Bhangra To Garba: List Of Most Popular Folk Dances From Different States In India

Traditional Dance Forms In India: What makes India a unique country – its languages, clothing, or cuisines? Well, the answer requires us to cover vast areas, but in one word we can say diversity is the identity of the country. Now talking about diversity what comes to mind is India’s various cultures.

Having said that, one of the most distinct identities of our culture is the Indian dance forms, especially the folk dance forms of different states.

Why Should We Know About Indian Dance Forms?

Not only an important aspect of the country’s art and culture, Indian dances form a subject, which is included in various competitive-level exams such as those held for selection to the Indian Administrative (IAS). The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) asked a question on Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi in the 2012 Civil Services IAS Prelims exam. In 2014, the UPSC exam paper had a question regarding the Sattriya Nritya.

Indian Folk Dance vs Indian Classical Dance

If we broadly categorise the Indian dance forms, there are mainly two types – classical and folk dance. Both are traditional forms of dancing but the main difference between them lies in their techniques and origin. The term “classical dance” describes several highly stylised dance styles that have their origins in the Sanskrit play Natyashastra, which discusses theater and drama. Folk dances meanwhile begin as rituals among the common people, are distinctive to them, and are passed down from generation to generation as society becomes more secularised.

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In this article, we are going to elaborate on the various folk dances covering different states.

List of Indian Folk Dances From Different States

Kolattam- Andhra Pradesh

In Andhra Pradesh, one of the most well-known dance narratives is “kolatam,” or the stick dance. Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu is another name for it. Kolata kim is a kind of traditional folk dance that combines songs, music, and rhythmic movements. It is typically presented during village festivals. Other folk dances of the state include- Vilasini Natyam, Bhamakalpam, Veeranatyam, Dappu, Tappeta Gullu, Lambadi, Dhimsa.

Ponung- Arunachal Pradesh

One of Arunachal Pradesh’s most well-known folk dances is Ponung. The tribe of Adi owns it. Many of this tribe’s traditional folk dances are well-known. The Adi tribe celebrates the Ponung dance as a significant religious event. Other folk dances include- Buiya, Chalo, Wancho, Pasi Kongki, and Popir.

Bihu- Assam


The most well-known folk dance in Assam is the bihu. During the Bihu celebrations, young boys and girls perform Bihu dances, which stand for joy, youthful passion, and the desire to procreate. Bichhua, Natpuja, Maharas, Kaligopal, Bagurumba, Naga dance, Khel Gopal are other folk dances of the state.

Jhijhiya- Bihar

Jhijhiya is a well-known Bihari folk dance that is performed in the mythological town of Mithila. Others include- Jata-Jatin, Bakho-Bakhain, Panwariya.

Chhattisgarh Folk Dances

The folk dances of Chhattisgarh include the following: Gendi, Kaksar, Cherchera, Suwa, Saila, Raut Nacha, Karma, and Khada Nacha. Various tribal communities perform these dances at festivals and celebrations, and they are a reflection of the rich cultural legacy of the area.

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Garba- Gujarat

During the Hindu festival of Navaratri, Gujarat people perform the ritualistic and devotional dance known as garba. The dancers use basic movements to move in a counterclockwise circle around the centre, clapping their hands in unison and singing.

Goan Folk Dances

Goan folk dances that are most popular are dhalo and fugdi. One tribal folk dance is the Kunbi. During the Shigmo festival, women perform the lamp dance while holding lamps above their heads. Another traditional folk dance performed during Shigmo by the underprivileged community is morulem.

Folk Dances Of Haryana

Haryana has three main folk dances: Khoria, Phag, and Dhamaal. These folk dances serve as preserves for customs that have been passed down through the ages. Khoria dance is performed entirely by females at weddings. Phag is a mixed dance performed by both men and women during the mellow month of Phalguna.

Himachal Folk Dances

The most popular folk dances of Himachal are Rakshasa, Kayang, Bakayang, the Bnayangchu, the Jataru, Kayang, Chohara, Shand and Shabu, Lang-dar-ma, Nati, Jhanjhar, Jhoor, Gi and Rasa.

Rouf Dance- Jammu And Kashmir

‘Rouf’ is a well-known dance form throughout Jammu and Kashmir, pronounced ‘ruf’ in villages and ‘row’ in cities. It is a spring-themed dance that has long been a part of Kashmiri culture.

Jharkhand Folk Dances

Jharkhand’s folk dances represent the state’s vibrant culture and traditions. Jharkhand has a variety of folk dances that are performed during the harvest season, festivals, and social gatherings. In Jharkhand, folk and tribal dances include Jhumair, Mardana Jhumair, Janani Jhumair, Domkach, Lahasua, Jhumta, Fagua, Paika, Chhau, Firkal, Mundari, and Santali.

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Yakshagana- Karnataka

Yakshagana, or the “song of Yaksha,” is the most popular dance forms in Karnataka. Yakshagana first appeared in the Vijayanagara Empire’s royal courts. It has two forms. In the east, the Moodalopaya form is frequently practiced. In the West, the Puduvlopaya form is more prevalent.

Lavani- Maharashtra

Lavani is a vibrant and Maharashtra enthralling traditional dance style that is renowned for its rhythmic and vigorous moves. It combines sensuality, celebration, and social commentary distinctively. Dancers display deft and rhythmic footwork along with expressive hand gestures called “Mudras.”

Bhangra- Punjab

In Punjab, bhangra is the most well-known dance style. Originally connected to Punjab’s harvest season, this dance style is typically seen during the Baisakhi celebration.

Ghumar- Rajasthan

Ghoomar, also known as ghumar, is a traditional Rajasthani folk dance. The practice of worshiping Goddess Saraswati was originated by the Bhil tribe and later adopted by other Rajasthani communities. The majority of veiled women who dance are dressed in flowing gowns known as ghaghara.

Folk Dances Of Other States

Kerala: Ottam Thullal, Kaikottikali

Madhya Pradesh: Jawara, Matki, Aada, Khada Nach, Phulpati, Grida Dance, Selalarki, Selabhadoni

Manipur: Dol Cholam, Thang Ta, Lai Haraoba, Pung Cholom

Meghalaya: Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Nongkrem, Laho

Mizoram: Cheraw Dance, Khuallam, Chailam, Sawlakin, Chawnglaizawn, Zangtalam

Nagaland: Rangma, Zeliang, Nsuirolians, Gethinglim

Odisha: Savari, Ghumara, Painka, Munari

Sikkim: Chu Faat, Sikmari, Singhi Chaam or the Snow Lion, Yak Chaam, Denzong Gnenha, Tashi Yangku

Tamil Nadu: Kumi, Kolattam, Kavadi

Tripura: Hojagiri

Uttar Pradesh: Nautanki, Raslila, Kajri, Jhora, Chappeli

Uttarakhand: Garhwali, Kumayuni, Kajari, Jhora, Raslila

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