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Folk Dances Of India UPSC

Indian folk dances, which typically consist of a few simple steps, are performed throughout the world to celebrate a new season, childbirth...


  • People around the world perform Indian folk dances to celebrate various occasions such as a new season, childbirth, weddings, festivals, and other social events. These dances typically involve a few simple steps. In some Indian folk dances, people perform separately; in others, they dance together.
StateFolk Dance
Andhra PradeshKuchipudi, Vilasini Natyam, Andhra Natyam, Bhamakalpam, Veeranatyam, Dappu, Tappeta Gullu, Lambadi, Dhimsa, Kolattam, Butta Bommalu.
Arunachal PradeshDance FormsTribes
Aji LamuMonpa
Hiirii KhaniingApatani
Lion and peacock danceMonpa
Pasi KongkiAdi
Bardo Chham
AssamBihu, Bichhua, Natpuja, Maharas, Kaligopal, Bagurumba, Naga dance, Khel Gopal, Tabal Chongli, Canoe, Jhumura Hobjanai, Hamja, Ojapali, Sattriya, Bhortal,
Biharo   Bideshiya is a form of dance-drama that is believed to have been created by Bhikhari Thakur, a barber with a passion for drama. It deals with social issues and conflict between traditional and modern, rich and poor.
o    Domkach is performed in the bridegroom’s house by women during a marriage ceremony.
o    Fagua is a dance and also a type of folk song performed during Holi.
o    Jat-Jatin is the most popular folk dance of North Bihar, especially in the Mithila and Koshi regions. It is performed by a man and a woman; the man is going far away to work. The dance reflects poverty and sorrow.
o    Jhijhian is sung and danced during a drought as a prayer to Indra for rain. Its music is usually a singer, a harmonium and a drum.
o    Jhumri is similar to Gujarat’s Garba.
o    Kajari is popular in Bihar’s Bhojpuri-speaking region. It often describes a woman’s longing for her lover as the black monsoon cloud hangs in the summer sky, and is sung during the rainy season.
o    Painki evokes the infantry’s agility, courage, and excitement. Danced on flat ground, it highlights the dancers’ weapon-handling ability.
o    Sohar is sung and danced by women to celebrate the birth of a child.
Chhattisgarho   Gaur Maria, Panthi, Raut Nacha, Pandwani, Vedamati, Kapalik, Bharthari Charit, Chandaini
Goao   Fugdi in a Goan folk dance performed by the women in the Konkan region during the Hindu religious festivals Ganesh Chaturthi and Vrata or near the end of other dances, such as Dhalo
     Tarangamel, Koli, Dekhni , Shigmo, Ghode, Modni, Samayi nrutya, Jagar, Ranmale, Gonph, Tonnya mell
Gujarato       Dandiya Raas is an energetic, vibrant dance which originated in Gujarat. Often called the “stick dance” because it uses polished sticks (dandiya)
o       Garba is customarily performed by both sexes, and sometimes includes the stick dance
o       The Tippani dance originated in the Chorwad region of Saurashtra.
o       The Padhar dance is performed by the Padhar community.
Himachal Pradesh·        o   Nati, Jhora, Jhali, Chharhi, Dhaman, Chhapeli, Mahasu, Dangi
Haryanao    Theatrical
o          Saang: Pioneering artists were Baje Bhagat, Dayachand Mayna and Lakhmi Chand, Ragini
o    Devotional
o         Chaupaiya (in verse), Raslila, Ragini
o    Seasonal
o         Gogaji and Gugga, Phaag, Sawan, Teej
o    Legendary courage
o         Kissa
o    Love and romance
o        Been (including its variant Nāginī dance)
o    Ceremonial
o        Dhamal dance, Ghoomar, Jhoomar, Khoria dance, Loor dance
Karnatakao    Veeragase is performed by women. Based on Hindu mythology, it is performed during festivals primarily during the Hindu months of Shravana and Karthika.
o    Hulivesha is performed by men in the coastal region. The dancers are painted like tigers and perform like angry tigers.
o    Yakshgana, the state dance, has a number of forms which vary from region to region.
o    Dollu Kunitha is a drum dance.
