Dances of Rajasthan
¤ Ghoomar Dance
The popular ghoomar is the characteristic dance of the Bhils although
it is especially associated with the royal ladies of Jaipur, who
perform it on certain auspicious occasions. The reason for that might
be that the Bhils and the Jaipur royalty have been close for
The story goes that the Bhils were an indomitable war-like tribal
race. Apparently they made a nuisance of themselves by making areas
controlled by them dangerous for Jaipurs traders and people.
When the Kachhwahas tried to discipline them, they simply faded away
in their impregnable hills. Realizing the futility of this exercise,
the Kachhwahas sued for peace. The Bhils were exempted from paying
tribute no big deal since they were not about to pay it anyway!
to the Kachhwahas and were accepted as friends of the royalty. This
last is important since the tribals were considered low-caste people
and the royalty are kshatriyas (the warrior caste of the Indian varna
system). The Bhils were further accorded the honour that unless their
chieftain put a tilak (a vermillion mark put on the forehead on an
auspicious occasion) on his forehead, the coronation of no future
Kachhwaha king would be considered legal. Since then, by all accounts,
the Bhils have remained loyal to the side of the Kachhwahas.
¤ Dance Associated with Jaipur Royalty
The ghoomar is one of the legacies that they passed on to the Rajput
royalty. Derived from the word ghoomna (pirouette), this is a very
simple dance where the ladies, dressed in resplendent voluminous
ghagras, move smoothly and gracefully in circles. The accompanying
songs are sung alternately by both men and women, as the dancers move
both clockwise and anti-clockwise. The effect of the free play of the
folds of the ample and colourful ghagra is dazzling. If you are in
Jaipur during festival time, dont miss a ghoomar recital at the
¤ Ghoomar- A Group Dance
If you have ever seen the famous dance of Gujarat, garba, you are
halfway there to understanding how the ghoomar is danced. A dance of
women akin to the ghoomar is the panihari. The performers carry
earthen pots and dance with slick movements of the hands and feet.
Although this is essentially a group dance, sometimes performers
show-off their skill by dancing independently.
¤ Gair Ghoomar-Performed By Both Men & Women
The gair ghoomar is an offshoot of the ghoomar. Traditionally
performed only by men, the exception is Holi (the Indian festival of
colours) when both women and men dance it together. In fact, it is one
of the few dances of Rajasthan that both the sexes dance at the same
time. It involves two circles in which the women form the inner circle
and the men, the outer. If your visit to Jaipur coincides with Holi,
try to fit the gair ghoomar in your schedule. The gair ghoomar is
called dandiya gair in Jodhpur and greendad in the Shekhawati region.