The A-Z Guide for Indian Regional Dance Forms – GK Prep

Regional Dances of India

India is a country with different creeds, caste, religion & Language. There are most amazing dance forms from each state that are asked in competitive exam GK section. Let’s delve deeper…

  1. Andhra Pradesh


  • Kuchipudi: It’s an Indian classical dance form, was originated in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. However, it is one of the most popular dance form in the whole southern India.


  • Kolattam: Also known as Kolannaluor  It’s a rural art, performed using sticks during village festivals. Therefore, it’s also called as Stick Dance.


  • Dhimsa: This is the official dance of Vishakhapatnam, was originated in the kora put district of Odisha. It’s a tribal dance form, usually performed by the women of Porja caste dressed up in tribal clothes and ornaments.



  1. Arunachal Pradesh


  • Bardo Chham: it’s a folk dance of Sherdukpen people of West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh. This dance portrays the defeat of bad by good.



  1. Assam


  • Bihu: It is the folk dance, associated with the Bihu festival. Both men and women perform this dance, they dress in colorful Assamese And the dance is performed with traditional Bihu music.


  • Jumur Naach: It is traditional dance of tea tribes of Assam, performed by both girls and boys or sometimes only by girls. The dance is performed with uniform foot movements while holding each other’s waist.


  • Bagurumba: It is a folk dance of Bodo tribe of Assam. This dance is performed by only girls dressed in colorful Bodo attire with slow dance movements with stretched hands. Popular among Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang and Sonitpur


  • Ali Ai Ligang: The name is made from three terms; “Ali” stands for legumes, “Aye” stands for seed and “Ligang” for sow. This dance is performed while the Ali Ai Ligang which is a festival of associated with agriculture.


  1. Bihar


  • Paika: This is a battle dance is performed with a shield and sword, where men stand in two rows and attack each other to showcase their skills.


  • Kajari: This dance is performed on Kajari song of rainy season, usually in the month of


  • Bidesia: This popular form of dance drama depicts social issues and contradictory topics. This dance is solely performed by males, even the female characters are played by males only.


  • Jhijhian: This dance is also related to rain, but it’s performed when there is no rain; i.e. it depicts drought. It is a ritualistic dance, performed to pray to Lord of rain


Other popular dances are as follows:

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  • Sohar-Khilouna Dance
  • Harvesting Dance
  • Jumari Dance
  • Jat-Jatin Dance



  1. Chhattisgarh
  • Panthi: folk dance of satnami community, performed on birth anniversary of guru Ghasidas.


  • Raut Nacha: folk dance of yadavas, performed on dev udni Ekadashi for the worship of lord Krishna. Similar to ras leela.


  • Gaur Maria Dance: Performed on the occasion of weddings, also one of the most important dances of Bison Horn Marias of Abhujmaria plateau of Bastar.


  1. Gujarat
  • Raas: It also called stick dance, because we require polished sticks i.e. dandiya to perform the raas.


  • tippani: Originated in Saurashtra’s chorwad region. In this dance form women take wooden sticks and beat the floor.


  • Garba: performed by women, during Navratri. This involves dancing in circular patterns and clapping hands.


Other popular dance is Padhar


  1. Goa
  • Tarangamel: performed on Dussehra and Holi. Young girls and boys dress in rainbow costumes, carry multicolor flags and shout “HO, HO!”.

Other dances are


  • Dashavatara
  • Dekhni
  • Dhalo
  • Dhangar
  • Fugdi
  • Ghodemodni
  • Goff
  • Jagar
  • Kunbi
  • Mando
  • Musal Khel
  • Perni Jagar
  • Ranamale
  • Romta Mel
  • Divlyan Nach (Lamp dance)
  • Veerabhadra
  • Morulo
  • Tonayamel



  1. Haryana
  • Dhamal: This dance is performed by males in the phalgun month, it’s an ancient dance originated in the days of


  • Jhumar: This dance is named after an ornament worn on the foreheads, it is performed by women dressed in colorful costumes by clapping hands along with music of dholak and thali.