o    Kolata
o    Bharatnatyam is performed in the Mysuru region.
o    Kamsale, performed by devotees of Male Madeshwara on pilgrimages to the Biligiriranga Hills, is popular throughout the state.
o    Lavani is performed in the northern border regions.
o    Buta Kola (spirit worship) is usually practiced at night.
o    Huttari, Suggi, Kunitha, Karga, Lambi
LakshadweepLava, Kolkali, Parichakali
Jammu and Kashmiro    Kud Dance, Chajja Dance, Crow Dance, Dogri Bhangra
o    Dumhal is a ceremonial dance performed by men of the Wattal tribe
o    Rauf, Hikat, Mandjas, Damali
Jharkhando    Jhumar is a popular dance, performed during the harvest season and its festival.
o    Mardana Jhumair, a Nagpuri dance, is primarily performed by men.
o    Janani Jhumair is a Nagpuri dance mainly performed by women.
o    Domkach is a dance performed during a marriage ceremony by the bride and groom’s family.
o    Lahasua is performed by men and women, accompanied by a dhol.
o    Fagua is performed during the festival of Holi.
o    Paika is a martial dance.
o    Chhau dance is a semi-classical Indian dance with folk traditions which originated in the eastern states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha. It has three styles, named for the locations where they are performed: Purulia Chau in Bengal, Seraikella Chau in Jharkhand, and Mayurbhanj Chau in Odisha.
o    Alkap, Karma Munda, Agni, Sarhul, Barao, Jhitka, Danga, Domkach, Ghora Naach.
Keralao    Duffmuttu is performed by the Muslim community. Originated by the Arabs, it is accompanied by Arabic music. The name Duffmuttu is attributed to a drum known as a daff or tap.
o    Margamkali is performed by the state’s Syrian Christians, primarily by women during marriage ceremonies.
o    Oppana, another Muslim dance, is usually a bridal group dance performed the day before the wedding and is particularly popular on the Malabar Coast. Young female relatives of the bride sing and dance around her, clapping their hands.
o    Padayani (or Padeni) is associated with temple festivals in southern Kerala. Although the word means “military formations” or “rows of soldiers”, the dance has a series of masked divine and semi-divine impersonations (kolams) with colours and designs painted on areca nut fronds. The most important kolams in a Padayani dance are Bhairavi (Kali), Kalan (god of death), Yakshi (fairy), and Pakshi (bird).
o    Theyyam is a form of ritual dance worship. Theyyam is derived from the Malayalam Daivam (god), and the dance is part of ritual, music, painting, sculpture, and literature. It is performed to worship the goddess Kali, often by men from the scheduled castes and tribes who have inherited the right to perform it.
o    Thirayattam, performed in northern Kerala, is part of theatre, music, satire, face and body painting, masking, martial art, and ritual. It is performed in South Malabar’s kaavukal (sacred groves) and village shrines.
o    Thitambu Nritham is primarily performed by the Nambudiris of northern Kerala.
o    Ottan Thullal (“to jump about playfully”) emerged during the 18th century and is a solo performance combining dance and recitation of tales from the Puranas in verse.
o    Mohiniattam classical dance-The repertoire of Mohiniyattam includes music in the Carnatic style, singing and acting a play through the dance, where the recitation may be either by a separate vocalist or the dancer herself
Madhya Pradesho    Grida dance – Performed when the rabi crops are in bloom, the dance continues from morning to evening by village groups. 
o    The Matki dance is performed in the Malwa region, primarily for weddings.
o    The Phulpati dance is performed by semi-rural, unmarried women in celebration of nature
o    Tertali is a ritual dance performed by the Kamar tribe.
o    Jawara, Aada, Khada Nach, Selalarki, Selabhadoni, Maanch.
Maharashtrao    Pavri Nach (or Tarpha Nach) is a Kokna tribal dance performed in the hills of north-western Maharashtra, accompanied by the tarpha or pavri: a wind instrument
o    Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance which is performed to the dholki drum.
o    Nakata, Koli, Lezim, Gafa, Dahikala Dasavtar or Bohada.
