Rajasthan State Exam Study Notes: Folk Dance, Folk Music, Music Instruments

By Abhishek Jain |Updated : March 17th, 2022

Folk dance, folk music, and musical instrument are some of the important topics of Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS), SI, Patwari, etc exams. This topic is frequently asked and carry marks around 8 to 16 marks. These topics should not be missed at all. In this topic, we will discuss all the major points from the topic. Read it thoroughly. 

 Folk Dance, Folk Music, Music Instruments

Folk Dance of Rajasthan

  1. Ghoomar Dance
  • It is traditional as well as enthusiastic folk dance.
  • Women from any age group perform this dance as it has simple movement. Fascination starts when colours of the flowing ‘Ghaghra’, the long skirt of Rajasthani women flows during pirouetting.
  • It was basically developed by Bhil tribe and later accepted by other Rajasthani community.
  • The Kachhwaha Clan of Rajputs who ruled Jaipur defeated the Bhils and later acceded to peaceful coexistence with them.
  • Now it is performed all over Rajasthan but especially in Udaipur, Jodhpur and Kota-Bundi.
  • It is dedicated to “Gauri” or Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva.
  1. Kalbelia Dance
  • It is also known by ‘Sapera Dance’ or ‘Snake Charmer Dance’.
  • It is performed by Kalbelia tribe (Nomad Tribe) of Rajasthan known to have the main occupation of catching snake and trading snake’s venom.
  • Males play various instruments like Poongi, Dufli, Morchang, Dholak, Khanjari and Khuralio and females perform the dance.
  • The main performers are female dancers who dance and swirl, replicating the movements of a serpent.
  • On the upper body, the female dancers wear ‘Angrakhi’ and on the head, they wear Odhani. 
  • Due to its popularity, it was included in the UNESCO’s representatives list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity from the year 2010.
  1. Bhavai Dance
  • It is a very difficult form of dance performed by skilled experts. In this dance, women dancers balance 8 to 9 pitchers on their heads and dance simultaneously and sway with the soles of their feet perched on the top of a glass and also some time on the edge of a naked sword.
  • This dance is believed to be originated in Gujarat and was soon picked up and adopted by the local tribal men and women of Rajasthan.
  • This is basically performed by the women’s of the Jat, Bhil, Raigar, Meena, Kumhar, and Kalbelia communities of Rajasthan.
  • Main instruments: - dholak, jhanjhar, pakhwaja, sarangi and harmonium (played in background music).
  • The government is taking all necessary measures to revive this fast dying tradition of folk dance.
  1. Kathputli Dance
  • This dance is world-famous and well known as Puppet Dance.
  • It shows and explains the social problems of society and mythological stories, folktales, etc.
  • In the ancient period this art was practised by Bhati community and might have originated from present-day Nagaur and surrounding areas.
  • Puppeteer shows his skill with strings like swordsmanship, dancing, horse riding, juggling, and acrobatics. 
  1. Terah Taali
  • It begins with the women, who sit on the floor and her body parts are joined with the Manjeeras which are fixed on their wrists, elbows, waists, arms and a pair in their hands as well and her accompanists sing slowly in the beat.
  • Dancers perform various arabesques with their hands and at the same time may also balance pots on their hands and hold a sword in their mouth, for making the performance more attractive.
  • This dance is performed by the Kamada tribes who are traditional snake charmers and it is also performed by the tribes of Mirasi, Bhand, Dholi, Bhat and Nat.
  • Male artists sing local Rajasthani folk songs as background music and play different instruments like pakhawaj, dholak jhanjhar, sarangi, harmonium etc.
  1. Drum Dance
  • It is a professional dance form of Jhalore region of Rajasthan, where only the men participants can perform.
  • To make the background music more pleasant other percussion instruments are used.
  • As the tempo increases, the movement of the dancers increases as well which look so attractive.
  • This dance can be performed on any occasion.
  1. Kathak
  • Kathak name is derived from the word Katha which means ‘story’ which is based on epics, myths and legends.
  • So kathak is basically an art of telling the story with beautiful body movements.
  • The background classical music play with tabla, sarangi, and sitar etc.
  • It was developed by Jaipur Gharana, a well known Gharana of India.
  • Earlier kathak was performed in temples in praise of Lord but nowadays it is performed for entertainment purpose.
  • There are mainly two techniques; Nrittya which means pure dance (foot movements) and Abhinaya mean expressions.
  • In Nrittya, Dancer mainly focuses on foot movements whereas, in Abhinaya, dancers focus on facial expressions.
  1. Chakri Dance
  • Chakri means Chakkar (Circle).
  • It is the most popular folk dance of Kanjar tribe inhabited in some parts of Kota and Buran district and this dance is also their main source of livelihood.
  • It is performed in almost all the occasion of Haroti region of Rajasthan.
  • It is believed to be as same as the Raai dance of ‘Beriya’ tribe of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Main Instruments:- Dholak and Nagada with vocals
  1. Fire Dance
  • It is performed by the Banjara community which describes the lifestyle of Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu districts of Rajasthan.
  • It is performed on a large ground, spread with live wood and charcoal.
  • Dancers perform dangerous stunt moves with fire as they are blessed with divine powers.
  • A dancer usually takes two flamed sticks in his hands and fills up his mouth with kerosene oil and with dancing steps he blows the kerosene oil on the flaming stick.
  • Dhol, Dholak and Nagada are played during fire dance with increasing tempo.
  • It is performed in the desert region of Rajasthan in the nights of winter on the festive occasion.
  1. Kachhi Ghodi Dance
  • It was originated from the Bandit region of Shekhawati.
  • It is performed by men on dummy horses.
  • Men wear the red turban, Dhoti and Kurta and dance with decorated dummy horse.
  • This dance is performed to show the importance of horses from olden days in transportation as well as used in warfare. Horses were used to symbolize royal power during those days.
  • This dance depicts the encounter of the bandits of the Bavaria clan of tribes with the passing commoners.
  1. Khayal Dance
  • Khayal means ‘thoughts’.
  • It is believed to be originated from Jat community.
  • It is performed by the Bhawai tribe of Rajasthan.
  • It is the combinations of dance and drama which depict humorous and comic characters.
  • This dance is based on the theme of Hindu epics.
  1. Gair Dance
  • Famous in Bhil community of Rajasthan.
  • Both men and women dance together.
  • Men dance in a big circle with the wood stick in their hands and beat the stick as they turn on the beat of the dhol, Nagada and Dholak playing in the background.
  • It is performed during festive occasions like Holi, Janamastmi, etc.
  1. Chari Dance
  • It belongs to Gujjar community of Rajasthan and performed by only women.
  • In this dance, women carry a brass pot on head and a lighted lamp is then placed in the pot.
  • This dance is performed in the group in the night and the ignited pot looks so attractive.
  • It has no particular step except balancing pot.
  • It is also known as ‘Welcome Dance’.
  • Main ornaments wore by women during the dance are Hansli, timniya, mogri, punchi, bangdi, gajra, armlets, karli, tanka and navr.
  • Main instruments: - dhol, dholak,bankiya, harmonium, nagada and thali.
  • It is mainly performed on occasions like marriage, the birth of a male child and a big festive occasion.
  1. Gawari Dance
  • It’s a tribal dance famous in Bhil tribe.
  • It is a drama-dance which go from village to village for a month.
  • Some of the main characters of the Gawari dance are Rai Buriya Shiva, his two sons and Katkuriya, the comic handymen.
  1. Walar Dance
  • It is famous in Garasia tribe.
  • It is a prototype of the famous ghoomar dance.
  • Garasia tribe is mainly inhabited in the southern Rajasthan.
  • It is performed by women in a circular way dancing on the beats of mandal, chang and a variety of other musical instruments which provide a lively rhythm to their dance sequences.
  • Performed on the occasion of Teej festival and Gangaur.

