Tag Archives: dances of bundelkhand


Over the centuries, a rich and diverse tradition of song and dance emerged across the Bundelkhand region. On the International Dance day today, let us introduce you to the various lively dance forms of Bundelkhand.

Several local cults exist in this region independent of mainstream Hindu religious tradition. Bundeli Culture has many dimensions in the form of Folk Dances, Folk Songs, Folk Arts, Musical Instruments and many Festivals and celebrations giving opportunity to artists to demonstrate their performance. Few of the features of Bundelkhandi Dances are mentioned below.

1. Diwari : This dance in Bundelkhand is performed every year during the festival of light Diwali/Deepawali in the end of October or first week of November according to lunar calendar. In this connection the epic story goes that “in Gokul” when Lord Krishna raised Goverdhan Parvat on his finger to save the local people, they danced in joy. The dancers wear multi-coloured apparels and the chief dancer holds the peacock feathers in his hands and the rest stick those feathers in their half pants. The main instruments used in this dance are ‘Dholak’ and ‘Nagaria’ (both being a form of drums). The male dancers with long sticks show the marshal arts when the beats of drums inspire their energy and emotions. This dance is also performed as a ‘thanks giving’ after harvesting.


2. Ravala : Ravala dance in Bundelkhand is basically a dance drama. The farm labour community of Bundelkhand performs Ravala during marriages. It is performed with very funny expressions and humorous dialogues. The audiences are entertained by these expressions of dance and the dialogues of drama.

3. Badhaiya : Badhaiya is a ceremonial dance. It is performed on child birth, marriages or any other get together to celebrate happiness and joy. The collective moments of dancers show the unique expressions of their faces. With rhythm and movements they greet for the occasion.


4. Raai : Through the centuries Raai has been the folk dance which has touched its peak as a classical dance. Later, Raai degenerated its aesthetical value and lost its classical expression. Today it remains simply as a folk dance. Raai means a mustard seed. When a mustard seed is thrown into a saucer, the seed starts to swings around. This way mustard seed moves in the saucer, the dancers also swings and when the singers sing the lyrics of the song the dancers follow the beats with foot steps. It is a duet and the competition is between the beats of the drum and foot steps of the dancer. The drummer and the dancer try to win each other and this competition leads towards the bliss.


5. Horse Dance: It is a ceremonial dance performed by a trained horse with the loud beats of heave drums called Rabbi. With graceful movements, the horse follows beats of the drum with its four steps and the horse rider performs the gymnastics gestures. Typically horse dance follows the ceremonial marriage processions.


6. Pahunai : This song and dance is performed to welcome the guests in particular.


Photo Courtesy Mr. Yogesh Sarkar

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culture of India

Indian culture is one of the oldest cultures of the world, drawing its roots around 5000 years ago. The culture of India has been described as “Sa Prathma Sanskrati Vishvavara” meaning that Indian culture holds preeminence over all the other cultures of the world. Diversity of food, languages, religion and yet that unbeatable unanimity makes India to set an impeccable example when it comes to cultures.

Over the centuries, Bundelkand has emerged as a powerful culture. Rich and diverse songs, dances, art have flourished a lot across the Bundelkhand region. And today, we are going to take you on a ride of the dances, songs and art of this incredible region. Let’s check out the popular dances of Bundelkhand:

Diwari: This dance is performed particularly during the time of Deepawali. The story behind this majestic dance is lord Krishna raised “Govardhan Parvat” to save the lives of people and later he danced in joy. The dancers also dance in a similar way wearing colorful costumes holding sticks or peacock feathers in hand. The dance is also performed as a ‘thanks giving’ after harvesting of the crops. Popular instruments of this dance are ‘dholak’ and ‘nagari’.

Ravala: it is a popular dance drama of this region. The farm labor community performs this dance during the weddings in their families. It is performed with funny expressions and humorous actions.

Badhaiya: It is a popular ceremonial dance that is performed during auspicious ceremonies in the families of Bundelkhanda like child birth, marriages etc.. With rhythm and movements, they greet for the occasion.


Raai: it is basically a folk dance of Bundelkhand region. Raai means mustard seeds. When mustard seeds are put in  a saucer they swing. Similarly, natives of the region also swing around when singer sings tales and songs. It is sort of a competition between the beats of music and the dancers. The drummer and the dancer try to win each other and the competition leads to a bliss.

Similar popular dances include Pahunai, Horse dance, Kachhiaayi.


The reigon of Bundelkhand has got many popular folk songs as well. Some of the very popular folk songs are:

Faag: Faag songs and its rhythmic music could be heard in the whole Bundelkhand region during spring season when the crops are ready for harvesting. Phag was enriched in the early twentieth century by a folk poet Isuri (born 1881, in Mauranipur, Jhansi) who is credited to have composed over a thousand Faags.

Alha: When farmers are free from their agricultural jobs during heavy monsoon and they cannot move anywhere, sitting at one place Alha recital makes their emotions awake through the description of heroic deeds of  Alha and Udal, who fought on the side of the Chandelas in the war against Prithiviraj Chauhan.. The Alha repertoire of lyrics has been continuously enriched by different authors at different times.

Dadre and Gari: This is the main folk lore of Bundelkhand. As a ‘Gari’ they show the happiness and joy to express their feeling for the blissful movement when the auspicious marriage is taking place. They evoke the feelings in the heart of bride and groom with love and romance. ‘Dadre’ is sung by a group of ladies to bless the newlywed couple.

Lamtera (call of god): Lamtera songs are sung by Bundeli pilgrims during devotional festivals of Bundelkhand in the month of January, February and March after rabi crop in winter blossoms. Farmers after seeing their crops flowering, their hearts and minds also bloom like a flower. To show their gratitude to the God, the devotees offer the flowers of their emotions to the lotus feet of the God. They realize that the whole year passed in day to day life, and with the feeling of spring season they want to get blessed by going to the pilgrimage places, temples and to take the holy bath in the rivers.

Similar popular folk music includes Kaharwa, Sohar, Got, Ahri etc. Both, dance and music are accompanied by the melodious instruments dholak, nagadiya, pakhawaj. Besides these wind instruments flute, shahnai are used.

Many folk arts have evolved around regional festivals, such as ‘Navami’ drawings and designs made on the occasion of Kajri Navami in the monsoons.  The drawings are made with a solution of pounded rice on floor cleaned with cattle dung, in a dark room of the house in which women place cups made of leaves containing mud from a particular field. Seedlings of wheat or barley are grown in the cups and worshipped for 15 days. Only then are sowing operations commenced.

Bundelkhand, despite of being a small region in Madhya Pradesh matches to the standards of Indian culture and has set an impeccable example in terms of art and culture.



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