  • Loor: This dance is performed by girls during month of phagun, specially at the time of Holi


Other popular dances of Haryana are as follows:


  • Saang
  • Chhathi
  • Khoria
  • Gugga
  • Daph
  • Phag
  • Ghoomar



  1. Himachal Pradesh
  • Kinnauri Nati: It is an act, but it contains different physical movements. In this dance performers portray activities like sowing and reaping the crop.


  • Namgen: This dance is performed to celebrate the autumnal hues, women wear studded silver ornaments and woolen costumes for this dance.


  1. Jharkhand
  • Karma: This dance got its name from karma tree, which is a symbol of good luck and fortune. This dance is performed by both men and women, by forming circles and holding each other’s waist.


  1. Jammu & Kashmir
  • Kud: It’s a thanks giving ritual performed for the gods Lok People of all ages participate in Kud dance, mostly performed during rainy season.


  • Dumhal: This dance is performed by men of Wattal tribe, dressed in colorful robes and tall studded conical caps.


Other popular dances are as follows:


  • Rouf
  • Bhand Pather
  • Bachha Nagma
  • Hafiza Dance
  • Bhand Jashan
  • Wuegi-Nachun



  1. Karnataka
  • Yakshagna: It’s a classical dance drama, popular in Karnataka and some parts of Kerala. The performers wear colorful costumes and plays roles from the story of


  • Bayalata: This dance is popular in southern regions of Karnataka, with this form of Yakshagana actors portray Epic Indian poetry and Puranas.


  • Dollu Kunitha: This drum dance is performed by the men of shepherd community of Karnataka. Men suspend large drums from their necks, decorated with colorful cloths.


  • Veeragaase dance: Dance is based on Hindu mythology and is performed during Hindu months of Shravana and Karthika.


  1. Kerala
  • Mohiniyattam: The name “Mohiniyattam” means “dance of the enchantress”. The dance is performed by the temple dancers in Kerala.


  • Kathakali: It is one of the most renown classical dance form of Kerala, having its originated about 500 years ago. It is a union of dance, drama, ritual and music.


  • Padayani: Popular in central Kerala, it’s a folk dance and a ritual art performed in Bhagavati temples in respect of Bhadrakaali. Performers wear large facial masks.


Other popular dances are:


  • Thirayattam
  • Theyyam
  • Thullal
  • Koodiyattam
  • Duffmuttu or Aravanmuttu
  • Oppana
  • Kaikottikkali or Thiruvathirakali
  • Margamkali
  • Thitambu Nritham
  • Chakyar Koothu
  • Chavittu Nadakam



  1. Madhya Pradesh
  • Tertali: Performed by Tera Tali Women tie small metal cymbals (Manjiras) to their body and strike them periodically to make a rhythmic sound.


  • Charkula: Performed on the two days after holi, on the birth day of Radha. Dance is performed by women, who balance large pyramids with 108 lighted oil lamps.


  • Jawara: Popular in areas of Bundelkhand, performed at the time of harvest. Men and women perform this dance dressed in colorful attire, women balance baskets of jawara(wheatgrass) on their heads.


Other major dances of the state are as follows:



  • Matki dance
  • Phulpati dance
  • Maanch
  • Gaur Maria
  • Grida



  1. Maharashtra
  • Pavri Nach: The dance is called so because it is performed on the sound of musical instruments; tarpha or pavri. Like many other folk dances, dancers stand close to each other and hold the adjacent dancers from their waist.


  • Lavani: Performed in Maharashtra and lower parts of Madhya Pradesh. This dance is performed by the women dressed in a nine-yard-long saris, on the beats of Dholki.


Other popular dances are:


  • Dangi
  • Koli



  1. Manipur
  • Thang Ta: In the name Thang stands for “Sword” and Ta for “Spear”, as the dance was originated to show warfare skills. Performers attack each other while defending themselves.


  • Dhol Cholom: Performed on the occasion of Holi and spring, there’s a different type of drum for each occasion.


  1. Mizoram
  • Cheraw Dance: Performed at the time of all the major festivals in Mizoram. In this dance four people hold and clap two long bamboo sticks on ground, while the performers make patterns through them.


