Dandaras Dance

When you take a tour of Jammu and Kashmir do not forget to see the Dandaras Dance being performed by the Kashmiri people. It is performed during one of the most popular festivals of India, Makar Sankranti or Lohri. Other than during Lohri festival, you would be able to find these dance performances taking place during the seasons of harvest. It is an exceptional form of dance and is believed to have its origin in the Vrindavan’s folk dance style of Dandiya Raas. While this is quite a popular dance form in the present state of Gujarat as Garba during the Navratri festival, in Jammu and Kashmir, it has taken the shape of Dandaras.

A huge similarity may be found in both Dandiya Raas and Dandaras forms of dancing. In both the dance forms, the style is quite identical where performers carry sticks of bamboo or other material and strike it with the sticks in the hands of their fellow performers. Moreover, the terms Dandiya and ‘Danda’ in Dandaras, both means the same thing – a stick, while the common part Raas or ‘ras’ in Dandaras dance form to depict the playful acts of Lord Sri Krishna. 


As already discussed, Dandaras is an adaptation of the Dandiya Raas form of dance. This was the folk dance of the ancient Indian region Vrindavan, which can now be found in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Vrindavan is also believed to be the place where Lord Sri Krishna did his playful acts.

It has also been practiced as Garba to signify the great fight between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura, the demon. The sticks represent the swords and that is why, this dance form was also named as ‘the sword dance’. Thus, basically this dance form was a mark of honour for Goddess Durga, the mark of feminine power and destroyer of evil.


While performing Dandaras dance in Kashmir, the people wear brightly coloured clothes. While performing this kind of dance, the performers wear Chola-dora and tight Churidars, which are all traditional forms of attire. They also wear heavy jewellery and hence, all the performers look gorgeous and attractive.


Dandaras dance is performed by the professional dancers who dance to music created by beating of drums. The dancers match their steps with Dhamal and Lauhli, which are the complex form of rhythmic beats on drums. Furthermore, another form of music is created due to the rhythmic striking sounds of the sticks in the hands of the dancers. Thus, it is a form of dance that is performed without any song but only with music. During the initial phase the music is slow whereas it catches pace as the dance proceeds.


The dancers form a semi-circle and make moves that are well choreographed and require immense practice for perfection. Though, the dance may seem to be too easy but it is not so and performers need adequate training. In the initial stage of the dance performance, the movements are quite slow. However, the gradual increase of speed in the music as well as the dance is what adds to the charm of the Dandaras dance form. Near the end the dancers become highly energetic with the fast music and shows maximum vigour in their dance steps. The high level of vigour in the dance steps symbolises the ‘tandav nritya’ or fanatic dance of Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraj.


Dandaras dance form is most popular in the region of Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, which lies on the state border of Jammu and Kashmir. Hence, this form of dance is also equally popular in many parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Besides, the magnificent beauty of these mountainous areas, the traditional folk dance forms is also one of the finest attractions of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, if you are planning to take a tour of the paradise on earth in the near future then do not forget to witness the energetic form of dancing, Dandaras.

Reaching J&K

If you are willing to come from some other part of India, all modes of transportation i.e. airways, railways and roadways are open for you. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is connected well by railways and a huge number of trains from all other parts of India reach J&K.

If you would want to take an adventurous road trip from any other part of India, then the excellent National Highways are there to fulfil your needs. The national highway 1A is the roadways link line between Jammu and Kashmir and all other parts of India.

Air services are also available from all major domestic airports of India to the domestic airports of Jammu and Leh. Srinigar has got a custom international airport that allows foreign tourists to directly reach Jammu and Kashmir.

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