Garhwali folk dance of Uttarakhand

Garhwali Folk dance, a region located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, is known for its rich cultural heritage. One of the most vibrant aspects of Garhwali culture is its folk dances. These traditional dances are deeply rooted in the history, traditions, and daily lives of the Garhwali people. They are performed on various occasions, such as festivals, weddings, and community gatherings, and are a celebration of the region’s customs and beliefs.

One of the most captivating aspects of Garhwal’s cultural tapestry is its folk dances. Among these, Garhwali folk dance takes center stage, captivating audiences with its grace, energy, and the stories it tells. In this blog article, we will delve into the world of Garhwali folk dance, exploring its significance, various dance forms, costumes, and the vibrant cultural traditions associated with it.

Garhwali Folk Dance Performance

One of the prominent folk dances of Garhwal is the “Barada Nati” or the “Barada dance.” This lively dance form is performed by both men and women and involves intricate footwork and graceful movements. The dancers usually wear traditional Garhwali attire, which includes colorful dresses adorned with intricate embroidery, jewelry, and turbans for men.

This dance is supported by bamboo and is performed only by men. The leader of the dance (placed in one place) climbs to the top of the bamboo pole and sleeps on top to maintain balance, improving sports skills. A group of musicians created a strong atmosphere with heavy instruments such as “dhol” and “damaun”. This particular dance excited many people. Ion in Uttarakhand.

Popular Garhwali Folk Dance Forms:

“Choliya Dance” is yet another vibrant folk dance of Garhwal, primarily performed during the harvest season. It is believed to be derived from ancient martial arts practices and portrays mock battles between the forces of good and evil. The dancers, dressed in traditional attire, wield long bamboo sticks called “dandiyas” while performing intricate dance movements. The rhythmic beats of dhol and thali accompany the Choliya dance, creating an energetic and joyous atmosphere.

The “Langvir Nritya” is a unique acrobatic dance form that showcases the physical prowess and agility of the dancers. It involves daredevil acts like balancing on top of a pole or hanging from a rope while performing intricate dance moves. The Langvir Nritya is performed by skilled male dancers and is a testament to their strength and flexibility.

Apart from these, there are several other folk dances in Garhwal, such as the “Pandava Dance,” which narrates episodes from the Mahabharata epic, the “Chanchi” dance, which celebrates love and courtship, and the “Jhora” dance, which is performed during the monsoon season to express gratitude for a bountiful harvest.

Musical Instruments Used In Garhwali folk dance

Garhwali folk dance is accompanied by a variety of musical instruments that add depth and rhythm to the performances. Here are some commonly used instruments:

  1. Dhol: The dhol is a double-headed drum that is played with sticks. It provides the primary beat and rhythm for the dancers, adding a lively and energetic element to the dance.
  2. Damau: The damau is a small kettle drum made of wood or metal. It is played with a stick and produces a resonant sound, often used to enhance the rhythmic patterns and provide accents during the dance.
  3. Turri: The turri is a brass trumpet-like instrument that is blown to produce melodious tunes. It adds a distinct musical flair to the performances, creating a festive and celebratory atmosphere.
  4. Thali: The thali is a metal plate that is struck with a stick or tapped with fingers to create a metallic sound. It is often used to keep the beat and rhythm, providing a crisp and percussive accompaniment to the dance.


Garhwali folk dance costumes are vibrant and reflect the region’s cultural aesthetics. Here are some elements commonly found in the traditional attire:

  1. Women’s Attire: Women typically wear ghagras, which are long skirts made of colorful and intricately embroidered fabric. They are paired with kurtas (blouses) and adorned with a dupatta (scarf) that complements the ensemble. The costumes are often embellished with mirror work, beads, and other decorative elements.
  2. Men’s Attire: Men commonly wear dhotis, which are loose-fitting garments that are wrapped around the waist and extend down to the ankles. They are paired with kurta-pajamas (long shirts and loose-fitting trousers) and sometimes accessorized with a turban or a headscarf.
  3. Jewelry and Accessories: Both men and women may wear traditional jewelry pieces as part of their attire. This can include earrings, necklaces, bangles, and anklets, often made of silver or other metals. These accessories add an element of adornment and cultural significance to the overall look.

It’s important to note that specific dance forms within Garhwali folk dance may have their own distinct costumes and variations. The details and styles of costumes can vary across different regions and communities, showcasing the diversity and richness of Garhwali culture.

Some FAQ of Garhwali folk dance

Q. What is the history of Garhwali folk dance?

Garhwali folk dance has a rich history that dates back generations. It has been an integral part of the Garhwal region’s cultural traditions, serving as a means of expression, celebration, and storytelling. The dance forms have evolved over time, reflecting the local customs, mythology, and daily lives of the Garhwali people.

Q. How many types of Garhwali folk dances are there?

Garhwali folk dance encompasses various dance forms that are unique to the region. Some popular types include Jhora, Langvir Nritya, Choliya Dance, Barada Nati, and Pandav Nritya. Each dance form has its distinct characteristics, movements, and costumes, representing different aspects of Garhwali culture.

Q. What are the traditional costumes worn during Garhwali folk dance?

The traditional costumes worn during Garhwali folk dance vary depending on the specific dance form and occasion. Women often wear colorful ghagras (long skirts), kurtas (blouses), and dupattas (scarves), adorned with intricate embroidery and mirror work. Men typically don dhotis, kurta-pajamas, and turbans, complementing the vibrant attire.

Q. Are there any specific musical instruments associated with Garhwali folk dance?

Yes, Garhwali folk dance is accompanied by a range of traditional musical instruments. Common instruments include the dhol (a double-headed drum), damau (a small kettle drum), turri (a brass trumpet-like instrument), and thali (a metal plate). These instruments add rhythm, melody, and energy to the dance performances, enhancing the overall experience.

Q. Can anyone participate in the Garhwali folk dance, or is it restricted to certain groups?

Garhwali folk dance is open to anyone who has a passion for learning and preserving the art form. While some dances might have specific cultural or gender-related roles, there are no strict restrictions on participation. People from different backgrounds and age groups can engage in Garhwali folk dance, either for personal enjoyment, cultural exchange, or as a way to connect with the Garhwali community.

Remember to refer to the specific dance forms and local cultural practices for more detailed information and guidelines on participation.


Garhwali folk dance in not only a form of entertainment, but also a way to preserve and promote the heritage of the region. They play a vital role in fostering a sense of community and pride among the Garhwali people, strengthening their bond with their ancestral roots. These dances continue to be passed down through generations, ensuring that the vibrant traditions of Garhwal are cherished and celebrated for years to come.

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