  1. Nagaland
  • Chang Lo or Sua Lua: Performed while all the community celebrations, performers wear traditional costumes of Naga warrior and fancy clothing of women.


  1. Odisha
  • Ghumura Dance: Very ancient and one of the leading folk dances of Odisha. Popular among south western Odisha and some parts Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
  • Chau: Performed in Mayurbhanj and Baleswar districts of Odisha. It is presented in form of a mock battle, where two group of performers alternatively attack the opposite group and defend themselves.


  • Goti Pua: This dance is performed by the boys dressed up as girls, usually boys between the age of 6 – 14 years can perform the dance.


  • Nacni: Performed in rural areas by professional female dancer and singers, along with male drummers.


  • Odissi: It is one of the major classical dance forms as well as one of the oldest classical dance form of India.


  • Dhap: The dance is named so because the dance is performed on the music of dhap (Musical Instrument). Boys of one village perform this dance with girls of another village.


  • Dalkhai: Performed during festivals such as Bhaijiuntia, Phagun Puni, Nuakhai etc. Females perform this dance along with male drummers and musicians.


  • Baag Naach: This dance is performed during Hindu month of Chaitra; male dancers paint their body like that of a tiger and place a tail.


Other dances are as follows:


  • Ghumra
  • Karma Naach
  • Keisabadi



  1. Puducherry:
  • Garadi: According to the legends this dance was performed by monkeys when Lord Rama defeated the Performed on the beats of drums, while dancers carry stick in their hand.


  1. Punjab
  • Bhangra: It’s a widely popular dance style and name of the music, earlier performed at the time of harvest. But now it’s a part of all the celebrations such as weddings and festivals.


  • Giddha: Popular and colorful folk dance of women in Punjab. Dance is as energetic as bhangra, and said to be derived from ancient ring dance.


  • Malwai Giddha: It’s same as Giddha, the difference is that only male members participate in this dance.


  • Kikkli: This dance is performed by two girls who hold each other’s hands and whirl each other at high speed.


  • Sammi
  • Jindua
  • Dandass
  • Jhumar
  • Karthi



  1. Rajasthan
  • Ghoomar: This traditional folk dance was developed by the Bhil tribe of Mewar area, but is popular all over Rajasthan. This dance is performed by women, wearing traditional Ghaghara.


  • Kalbelia: This dance is usually performed by the women of kalbelia community. women dressed in embroidered black lehenga, whereas men sing and play musical instruments.


  • Bhavai: This dance is performed at Ambaji Temple nearby Mount Abu, along with being a dance it’s a ritual performed for Goddess Amba.


  • Kachchhi Ghodi: It’s an Indian folk dance originated in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. In this dance a singer recite folk tales while dancers dressed in novelty horse costumes perform the dance.


Other common dances are Chirami, Gair, Tera Tali.


  1. Sikkim
  • Singh Chaam: This dance is usually performed during Panglapsool festival. In this dance two people wear a large furry lion costume which represent the snow lion.


  1. Tamil Nadu
  • Bharatanatyam: This form of Indian classical dance is popular all over the world and was originated in temples of Tamil Nadu and have its roots to Natya Shastra.


  • Devarattam: Also known as the dance of the gods, performed by the Kambala Naikar community who are believed to be descendants of the Devas or Gods.


  • Kamandi: Also known as Kaman Pandigai dance, it also represents the event when lord Shiva burnt Manmada (the god of love) out of anger.


  • Kummi: This dance is commonly performed during festivals, in this dance people form a circle and clap their hands while dancing.


  • Kolattam: This dance is performed by holding two sticks in hands and making rhythmic sound with that, it has a variation dance too which is known as pinnal kolattam in which colorful ribbons are tied to a pole and women hold the other end of the ribbons and skip over each other to form a lace pattern.


Karagattam: In this dance, women balance pots filled with water over their head. This dance has two variations; Aatta Karagam and Sakthi Karagam.


Mayil Attam: Performed by girls dressed in a peacock attire, with peacock feathers, beak and a shimmery head piece.


