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Indian folk dances,[1] which typically consist of a few simple steps, are performed throughout the world to celebrate a new season, childbirth, weddings, festivals, and other social occasions. In some Indian folk dances, men and women perform separately; in others, they dance together. On most occasions, the dancers will sing accompanied by musicians. Most folk dances have intricately-designed costumes. Although a number of structured, ancient folk and tribal dances exist, many others are evolving.

Andhra Pradesh

The Sutradhari (సూత్రధారి) is the most important actor in a Yakshagana, and plays multiple characters. Yakshaganam evolved into Harikatha, and they are considered synonymous. Their dances are similar; one person plays from excerpts from Palkuriki Somanatha, Srinatha, and others. Harikatha consists of samvaadam (సంవాదం; discussion), padyam (పద్యం; poetry), and daruvu (దరువు; rhythm). It typically begins with "భక్తజనులారా! వినండి హరికథ! వినగ వేడుక గలిగే" ("O devotees! Listen to this Harikatha and be delighted!") Those involved in Harikatha Kalakshepam (హరికథా కాలక్షేపం) are known as Harikatha Dasu (హరికథ దాసు) or Harikatha Bhagavatar (హరికథ భాగవతార్). In Andhra Pradesh, the first Harikatha artist is believed to have been Gokulapati Koormanathakavi (గోకులపాటి కూర్మనాథకవి) from the state's northern districts, who wrote and popularised the Mrityunjaya Vilaasam (మృత్యుంజయ విలాసం).[2][unreliable source?]

Arunachal Pradesh

Folk dances of Arunachal Pradesh
Dance Community
Aji Lamu Monpa
Chalo[3] Nocte
Hiirii Khaniing Apatani
Lion and peacock dance Monpa
Pasi Kongki Adi
Ponung Adi
Popir Adi
Buiya[4] Mishmi[5]
Bardo Chham



Dancers and drummers in colourful costumes
Bihu dance



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Raut Nacha is a traditional folk dance usually done by Yadavs, a caste which considers itself descendants of Krishna, as an expression of worship. Performed for Dev Udhni Ekadashi (the gods' awakening after a brief rest), it resembles Krishna's raslila. Padwani Panthi Suwa dance is also folk dance.


Samayi Nrutya


Colourfully-dressed dancers and a young boy with a bow and arrow
Timli, a Gujarati folk dance performed by Adivasi children in Kaleshwari, Mahisagar

Himachal Pradesh

Nati is the traditional dance of Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur, Kullu and Shimla districts. The dance is listed in Guinness World Records as having "the greatest number of people attending and participating in a Nati dance lesson at a single venue".[18][19][20]


Dances in Haryana include:[21][22]


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Jammu and Kashmir

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The Jammu and Kashmir region is blessed with natural and cultural beauty. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has many folk dances performed on different occasions.

The main folk dance performed in the Jammu region are- Kud Dance, Chajja Dance, Crow Dance, Dogri Bhangra etc.

Dumhal is a ceremonial dance performed by men of the Wattal tribe. Dancers wear long, colourful robes and tall, conical caps studded with beads and shells. They move in a procession, carrying a banner. The banner is buried and the men dance, forming a circle, accompanied by singing and a drum.



Two colourfully-dressed dancers with spears, masks and headdresses
Thirayattam dancers

Madhya Pradesh

A costumed woman balancing pots on her head on stage
Matki dancer at Jal Mahotsav 2016


[34] In Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh, it is performed by women wearing nine-yard-long saris.[35] The songs are sung at a quick tempo.[35]


Chang Lo (also known as Sua Lua) is performed by the Chang Naga of Nagaland, originally to celebrate victory in war. It is presently a part of community celebrations, such as Poanglem, a three-day festival preceding the harvest. Costumes include the traditional Naga warrior and female finery.[36]


Main article: Folk dance forms of Odisha

Laudi Khela

Laudi Khela, traditionally performed by young Gopal men during the Dola festival, has been waning in popularity.[37]

Bagha Nacha

Bagha Nacha, a tiger dance, is performed during festivals. Male dancers paint their skin with yellow and black stripes, like a tiger, and attach a tail.[38]


Ghumra dance, originally performed during wars to encourage soldiers, is accompanied by a drum and is popular in Kalahandi district.

Karma dance

The Sambalpuri karma dance is performed during the harvest festival of Karma in the month of Bhadra.[39]


Jhumar is performed in northern and western Odisha during festivals and the harvest season.[39]


Keisabadi, performed by men, is based on the story of Radha and Krishna and accompanied by singing in Sambalpuri.


