The Demon (Rakshasa) dance or Chhambha
These dances from the Kinnaur area are reminiscent of the pre-historic
period. The Kinnaur folk are compared to playful deer. This dance form
is performed with demon masks numbering three, five, seven or nine. It
depicts the attack of the demons on the crops and their ritual chasing
away by the forces of good.
'Chhambha' is similar to the Punjabi dance Bhangra. Dressed
in their demon costumes and masks, the dancers look quite awesome. These
dances are arranged in areas which have a dense population. During local
festivals like Chaitol and Bishu, community dancing can be seen. In these
men and women hold hands and dance. The leader is known as 'Ghure' and
the rest follow in his footsteps. In some areas men and women dance separately.