Dekhni Dance – Captivating Performances from Goa’s Cultural Heritage

Dekhni Dance

Dekhni dance is one of the oldest dance types in the province. It means beauty in Konkani. Dekhni is a semi-classical form of Goan dance. Also pronounced as Dekni or Dekni. Dekhni presents an attractive blend of Indian melody and Western rhythm. The Dekhni dance can be associated with the people who converted to Christianity from Hinduism during Portuguese rule. This dance kind may be witnessed anyplace in the province. It is a dance combined with graceful movements and peaceful medicine. The dance begins with one lady starting to dance and others joining in as the dance continues.

History of Dekhni Dance

Hanv Saiba Poltodi Vetam is one of the most famous Dekni dance songs. It was written by Carlos Eugenio Ferreira. This song was 1st printed in 1895 in Paris then in the province in 1926. This song is about a dancer who wanted to cross a river but the boatman refused to take her as the river was very rough that day.

This dance is believed to have its origin in the Devadasi system of the Goans as they follow the Devadasi system. According to this system, some girls devote their existence to the service of God. Moreover, they do not marry or have their own households. They perform in temples and before God, so this dance has been around for a long time.

At this, the woman offered him her golden earrings, but the boatman still refused to accept her request. The dancer then dances to please the boatman, whereupon the boatman agrees to take her across. Rishi Kapoor’s song in Officer, sodium Mangu Sona Hindu deity is galvanized by this song.

Performance of Dekhni Dance

It is played exclusively by women. The dance is set to a combination of Western rhythms and Indian melodies. Some of the gestures of this dance are borrowed from classical dances like Kathak and Bharata Natyam.

The performance becomes a charming conversation between the girl and the boatman in the form of a lilting song. The dancers carry knickers, which are small clay lamps with a wick floating in oil or even artists. There are only two or three dekhni songs so far that were composed and recorded long ago. The performers dance to the rhythm of the Ghumat, a folk drum.

One of the earliest dekhni Kuxttoba dances dates back to around 1869. The song calls out in the song “the heir of India and the terror of Goa”, signifying resistance to Portuguese rule. Rane family has a Salekar branch and kuaxttoba was a member of it. This dance is widely performed throughout the province.

Dekhni Dance Costume

The costume and dress attire in Dekhni Dance reflects the cultural heritage and aesthetic traditions of Goa. The vibrant colors, intricate jewelry, and graceful draping of the sari create a visually captivating experience, complementing the expressive and rhythmic movements of the dance form.

  • Sari: The main attire for female performers in Dekhni Dance is a traditional sari. The sari is usually made of vibrant and colorful fabrics with intricate designs or patterns. It is draped in a specific style, highlighting the elegance and fluidity of the dance movements.
  • Choli/Blouse: The sari is accompanied by a matching or contrasting choli or blouse. The blouse is often embellished with decorative elements like embroidery, sequins, or beads, adding to the visual appeal of the overall costume.
  • Jewelry: Traditional jewelry is an essential part of the Dekhni Dance costume. This includes elaborate necklaces, earrings, bangles, and anklets. The jewelry is typically made of gold or silver and may feature traditional designs or gemstones, adding a touch of sparkle and enhancing the beauty of the dancers.
  • Headwear: A distinctive feature of the Dekhni Dance costume is the headwear worn by the dancers. They often wear a traditional tiara or maang tikka, adorned with jewels or decorative elements, which are placed in the center of the forehead.
  • Ghungroo: Ghungroo is a string of small metallic bells tied around the ankles of the dancers. It creates rhythmic sounds as the dancers move, adding an auditory element to the performance. The ghungroo enhances the overall musicality and footwork of the Dekhni Dance.
  • Makeup and Accessories: Female performers usually apply traditional makeup, including bold eye makeup, red or maroon lipstick, and decorative bindis on the forehead. Additionally, dancers may carry small handheld props like fans or scarves, which they incorporate into their movements during the performance.


In conclusion, the Dekhni dance holds a special place in the cultural landscape of Goa. With its graceful movements, expressive storytelling, and traditional music, it captivates audiences and offers a glimpse into the vibrant traditions of the region. As a cultural treasure, the Dekhni dance continues to be cherished and celebrated, keeping the spirit of Goa’s rich heritage alive. Its presence in festivals and events ensures that this beautiful dance form thrives and continues to be passed down to future generations, preserving the unique identity of Goa’s folk culture.

FAQs about the Dekhni Folk Dance of Goa:

Q1: What is Dekhni dance?

A: Dekhni is a traditional dance form that originated in Goa, India. It is performed by women and is known for its graceful movements, intricate footwork, and expressive storytelling.

Q2: What is the significance of the Dekhni folk dance?

A: Dekhni dance is considered a cultural treasure of Goa. It reflects the rich heritage and traditions of the region. The dance form often portrays themes of love, romance, and social issues, allowing performers to express emotions and connect with the audience.

Q3: How is the Dekhni dance performed?

A: Dekhni dance involves a combination of fluid body movements, subtle facial expressions, and rhythmic footwork. Performers wear traditional attire, including colorful sarees and ornate jewelry. The dance is accompanied by live music, usually featuring traditional Goan instruments like the ghumot and the mandolin.

Q4: What are the origins of Dekhni dance?

A: Dekhni dance has its roots in the traditional folk culture of Goa. It is believed to have evolved from the ancient art forms and rituals of the region, blending influences from Hindu and Christian traditions.

Q5: Where can one witness Dekhni dance performances?

A: Dekhni dance performances can be enjoyed during various festive occasions in Goa, such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Christmas, and New Year celebrations. Cultural festivals and events also often feature the Dekhni dance as part of their program.

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