Garadi, a well-known dance in Puducherry, is performed at festivals. Its origin is a product of mythology; when Rama (hero of the epic Ramayana) defeated Ravana, the vanars (monkeys) danced to celebrate his victory. Garadi is usually performed for five to eight hours. Dancers wear vanar masks, carry sticks and wear ten chiming anjali (iron rings) as they dance, accompanied by singing and two large ramadolu drums.[40]



Bhangra is one of Punjab's most popular dances, and has become part of Asian culture. Originally associated with Sikh farmers celebrating the harvest and accompanied by a dhol, bhangra is now danced at any celebration with a variety of instruments; a number of regional variations exist.[41]


Giddha, danced by women in colourful costumes, is derived from ring dancing and includes the singing of couplets (known as bolliyan) in Punjabi.[42] Malwai Giddha is danced by men in Malwa.


Kikkli is performed by two colourfully-dressed girls who hold crossed hands and twirl each other in a circle (balancing their positions), accompanied by folk songs.[43]



Ghoomar is a traditional women's dance in Rajasthan and Haryana. It is performed by groups of women in swirling skirts, accompanied by men and women singing. The dance gets its name from ghoomna, the spinning which displays the colourful, flowing ghaghara (the long Rajasthani skirt).[44] ghoomer dance '


The Kalbelia dance is performed by women in black, swirling skirts (as snakes), accompanied by male snake charmers playing beens and other instruments. The Kalbelia folk songs and dances were added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.[45]

Kachchhi Ghodi

The Kachchhi Ghodi dance is primarily performed in the Shekhawati region of north-eastern Rajasthan. The costumed horse and bandit dancers have mock fights while a singer narrates tales of local bandits. It is performed during weddings and other social occasions.[46]


Suisini is a dance from Rajasthan originating from mediaeval India, in recent times it has almost disappeared.


Maruni, also popular in Nepal, Darjeeling, Assam, Bhutan and Myanmar, is accompanied by musicians playing the Naumati Baja.[47] There are so many other dances like Ghantu dance,chu fauat,sikmari,Denzongcnenha, Khukhuri naach,chutkeynaach.

Tamil Nadu

Parai Attam or Thappattam

Smiling, costumed man with a drum
Traditional parai attam performer

Parai Attam is a Tamil dance which is accompanied by a parai drum.[48]


Kummi, one of Tamil Nadu's oldest folk dances, is accompanied by hand-clapping rather than musical instruments. Women form a circle and dance; one sings, with the other dancers taking turns. A number of varieties exist. Kummi is danced at festivals and other special occasions.[49]


Karakattam is danced to praise Mariamman, the Hindu rain goddess. Dancers balance pots of water on their heads. There are two types of Karakattam. Aatta Karagam is danced with decorated pots on the dancers' heads and symbolises joy and happiness; Sakthi Karagam is danced in temples to praise Mariamman. Drums, singing and pipe instruments accompany the dancers.[50]


Mayilattam, or the peacock dance, is performed by girls dressed as peacocks at village festivals. Similar dances are Kaalai Attam (bull dance), Karadi Attam (bear dance), and Aali Aattam (demon dance) which are performed in the villages during village get-togethers. Vedala Aattam is danced in a demon mask.[51]

Snake dance

Snakes are viewed as protectors. The snake dance is performed by girls dressed in a costume designed like a snake-skin. The dancers move like a snake, making quick biting movements with their head and hands; raised hands, held together, resemble the head of a snake.[51]


Although Oyilattam (dance of beauty) was traditionally performed by men, women have also begun dancing. Participants wearing ankle bells dance in a row, with musical accompaniment; the row lengthens as dancers join in. Oyilattam is most popular in the southern districts and the Kongu Nadu region, and the dance has a variety of styles.[51]


Puliyattam is a tiger dance in which young men paint their bodies and costume themselves as tigers, dancing to drums. The dancers sometimes pretend to capture a goat. A popular dance, Puliyattam is performed during temple festivals.[51]

Poikal Kudirai Attam

Poikal attam is known as the false-leg dance. Dancers are attached to a dummy horse at the waist, with the dancer's two legs and their body prop resembling a rider on a horse. The dance illustrates stories from popular folklore.[52]


Bommalattams (puppet shows) are held in every village during festivals and fairs. Many kinds of puppets (such as cloth, wood, and leather), and they are manipulated with strings or wires. The puppeteers stand behind a screen, and the puppets are in front; the stories are from the puranas, epics, and folklore.[53]

Theru Koothu

Theru Koothu is normally performed by men in an intersection during village festivals in the months of Panguni and Aadi. The performance consists of story-telling, dialogues, songs, and dance. Its stories are taken from the puranas, epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and local folklore. The play begins in the late evening, and lasts for several hours. Theru Koothu is popular in northern Tamil Nadu.[54]


Perini Shivatandavam or Perini Thandavam is an ancient dance form which has been recently revived.[55]


Hojagiri is danced by the Tripuri reang(Bru) clan in Tripura. Four to eight women dance acrobatically, while men provide most of the music; the women sing in chorus. The dancers twist and turn, sometimes dancing on an earthen pitcher or balancing a bottle on their heads with a lighted lamp on it.[56]

Sangraing Dance is dance by the Mog community clan in Tripura. many boys and girls dance together and signging together.

