Sunday, February 25, 2024
Himachal Pradesh



Keekali and Bhangra

Dance of Kangra

The Keekali (Kikli) dance is a dance of young girls and is danced playfully in twos. The girls hold hands crosswise and rotate fast on their toes, singing songs.

The Bhangra is a male dance which originated in Punjab and is popular in the Kangra, Himirpur and Una areas in a fairly wild form.

Rituals such as Chandroli, Jhumakada and Googa swang also give one a glimpse into the local dance forms.

The tribal dances of the trans-Himalayan region are different in content and music. The old tradition of both song and dance in these areas has been zealously guarded against any urban influence. The districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Tehsils of Pangi and Bharmour of Chamba district constitute this zone. The inhabitants in these areas are known as Kinnauras, Lahaulas, Spitians, Pangwals and Gaddis. There are the Gujjars who are the wandering nomads. All these tribes have their own distinct traditions of folk-dances, songs, dresses and ornaments.

Besides the popular dances like Kayang, Bakayang and Banyangchu there are ritual dances performed by Lamas on certain religious ceremonies or festive occasions. One masked dance particularly features an important event in the history of Himalayan Buddhism when Lamas successfully carried out a plan of executing a cruel king Langdarma. A special occasion for masked dances is the celebration of the birth of Padma Sambhava who is held in high esteem by the Buddhists of Himalayas since it was he who carried the message of Buddhism to Tibet.

In the sword dances of Kulu, men dancers dressed in the traditional tight white trousers and tunics with bright bordered shawls and black plumed caps decorated with blue primulas and yellow jasmine. The women dancers wrapped in woolen shawls wearing their colourful headgear (Dhatu) enter the arena. Forming a circle and holding a handkerchief in the right hand men and women wave it as they move round and round in slight change and there are four steps taken with a pause in the fifth and three  more steps with the flat of the foot. Then suddenly two or three dancers come into the centre of the circle and commence dancing with brandishing swords. The dance is accompanied by dholak, Ran Singha, Karnal and small Clarionets.