Folk Music of Rajasthan

  • Folk Style of Singing of Rajasthan
  1. Maand
  • This style of singing developed in the district of Jaisalmer whose old name was Maand.
  • ‘Kesariya Baalam’ is the most famous song in this style.
  • Famous Singer – Allah Zillai Bai, Gavari Bai, Mangi Bai, etc.
  1. Maangniyaar
  • Developed by Maangniyaar tribe in the region of Jaisalmer and Barmer.
  • Famous Artist – Saddik khan, Saakar Khan, etc.
  1. Langa
  • Developed in the region of Jaisalmer and Barmer by Langa tribe.
  • Mainly known for their song Limbuda.
  • Main instrument – Kamayacha and Sarangi
  1. Taalbandi
  • Developed in the region of Karauli, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur by Saints.
  • Main instrument – Nagada

Folk Instruments Of Rajasthan

Sr. No

Instrument Name

Main Points



It is State Instrument of Rajasthan.

Mainly played in the regions of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Barmer, Bikaner, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur and Tonk.

It is used mostly by Bhil and Kalbeliya tribe



It’s a one-string instrument.

Mainly played by Kalbeliya, Saints, etc.



Famous in Jaisalmer and Barmer region.

It is mainly used by Muslim Sheikhs who are also called Mangniyar.



Sadik Khan is famous for playing Khadtal.

Played by devotees and Saints.



It is mainly played during Holi in Shekhawati region.

It is played by the Kalbeliya Tribe.



It is played during the Bhajans of Devnarayana.

It is mainly played in Mewar region.



It is famous in the Shekhawati region.

It is played during Kacchi Ghodi dance with Tasa.



It is mainly used in Gair dance of Bhils, Kachhi Ghodi dance and Dhol dance of Jalore.



It is a four-string instrument also called Chautara.



It is mostly played by Muslim people.



It is played during folk drama with Shehnai.

It was mainly used during wartime.



It’s a flute type instruments having two pipes.

The famous instrument of Kalbeliya and Bhil tribe.



It’s a famous instrument Mewat region.

Zahur Khan is the famous Bhapang player.



It is famous in Dungarpur region.

It is used in Terah Taali dance.



It is mainly used in Bhairu Ji’s Bhope (Male Singer)



It is played by Bhils during Gavari dance.



It is the main instrument of Male singers (bhope)

It is also called Dhaf.



There is 8 holes in the pipe of Shehnai.

Mangi Bai is the famous Shehnai player.

It is played during auspicious occasions.



It is used by Langa tribe in the region of Barmer and Jaisalmer.

Mirasi, Langa, Jogis, Mangniyaar, etc played this instrument while singing.

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