Uttar Pradesh

The Raslila, danced in North India (primarily Uttar Pradesh), is based on the life of Krishna. Individuals and groups dance, accompanied by singing, chants and instruments. The audience claps and sings along, and the length of each performance varies.[57]

West Bengal

State Wise List Of Indian Folk Dance

SL No.

State Name[edit]

Folk dance[edit]

Classical Dance[edit]


Himachal Pradesh

Kinnauri, Thoda, Jhora, Jhali, Chharhi, Dhaman, Chhapeli, Mahasu, Dangi, Chamba, Thali, Jhainta, Daf, Stick dance .



Chappeli, Gadhwali, Kumayuni, Kajari, Jhora, Raslila etc.



Bhangra, Giddha, Daff, Dhaman, Bhand, Naqual.




Jhumar, Phag Dance, Daph, Dhamal, Loor, Gugga, Khor, Gagor .


Uttar Pradesh


Nautanki, Raslila, Kajri, Jhora, Chappeli, Jaita.




Ghoomar, Suisini, kalbeliya, Chakri, Ganagor, Jhulan Leela, Jhuma, Suisini, Ghapal, Panihari, Ginad etc.



Garba, Dandiya Ras, Bhavai, Tippani Juriun, Bhavai.



Lavani, Nakata, Koli, Lezim, Gafa, Dahikala Dasavtar or Bohada, Tamasha, Mauni, Powara, Gouricha .


Madhya Pradesh

Tertali, Maanch, Matki, Gaur Maria, Ahirai, Bhadam, Aada, Khada Nach, Phulpati, Grida Dance, Selalarki, Selabhadoni, Jawara etc.



Gaur Maria, Panthi, Raut Nacha, Pandwani, Vedamati, Kapalik, Chandaini, Bharthari Charit,

Goudi, Karma, Jhumar, Dagla, Pali, Tapali, Navrani, Diwari, Mundari, Jhumar.



Karma, Agni, Jhumar, Janani Jhumar, Mardana Jhumar, Paika, Phagua, Chhanu, Sarahul, Jat-Jatin, Karma, Danga, Bidesia, Sohrai, Hunta Dance, Mundari Dance, Sarhul, Barao, Jhitka, Danga, Domkach, Ghora Naach.




Jata-Jatin, Bakho-Bakhain, Panwariya, Sama-Chakwa, Bidesia, Jatra .


West Bengal

Purulia Chhau, Alkap, Kathi, Gambhira, Dhali, Jatra, Baul, Marasia, Mahal, Keertan,Santhali Dance, Mundari dance, Gambhira, Gajan, Chaibari Nritya




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

Khukuri Naach,  Chutkey Naach, Maruni Dance.



Laho, Baala, Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Nongkrem,



Bihu, Bichhua, Natpuja, Maharas, Kaligopal, Bagurumba, Naga dance, Khel Gopal.

Tabal Chongli, Canoe, Jhumura Hobjanai etc.



Arunachal Pradesh

Chham, Mask dance (Mukhauta Nritya), War dance.

Buiya, Chalo, Wancho, Pasi Kongki, Ponung, Popir, Bardo .



Chong, Khaiva, Lim, Nuralim,

Bamboo Dance, Temangnetin, Hetaleulee.Rangma, Zeliang, Nsuirolians, Gethinglim



Thang Ta, Lai Haraoba, Pung Cholom,  Rakhal, Nat Rash, Maha Rash, Raukhat, Dol Cholam,  Khamba Thaibi,  Nupa Dance, Raslila, Khubak Ishei, Lhou Sha.




Cheraw Dance, Khuallam, Chailam, Sawlakin, Chawnglaizawn, Zangtalam, Par Lam, Sarlamkai/ Solakia, Tlanglam, Khanatm, Pakhupila, Cherokan






Ghumara, Ranappa,Savari, Ghumara, Painka, Munari, Chhau, Chadya Dandanata, Savari, Painka, Munari

Odissi, Chhau


Andra Pradesh

Ghantamardala, (Ottam Thedal, Mohiniattam, Kummi, Siddhi, Madhuri, Chhadi. Vilasini Natyam, Bhamakalpam, Veeranatyam, Dappu, Tappeta Gullu, Lambadi, Dhimsa, Kolattam. Butta Bommalu.




Yakshagana, Huttari, Suggi, Kunitha, Karga, Lambi



Fugdi, Dhalo, Kunbi, Dhangar, Mandi, Jhagor, Khol, Dakni, Tarangamel, Shigmo, Ghode, Modni, Samayi nrutya, Jagar, Ranmale, amayi nrutya, Tonnya mell.
26. Telangana Perini Shivatandavam, Keisabadi



Ottam Thulal, Kaikottikali, Tappatikali, Kali Auttam.

Kathakali, Mohiniyattam


Tamil Nadu

Karagam, Kumi, Kolattam, Kavadi, Dappankuthu


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