Kalbelia dance festival
DatesTo be Announced
India is known for its cultural vivacity and diversity. It houses thousands of religions, ethnicities, tribes and with them, their beliefs. One of these tribal communities is the Kalbelia community which is also one of the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage place. It is known and in fact intimidated by a lot of people because of their profession of trading snake venom and catching snakes. The Kalbelia dance festival is celebrated by this community and has gained international acclamation and appreciation across the world. This folk dance and singing performance is performed on joyous occasions and is representative of the oral history of this tribe and its cultural practices. The beauty of this festival lies in the terrific spirit, enthusiasm and skill of these dancers who continue to take pride in their history and try to portray their culture, tradition and art via their dance performances.
It’s a very beautiful and a sensuous dance performance that mimics the lucid and effortless movements of a snake, depicting their livelihood and history. It is a moment of pride for the women to be able to replicate the movements of the snake and spin themselves around like no one’s watching. The artistic freedom and spirit are to be appreciated here because watching them swing and sway like a stealthy snake is a terrifyingly beautiful view to capture. While the women are known to dance with such skill, the men accompany them by playing different traditional instruments, including dholak, sarangi and most importantly, the poongi, which is a been that is used to charm and control the snakes.
The attire worn by these spectacular dancers is representative of their culture and tradition. Similar to their dance, which is intense, dense and yet very vibrant, the costume is a wonderful amalgamation of black, red and white primarily. Intricate threading work, with Ghaghara style long skirts with mirror work, is emblematic of this tribe. The men compliment the women with angrakha style kurtas. The entire picturesque tradition is a visual treat to watch. Not only the costume, but the different tattoos on their body is an attempt to jot down their cultural history using traditional designs and motifs. This entire procession of this group is towards the Thar desert, which is said to be the place where their journey began.
You can experience this rich and intense dance ritual in different parts of Rajasthan, including Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Pushkar and even Jalore.
If you value and appreciate history, culture and art then delving into this un-chattered space of the kalbelia dance festival might add on to your experience as you go on to unveil the different voices of history and art. You truly enter into India, as the land of snake charmers.
Jaipur - Pushkar
Bikaner - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Udaipur
Jaipur - Jodhpur
Mount Abu - Udaipur - Ajmer - Jaipur