Paampu attam: In this dance form, girls dressed in fitted snake like clothing perform dance in snake like movements.


Other popular dances are as follows: Oyilattam, Puliyattam, Poikal Kudirai Attam, Bommalattam, Theru Koothu,



  1. Telangana
  • Perini Shivathandavam: This dance is having its roots to Kakatiya dynasty. It’s a dance of warriors, performed by males in front of statue of lord shiva.


  • Burra Katha: It’s a narrating dance form derived from dance called Tandana Katha. It is performed on the musical instrument


  • Gobbi Dance: It’s performed during Sankranthi festival; its name is derived from the balls of cow dung known as “Gobbillu” which are placed in middle of rangoli designs made in front of houses.


Other common dances are as follows:


  • Pagati Vesham
  • Dappu
  • Tappeta Gullu
  • Lambadi


  • Yedupayala
  • Bhimanna
  • Samakka Saralamma


  1. Tripura
  • Hojagiri: It is a unique dance style of the Reang community of Tripura. This dance form includes acrobatic feet movements; only the lower half of the body moves in this dance.


  1. Uttar Pradesh
  • Charkula: widely popular in Braj region of Uttar Pradesh, women perform this dance while balancing large pyramids with 108 lit oil lamps on their heads.


  • Swang: It’s a folk drama, in Uttar Pradesh it is usually performed on stories of Puran Nath Jogi, Gopi Nath and Veer Hakikat Rai.


  • Kathak: It’s one of the eight classical Indian dance forms, in Sanskrit the name of the dance means “the one who tells the story”.


  • Raslila: It is more like an act or drama, which depicts the events from life of lord


  • Ramlila: It’s similar to Raslila, except that it’s based on the life of lord


  1. Uttarakhand
  • Barada Nati: This dance is popular in Chakrata Tehsil’s Jaunsar Bhawar area, usually performed during religious festivals or special occasions.


  • Cancheri: This dance is popular in the area of Danpur patti of Bageshwar district, near the Pindari It is performed by men and women by forming semi circles and dancing on slow rhythm.


  • Chhapeli: This dance is performed in couple by men and women, accompanied by musical instruments like Hurka, Manzira and


  • Choliya: Performed during weddings by Rajput’s, where males dance on the beat of Dhol with carrying sword and shield in their hands.


  • Jagars: It is related to spiritual and ghost worship, sometimes puja songs are sung for various gods and goddesses.


  • Jhora: Performed at the times of spring, fairs or wedding celebrations. Men and Women form a circle and dance while holding each other’s hand.


  • Romala: This dance is performed at the time of Holi, accompanied by the musical instruments like Harmonium, Tabla, Dholak and Manzira(Cymbals)


  • Langvir Nritya: This dance is performed only by men, by climbing on the top of a pole and rotating their body with the help of hands and feet. While, musicians play dhol and


  1. Meghalaya
  • Nongkrem: It is an important folk dance performed by Khasis tribe of Meghalaya, this dance is performed to celebrate the harvesting time of rice crops.


  • Shad Sukmynsiem: This dance is performed during the thanksgiving festival all over khasi hills, girls and boys dressed in colorful costumes participate in the dance.


  • Behdienkhalm: This dance is performed during monsoon season, during July after sowing the crop.


  • Lahoo: This dance is performed by men and women, where two men stand on either side of a women holding arms.


  • Dorsegata: In this dance women have to knock off turbans from the heads of male partners.


  1. West Bengal


  • Gambhira: this dance form was first started among the hindu community of Maldha. Now Chapai Nawabganj in Rajshahi is the main centre of Gambhira dance form.


  • Kalikapatadi: This dance form is based on the story that how Shiva calms Kali after killing asura. This dance is performed on the neelpuja


  • Nanci: Performed by professional female dancers in rural areas, accompanied by male drummers.


  • Alkap: it is a rural dance performance, popular in many places of west Bengal and Jharkhand. This dance form is related to the Gajan festival of lord shiva.


  • Domni: popular in Maldah in West Bengal. This dance form contains small plays that portrays everyday life events, in a critical manner.



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