Indian Folk Dance Forms

Dumhal is a dance performed by the menfolk of the Wattal tribe of Kashmir on specific occasions. The performers wear long colourful robes, tall conical caps which are studded with beads and shells. The party moves in a procession carrying a banner in a very ceremonial fashion. It is dug into the ground and the men begin to dance, forming a circle. The musical accompaniment comprises a drum and the vocal singing of the participants. Dumhal is performed on set occasions and at set locations.

Hikat, danced by women, is a modification of a game played by children. Forming pairs, the participants extend their arms to the front gripping each other's wrists and with the body inclined back, go round and round at the same spot.

With wide range and variety of the ethnic groups, Himachal Pradesh is blessed with natural beauty and artistic history. People living in this natural beauty, adorn themselves for the dance at all times of the year, in all regions, and continue to express themselves through music and dance.

In the Kulu valley, the festival of Dussehra is celebrated with great pomp and show. Images of Raghunathji are brought from the different shrines to a central place, and then there is singing and dancing. Dances of the region are collectively known as Natio, though each may be meant for a different purpose. No festive occasion, including wedding and similar social ceremonies, is complete without dancing.

All regions of Himachal Pradesh have their own dances. Mostly men and women dance together, close to each other in the formation.

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