Manipuro       Thougal Jagoi is the traditional folk dance of the Meitei community performed during the Lai Haraoba festival before the deities. It is also known as Khamba Thoibi Jagoi. A variant of Thougal Jagoi, performed only by women dancers, is known as Leima Jagoi. The dance uses traditional musical instruments like pena and laangden (traditional drum).
o       Yelhou Jagoi includes all the dances performed during the Lai Haraoba festival, mainly by the Maibis.
o       Luivat Pheizak is one of most popular dances of the Tangkhul Naga community of Manipur.
o       Shim Laam is the traditional folk dance of Rongmei community. It is popularly known as the fly dance.
o       Thabal Chongba (dancing by moonlight) is a Manipuri folk dance traditionally performed during the festival of Yaoshang in India
Meghalaya·     o   Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Nongkrem, Laho
Mizoramo   Cheraw Dance, Khuallam, Chailam, Sawlakin, Chawnglaizawn, Zangtalam, Par Lam, Sarlamkai/Solakia, Tlanglam
Nagalando   Chang Lo (also known as Sua Lua) is performed by the Chang Naga of Nagaland, originally to celebrate victory in war.
o   Rangma, Bamboo Dance, Zeliang, Nsuirolians, Gethinglim, Temangnetin, Hetaleulee.
Odishao    Odissi (Classical)
o    Laudi Khela, traditionally performed by young Gopal men during the Dola festival
o    Bagha Nacha, a tiger dance, is performed during festivals. 
o    Ghumra dance, originally performed during wars to encourage soldiers
o    The Sambalpuri karma dance is performed during the harvest festival
o    Jhumair is performed in northern and western Odisha during festivals and the harvest season
o    Keisabadi, performed by men, is based on the story of Radha and Krishna
o    Savari, Ghumara, Painka, Munari, Chhau.
Punjabo    Bhangra, Giddha danced by women in colorful costumes, Kikkli is performed by two colorfully-dressed girls
o    Daff, Dhaman, Bhand, Naqual
Rajasthano    Ghoomar is a traditional women’s dance
o    The Kalbelia dance is performed by women in black, swirling skirts  accompanied by male snake charmers playing beens
o    The Kachchhi Ghodi dance is primarily performed in the Shekhawati region of north-eastern
o    Chakri, Ganagor, Jhulan Leela, Jhuma, Suisini, Ghapal
Sikkimo    Maruni, also popular in Nepal, Darjeeling, Assam, Bhutan and Myanmar, is accompanied by musicians playing the Naumati Baja
o    Chu Faat Dance, Sikmari, Singhi Chaam or the Snow Lion Dance, Yak Chaam, Denzong Gnenha, Tashi Yangku Dance, Khukuri Naach, Chutkey Naach, Maruni Dance.
TamilNaduo    Bharatanatyam Classical
o    Parai Attam is a Tamil dance which is accompanied by a parai drum
o    Kummi, one of Tamil Nadu’s oldest folk dances, is accompanied by hand-clapping rather than musical instruments
o    Karakattam is danced to praise Mariamman, the Hindu rain goddess.
o    Mayilattam, or the peacock dance, is performed by girls dressed as peacocks at village festivals.
o    Although Oyilattam (dance of beauty) was traditionally performed by men, women have also begun dancing. 
o    Puliyattam is a tiger dance in which young men paint their bodies and costume themselves as tigers, dancing to drums.
o    Poikal attam is known as the false-leg dance.
o    Bommalattams (puppet shows) are held in every village during festivals and fairs.
o    Theru Koothu is normally performed by men in an intersection during village festivals in the months of Panguni and Aadi.
TelanganaPerini Shivatandavam or Perini Thandavam is an ancient dance
TripuraHojagiri is danced by the Tripuri reang(Bru) clan
Uttar PradeshNautanki, Raslila, Kajri, Jhora, Chappeli, Jaita
West Bengalo    Gambhira originated among the Hindu community of Malda,
o    Alkap is popular in rural Bengal, especially in Rajshahi, Murshidabad and Malda district and Jharkhand’s Rajmahal hills.
o    Domni, performed in Malda district, begins with prayers. Its dances are known as nachari or lachari.
o    Dhunuchi nritya is danced during the Durga Puja at Dussehra.

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Read Also: All About Classical Dance Of India

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