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Bhavai Dance

The dry and parched land of Gujarat is remunerated well, by the ethnically rich people of the state. The populace of Gujarat invented a variety of arts, not only in the meadow of masonry and string work, but they also had made their identification in dance. Gujarati festivals have always been known for their vibrant sounds and beautiful colours, and the Bhavai dance form further adds to that charm. During these performances, various instruments, like the 'Sarangi', a brass instrument, drums and cymbals, are mainly used. Men play the female character's roles, which entertains the audience even further.

Bhavai Dance

Bhavai - a kind of folk dance, is exclusive and traditional to art-forms presented in Gujarat. Bhavai, which literally means “mother of universe”, lies in the utilization of expressions to display the sentiments of the performers. This Bhavai dance is exclusively performed by men, who dress themselves in miscellaneous attires and adopt exclusive character forms. The theme of this drama articulates the essential charismatic nature of Gujarati folk drama. Particular communities like Tara gals and Bhojakas who live in the northern parts of Gujarat, are extremely talented in Bhavai dance . The word 'Bhavai' is an imitation of the Sanskrit word "Bhava", meaning expression of feelings and emotions.

Enormously, just like the Garba, Dandiya dance and Gopal das, Bhavai is also a type of ritual offering, wherein the Goddess Amba is venerated. During the Navratri festivities, Bhavai performances are a huge magnetism at Ambaji temple. Bhavai shows in Gujarat often carry and transmit social messages to create awareness within the society. Bhavai is partly entertainment and partially a ceremonious presentation, made to Goddess Amba in the courtyard of the Devi shrine. This dance is mainly cultivated and presented in the villages as well as on the grounds of the temples. Both male and female artists balance some earthen pots, or sometimes brass carafe, on their person, as they dance with amazing skill and grace, pirouetting along with the plates, all through their performance. The accompaniment to this folk dance is offered by the male performers singing harmonious songs, furthermore playing an amount of musical apparatus, which consists of Dholak, sarangi pakhwaja, jhanjhari and a harmonium.

The Bhavai dance is a long and continuous performance, lasting through the entire night. In Bhavai, numerous "veshas" act in the open area, without any stage utensils. These veshas are normally from the group’s way of life, from their culture in the panorama, focusing on sarcastic or outrageous methods, with which positive sections can be distinguished - Banias, Bohras, wandering tribes and many more.


Traditionally, the most admired subject of the ‘Ramleela’ was presented at many spaces in Gujarat, founded on the Mahabharata, which was on the pre-existing mythical or chronological themes, that were recognizable to the audience of the ancient epoch. The Bhavai actors were mainly well-known as "bhavaiya". Bhavai dance and drama in Gujarat are taken from the day to day lives of the people, which conveys community messages throughout its presentation, based on humour, while reflecting social issues such as criticism, injustice, caste variation, or concerning any other themes that cause apprehension.

In this Bhavai dance, a particular musical gadget known as “Bhungal” is used, which is kind of a lengthy brass-wind device. The non-stop playing of the 'Bhungal', prior to the presentation, calls out all the rustic people to the place of the Bhavai dance.

Popularity Outside India

However, Bhavai has gained popularity with the changing times, as a medium of entertainment. It is a kind of ritual offering made to Goddess Amba. The theme of this Bhavai dance is also accepted in most other cities of Gujarat. It is even finding popularity in places as far away as the United States and Great Britain. Gujarat is well-known for Gujarati films and drama. The stage shows of this sort of dance are gaining more popularity amongst Guajarati’s all around the globe. The folk dances and drama became extremely special and renowned across Gujarat. In the present scenario of Gujarat, the Bhavai dance is an existing folklore.

Costumes and Music

Costumes indicate the social group of characters, varying from everyday attire for the regular characters, to intricate garb for the kings and other royals. The composition, using aboriginal substances such as sandals and lime paste for support, saffron and kumkum for colour as well as grunge for the ogles, is quite easy but serious at the same time.

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