Chakkari Dance

Rajasthan is a land famous for its many festivals and folk dances; some of which have attained world wide popularity. Most of the dances are peculiar to a community or area to which the dancer belongs. The songs and rhythm are synonymous of the customs and traditions followed by people living in that area. The best part about these dances is that they aren’t performed by professional dancers, but by ordinary men and women who have learnt the nuances of the dance form casually and as a matter of fact while going about with their daily chores. Folk dances have become an everyday aspect of Rajasthani life. Some popular dance forms include, Ghumar, Chari, Walar, Kachi Ghodi, Terah Taali, Gher, Sapera, Garasia, Kathputli dance, etc. And so it’s the Chakkari Dance- this dance originated within the Kanjar community living in Kota and Baran. But overtime the dance did spread to other areas of Rajasthan.

History about the Dance

The Chakkari dance is a popular folk dance of Rajasthan and is performed by the womenfolk of the Kanjar tribe. Although, there are many variations for the dance, ones performed by the Kanjars of Kota, Bundi and Baran are more popular than the others. Chakkari is usually performed by Kanjar women during weddings, receptions, and other occasions. In fact, dancing on these occasions is their main source of livelihood. The dance also owes its name to the Hindi word Chakkar or rotation.

Besides popular in the Kota district, Chakkari is also popular among the Beriyas of Madhya Pradesh.

About the Dance

Dancers wearing long flowing skirts called ghagras whirl round and round in circles. This movement makes the dancer’s skirt look like a spinning top, hence the name ‘chakkari’. To the uninitiated, chakkari is an Indian word for a spinning top. Dancers swirl around to the beats of the dholak or the nagara and sometimes to the beat of taali or claps. Some vigorous but elementary dance movements and robust rhythmic beats. Traditional songs like ‘Nandan Nakhrali’ are played when the dancers dance.

Depending on the area from where the dancer belongs, there are several variations to Rajasthani folk dances. Some of them are so robust and acrobatic that they’re solely performed by the male members of the community. Some of them are performed only by the women, and some are performed in groups of men and women together. The ones done by men are full of acrobatic skills such as jumping and bending. And the ones done by women are more graceful and require extraordinary agility. Irrespective of the fact that the dance is performed by women or men, it cannot be denied that the dance forms are a unique combination of grace and agility. But what separates Chakri from the rest of the crowd is that Chakri is always performed by the women. Women do this to earn a living. They perform in weddings and other occasions like anniversaries, birthday functions etc. In fact, these are a constant factor even today in all Rajasthani weddings. Besides performing at the actual ceremony, dancers also perform to welcome the groom or during the sangeet- a ceremony where relatives from the bride’s side meet up to bless the bride.


The ghagras or skirts worn by these women are colorful and adorned with mirrors. The mirror makes the skirt look pretty and glorious during the dance, especially when the dancers are moving swiftly. Besides the ghagra, women use a wide variety of accessories like maang tikka, baali, necklaces etc.

The Actual Dance

The steps begin with a few slow steps. Slowly, but steadily dancers move in rounds and increase the pace of the dance. They slowly increase the speed as the tempo increases. They keep on moving in circles even as the speed is increased. Even as they dance, women cover a large area but without clashing with each other and still keep on moving across the group.

Specialties About the Dance

The nagara and the dholak are a highlight of this dance. These are important instruments without which it is impossible to perform the Chakkari dance. To those who do not know much about these instruments; nagara is a drum like instrument with loud and hard beats. But it is these loud beats that prove to be helpful to dancers who need the energy to dance fast. As for the drum, this is another instrument that is known to provide some peppy music. While the dance is done by women, the instruments are played by the men.

People are known to be do excited when listening to the beats that they often end up dancing along with the dancers. In fact, even those who do not how to dance often end up jumping and frolicking around the dance floor.

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