With the number of fairs and festival held every year in Gujarat, the state has earned the nickname ‘Land of Festivals’. The celebrations on these occasions are accompanied with traditional dance and music performances. With the rich cultural tradition of arts and culture, various classical song, dance and drama form are practiced in Gujarat. It is said that the tradition of performing arts dates back to the ear of Lord Krishna, as He spent His earlier days in Gokul.

It is in this place that Lord Krishna charmed the natives playing flute accompanied by dancing. Raas Leela is the most significant in the chapter and it is still remembered these days. Lord Krishna was a patron in folk songs and dances, and it is He who promoted the artistic value once we became the ruler of Dwarka. From that point of time, the people of Gujarat still celebrates the heritage and glory. Bhavai is one of most popular folk dances of Gujarat. Other folk dances which may be mentioned are Siddi Dance, Tippani Nritya, Dangi Nritya and, Padhar Nritya.

Famous Dances of State

Dandiya Raas

The colorful Dandiya Raas, a form of dance has its root from the time of Lord Krishna when he played Raas on the banks of River Yamuna, on a moonlight night with his favorite Gopis.

Men and women performing Dandiya wear colorful attire and dance as a pair in a concentric circle – one move clockwise while the other in an anti-clockwise fashion. The two designed bamboo stick that they carry in their hand are referred as dandiya. Besides the movement, the creative use of dandiya is the most significant part of dancing.

The song sung in accompaniment to the dance has a distinct touch of sensuality as a pair moves and hits stick with each other, the eye contact is also another factor to pass messages in a discreet fashion. As the tradition says, romance blooms during the time of Navratri and it is on that time the Dandiya event takes place, which is quite popular among the younger generation.


Garba is another form of traditional dances performed mainly by women. The performance is made with in order to mark respect to Goddess Ambaji. The idea of the dance is to sing and clap rhythmically while circling around the goddess. However there have been some changes that took places with this form, as men can now join the dancing. Women look gracious as they wear decorative and colorful cholis, ghaghras and bandhani dupattas along with various jewelries. On the other hand, a man wears kehediyu, chudidar and turban.


Garbi is a traditional dance usually centers around men. In the early times, when the warriors returns victorious from battle, the armies used dance and frolic with the rhythm of songs and couplets sung by Charanswar or a narrator raising the toast to commemorate the joyous occasion. Today females can also be a part of the dance festival.

The dance is performed by a rural community living around Nal Lake. The performer dances with the stylistic movements to resemble roving mariners and undulating sea waves. The Bhil tribes with their locality nearby and the Adivasees of Dangs district celebrate lively folk dances.

Raas Dance

The dance form of Raas is derived from the popular Raas Leela once performed by Lord Krishna in Gokul and Vrindavan. The Raas is generally performed by youthful groups, as they dances with specific steps and moving in a circle. Their dances are accompanied with instruments like Dhol, Cymbals, Zanz and Shehnai. The participants are adorned with colorful costumes which makes it livelier. The male members wear Kedia which is a small coat and Kurta with tight sleeves, having pleated frills at the waist and the borders are embroidered. Tight trousers, colorful turbans and kamarbandha (waist band) are also a part of the attire.

Tippani Folk Dance

Originating from Sorath – a popular region of Saurastra, Tippani is another popular folk dance prevalent in Gujarat. This dance form is popular among the people of Kharva and Koli habitants of the coastal region, as they dance in the form of sailor and fisherman. After a day of grueling labor, the people unwind themselves with dance and music. Even a woman sings and dances to the rhythm to fight boredom.

Bhavai Dance

The Bhavai dance form is centered on the display of emotions. It is a dance form usually performed all night long and is staged in an open ground before the audience. The male and female performers perform the dance by balancing earthen pots at their head.

Vincchudo Dance

Another popular form of dance named Vincchudo is performed during the time of Navratri. The festival goes on for nine days to celebrate the nine incarnations of Mata Ambe. The theme of the dance is very much folk in nature and is accompanied with local music. The dances are performed by the rural people depicting their strong belief to the God. This form of tradition which is till existent often wonders as how they keep the tradition going despite rapid urbanization in the society. The dance also depicts various stories about the villages of India.


The Hudo dance form is popular among the Panchal region of Gujarat and also well known for its folk fair “Tarnetar”. The beauty of the dance lies with gorgeous costumes adorned by the dancers. One interesting part of the costume is the presence of an umbrella. It is not only a simple umbrella but its beautifully embroidered pattern and the stylistic lace and mirror work is simply stunning. Hudo is mainly performed with the hard working Shepherd men and women.

Dangi Nritya (Kahalya)

The popular Dangi Nritya a popular tribal of Dang in Sothern Gujarat. The dance is usually performed by kokans, warlis and bhil tribe in order to mark celebration for auspicious occasions like Diwali, Holi or a wedding ceremony. Here the men and women hold their hand forming a chain, which is the main style of Dangi Nritya. As the leader Kahalya (sharnai) changes their tune, so does the dance movement (chala) changes along with it.

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