Gambhira Dance: The Soulful Rhythms and Expressions of West Bengal’s Cultural Heritage

Gambhira dance is a captivating folk dance in the culturally rich state of West Bengal in India, this folk dances occupy a special place in Bengali culture. They complement the good tradition of the state, through their color and ceremonies. Initially, traditional dances were mainly for farming or worship. Gambhira’s songs are thought to have their roots in the worship of the god Shiva, also known as ‘Gambhir’. Gradually, agricultural dances became more and more secular and religiously inclined. One of Bengal’s most famous devotional dances is Gambhira.

Gambhira Dance of West Bengal
Gambhira Dance: The Energetic Rhythmic Folk of West Bengal

This dance holds a significant place in the region’s traditional performing arts. With its vibrant energy, rhythmic movements, and lively music, Gambhira has become an integral part of the cultural fabric of West Bengal. In this article, we will explore the History, Performance, Instruments used, Costume, and conclusion that sheds light on how this folk dance continues to thrive and enchant audiences worldwide.

History of Gambhira dance

In ancient times, Gambhira was generally celebrated as a Puja, but during the Middle periods, numerous Hindu communities began celebrating the Puja of’ Dharma Thakur( the notorious Hindu deity) on the last three days of the Bengali time. This, latterly, came known as the’ Shiva gajan’. In history, Shiva was allowed to have been present during real-time operations.

Gambhira Dance Performance

A sacred ritual performed by Shakti worshipers. The dance is named after the Chandi Mandir – Gambhira dance hall, which has a specially built courtyard in front of the temple. Performers undergo rigorous training and preparation before the performance. The performance is divided into different segments, each showcasing different aspects of the dance form. The audience often participates in the performance, adding to its overall impact.

Gambhira Dance Floor Steps

Gambhira dance is performed with a song of the same name. In this dance, there are two great dancers, accompanied by a chorus. Two great dancers play the role of nana (great-grandmother) and nut (granddaughter), respectively. The dancer plays the role of tying a string around the ankles. With this dance, the two dancers engage in conversation and express their concerns about the social, political, economic, and moral issues of modern culture and society. The chorus behind them repeats the sentence of the song.

Instruments used in Gambhira Dance

The instruments used while performing a serious dance are Harmonium, Flute, Drums, and Judo. The perfect combination of all forms of art, such as dialogue, dance, songs, and music, seems to be a form of documentary dance or folk dance. When the chorus repeated the refrain, the two great dancers danced. When they sing and perform, the chorus takes them backstage. Maldah masked Gambhir dancers are popular among these dance clubs. Although the dance has lost popularity, it is still performed in Rajshahi.

Gambhira Dance Costume

The costumes worn in the Gambhira folk dance of West Bengal are an essential element that adds vibrancy and charm to the performances. Both male and female dancers wear traditional attire that reflects the cultural heritage of the region. Here are some details about the typical costumes in Gambhira:

  • Male Costume: Male Gambhira dancers wear a dhoti, which is a rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around the waist and extending down to the ankles. The dhoti is usually made of cotton or silk and is often adorned with colorful borders or patterns. They pair the dhoti with a matching or contrasting kurta (long shirt) that is loose-fitting and comfortable. The kurta is typically short-sleeved and can be plain or embellished with intricate embroidery. The dancers may also wear a vest over the kurta for added elegance. To complete the ensemble, a colorful headgear or turban is often worn, which adds a touch of regality to the overall appearance
  • Female Costume: Female Gambhira dancers wear vibrant and ornate saris. The sari is a long piece of fabric wrapped around the body, with one end draped over the shoulder. The fabric of the sari is usually rich in color, featuring traditional motifs or intricate patterns. The dancers may choose saris made from silk, cotton, or other lightweight fabrics that allow for fluid movements. The sari is accompanied by a matching blouse, which can be simple or decorated with embroidery and embellishments. The dancers adorn themselves with traditional jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, bangles, and anklets, to enhance their overall look.
  • Accessories: In addition to the main costume, Gambhira dancers wear various accessories that contribute to the visual appeal of the performance. Both male and female dancers adorn their hands with metal or wooden bangles, and their wrists with colorful thread bracelets. They may also wear rings and finger ornaments. Additionally, dancers often apply decorative face paint or makeup to enhance their facial expressions and make their performances more captivating.

The costumes in Gambhira reflect the rich cultural heritage of West Bengal and are designed to create a visual spectacle that complements the energetic and expressive dance movements. The vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and traditional accessories play a crucial role in capturing the essence of this captivating folk dance form.

Gambhira Dance Folk of West Bengal
Gambhira Dance: The Energetic Rhythmic Folk of West Bengal


Q. What is Gambhira dance?

Gambhira is a traditional folk dance form that originated in the Maldah and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal, India. It is characterized by energetic movements, vibrant costumes, and rhythmic music. Gambhira dancers often portray characters from folk tales and mythological stories, bringing them to life through their performances.

Q. What is the historical significance of Gambhira?

Gambhira emerged during the reign of the Nawabs in Bengal as a form of entertainment in royal courts and aristocratic households. Over time, it became popular among the masses, and today it holds great cultural importance in West Bengal, serving as a medium to preserve folklore, traditions, and values.

Q. What are the typical costumes and musical instruments used in Gambhira?

Gambhira dancers wear colorful traditional attire, including vibrant saris and dhotis, along with elaborate jewelry. The performances are accompanied by indigenous musical instruments like the dhol (drum), Kartal (cymbals), harmonium, and ektara (a one-stringed instrument), which create the distinctive rhythmic and melodic backdrop for the dance.

Q. Gambhira dance which state?

Gambhira dance originates from the state of West Bengal, India. Specifically, it is associated with the Maldah and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal. Gambhira is deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of West Bengal and holds significant importance in the folk traditions of the region.


Gambhira folk dance of West Bengal stands as a testament to the state’s rich cultural heritage. Through its mesmerizing performances, Gambhira not only entertains but also educates and connects people with their roots. It is a dance form that serves as a bridge between the past and the present, reminding us of the importance of preserving and celebrating our diverse traditions. By appreciating and promoting Gambhira, we contribute to the vibrant tapestry of West Bengal’s cultural legacy and keep the spirit of this enchanting dance form alive for generations to come.

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