as well as family occasions like marriages and births.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil nadu Folk dance

Bharatnatyam, Kumi, Kolattam, Kavadi, Karagam, Thappattam, Peacock dance, Snake Dance, Oyilattam, Puliyattam, Poikal Kudirai Attam, Bommalattam, Theru Koothu

From Bharatnatyam to Theru Koothu, the spectacular dance forms of Tamil Nadu never fails to mesmerize the spectators, be it home or abroad. Bharatanatyam is the oldest classical dance tradition in India.

Kumi dance is very simple, with rhythmic clapping. In some places, dancers imitate various harvesting activities. Kummi often accompanies by songs, called “Kummi songs”. Kummi songs became a popular addition to kuthiyottam festivities in modern times.

Kolattam dance is known by different names in different states of the Indian subcontinent. In the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the dance form is known as Kol Kolannalu, Kolattam, and Kolannalu. The dance is also familiar as Koladi, Kolkali, and Kambadi Kali in some regions.

Kavadi Aatam is a religious dance offered to Lord Muruga during a pilgrimage, made mainly by men, which originated in Tamil Nadu. This ritual dance is widely prevalent in the Subramanya Temples in Kerala and Tamil Nadu during the festival season.

Atta Karagam or simply Karakattam is an ancient and traditional art form in the folk dance genre originating in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thappattam is a very old traditional folk dance more popular in the villages of Tamilnadu. The performers beat a handheld drum, known as Thappu, and dance to its rhythm. In Mayil Attam and Paambhu Attam performers dress up with Peacock feathers and snakeskin.

Puliyattam is a Dance form “a play of the Tigers”. Normally the performers make movements of the majestic tigers. Bommalattam is the puppet dances held during the festivals.


Telangana Bonalu dance

Perini Shivatandavam or Perini Thandavam, Bonalu dance, Bathukamma dance

Perini Shivatandavam or Perini Thandavam is an ancient dance form from Telangana which has been revived in recent times. Bonalu is a Hindu festival where Goddess Mahakali is admired. Women dance with balancing pots (Bonam), to the rhythmic beats of drums in honor of the local Goddess.

Bathukamma is a festival celebrated by the Hindu women of the Telangana region. Women gather in large numbers with their Bathukammas in their locality, place them in the middle, and dance around them, synchronizing steps and claps in unison and singing soul-stirring Bathukamma folk songs.


Tripura hojari dance

Hojagiri Dance, Way Dance, Hai-Hak Dance, Wangala Dance, Welcome Dance

Hojagiri is performed on the auspicious occasion of the Hojagiri Laxmi Puja in Tripura. It is held on the full moon night during Durga Puja, three days prior to Dusshera. Only women participate in this puja where a 5 to 7 member team performs the Hojagiri dance. Way Dance is the traditional dance of the Mog community.

Hai-Hak Dance is a dance performed by Halam community whose social and economic life revolves around Jhum cultivation. Wangala Dance is performed during Wangala a ceremony with consumption of the first rice harvest. For Welcome Dance, the Lusai girls are well dressed in order to get ready for the performance. They performed a welcome dance whenever any visitor pays visits to their house as a guest.

Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh Folk Dance

Kathak, Raslila, Charkula Dance, Nautanki, Mayur Nritya, Kajri Dance

Kathak is the North Indian Classical dance developed under the Nawabs, the main theme being that of Krishna with gopis. Raslila is also the act where Lord Krishna is shown dancing with gopis on the banks of the river Krishna in the Vrindavan region.

Charkula Dance is a very spectacular folk dance of Uttar Pradesh of Braj region where veiled women dance balancing 108 oil lamps on her head placed on a wooden pyramid platform. Nautanki is a form of street play and was a way of entertainment before cinema came into common man life. It consists of folklore and mythological dramas blended with folk songs and dances.

Mayur Nritya is about the love between Radha and Krishna, this dance belongs to the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. The performers wear specially designed clothes so as to resemble a peacock and is performed while worshipping Lord Krishna. Kajri dance in Uttar Pradesh is performed by women just before the advent of the monsoons in the accompaniment of the Jhula lyrics.


Uttarakhand Jhora dance

Chholia, Jhora, Barda Nati, Pandav Nritya, Langvir Nritya, Mukhota Dance

There are different forms of dancing in the Garhwal region. Chholia folk dance form belongs to the Kumaon region of Uttrakhand and is extremely popular in the Pithoragarh, Champawat, and Almora districts in the state. This dance form depicts the skills of acrobatics by using the shield and swords.

Chholia folk dance form consists of dancing movements like turns, whirls, twists, and whirls. Jhora dance also belongs to the Kumaon region, this dance form usually can be seen in the evening time at weddings or fairs. Barda Nati is a popular dance form of Jaunsar Bawar region, in which both men and women take part and performed on important occasions or religious functions.

Pandav Nritya is a form of storytelling around epic Mahabharta. Langvir Nritya is a form of acrobatic dance that only men folks perform. This form of dance is famous in the Tehri and Garwal region. Mukhota Dance is performed in the month of Vaishakha, when participants wear traditional clothing and masks to resemble various deities and demons and dance.

West Bengal

West Bengal Gambhira dance

Gambhira, Dhali, Brita , Kathi, Jatra, Baul, Marasia, Mahal, Keertan, Chhau, Lathi

Gambhira is one form of traditional and devotional dance performed by the devotees of Goddess Shakti. Brita is an invocation dance performed by women who are unable to give birth. It is performed after giving birth as a means of gratitude.

Purulia Chhau is a masked martial dance based on the episodes of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Gambhira is a popular solo devotional dance, while Tusu is a celebratory harvest dance. Lathi is a stick dance performed by young boys during the first ten days of Muharram.

Kathi is a beautiful form of dance practiced in districts of Purulia Nadia and Midnapore where the dancers wear different types of colorful clothes. Lathi or stick dance is a form of the martial art form of West Bengal. Dhali dance is a shield dance. It was the war dance of the dhali troupes in the armies of the ancient potentes of Bengal. Santhal and Rava are other folk dances of West Bengal.

Suggested Read: Indian Dance

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.