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Terah Taal Dance

The Terah Taal is a well known traditional folk dance form in Rajasthan. Performing this dance requires a lot of practice, concentration and skill. It is a very beautiful and impressive dance form, that has attracted flocks of tourists, over the ages. It is mainly performed by members of the Kamada tribe who are skilled snake charmers. The usual set-up consists of Manjeeras, cymbals, or similar discs constructed using metals like bronze, copper, brass or zinc. These instruments are commonly used in various Indian folk music songs or in religious hymns. These Manjeeras make the Terah Taal dance, one of the most enthralling dance forms in Rajasthan. The music of the Ektara is usually played during the Terah Taal Dance performance. Accordingly, the Manjeeras are appropriately tied to thirteen pre-defined parts of the dancer's body. The sounds produced by these thirteen Manjeeras, form the Terah Taal dance or the thirteen beats. On several occasions, the Terah Taal dance is performed using sharp swords, yielded by the performing dancers. This is the reason that, such a difficult  form requires high levels of accuracy, precision and dedication which can be achieved only by professional dancers, who have perfected their skill over years of hard work and perseverance.


The Terah Taal Dance has a beautiful set of beats that takes one through the rich and delicate cultural folk traditions of Rajasthan. While touring through the state, one will often come across Terah Taal Dance performances taking place at regular intervals. This adventurous dance form is mainly performed by the Kamada tribe, whose members are also well known snake charmers. The Terah Tall dance is also performed by other various tribes of Rajasthan, namely Mirasi, Bhand, Dholi, Bhat and Nat. The dance form, however, is also an important ritual seen in the famous Baba Ramdev temple located at Runecha.

Performance of Terah Taal Dance

Terah (thirteen) cymbals or Manjeeras are used to give a vibrant feel to the dancer's immediate movements. They also compliment the musical instruments that are played to the devotional singing from the people. It makes for a delightfully enchanting performance. The order of placing the Manjeeras or cymbals on the body of the performer is nine cymbals on the right leg, seven between the knee and ankle, one on the instep, one on the big toe, and one each on both arms. The performer or performers sit in front of the shrine of the legendary Ramdeoji along with the musicians who are seen playing various musical instruments like 'chutara' or 'khartla', and begin to sing songs in devotion of the glorified saint.

The dance begins with the musicians chanting in a slow manner while the performer moves the right leg slowly and starts striking the Manjeeras placed in the hands against those tied up at other parts of the body. With the increase in tempo, the performer accordingly stirs into a vibrant motion and produces some amazing patterns by constantly changing the force and patterns of the strikes and embellishments in a smooth, lively rhythm. The beauty and attraction of this majestic performance lies in the accurate co-ordination between the music and the swift rocking motion of the dancer who, while constantly leaning, inclining and swaying, strikes the moving cymbals with great accuracy, like a person in a trance. In order to create the desired sounds, the Manjeeras or the metallic discs are made of metals such as bronze, brass, copper and zinc. On several occasions,  the dances are also performed using sharp swords as props. The Terah Taal Dance requires a lot of accuracy, precision, dedication and consistency which is why, it can only be pulled off by seasoned or advanced dancers, who regularly participate in this beautiful dance performance.

Terah Taal Dance Elements

The Terah Taal Dance form is performed by members of various tribes like Dholi, Bhand, Bhat and Nat. At places like Chouki Dhani, it is performed on different ways that involve walking on broken glass, dancing on swords, dancing with 7 "Matkas" on the head and so on. This dance is usually performed by three or four dancers using Manjeeras that are metallic discs, made of bronze, copper, zinc or brass. A wire is tied to these discs through a hole present in the centre of each disc. These discs are then placed jointly at different angles at various points. The resulting sound is always an amazing metallic plethora that compliments the heavy vocals and percussions in a fine manner. The variations in the sound and the intensity depends on the person playing the Manjeera.

Occasions For Terah Taal Dance

The Terah Taal dance is usually performed on several occasions. However, it is mainly performed as an act of devotion to please the local deity of Rajasthan, Baba Ramdeo. He lived in the 16th century and was a God for the poor and downtrodden people, or those who belonged to low castes. The dancers sing praises to this saint in memory of his miracles. The government of Rajasthan, in collaboration with several NGOs, is promoting this dance form, in India as well as abroad.

The Kamada Tribe Of Snake Charmers

The Kamada tribe of snake charmers are highly skilled performers of the Terah Taal Dance, and do so, gracefully. The members of the tribe can perform with all their might, even when the Manjeeras are improperly fitted or when dancing on swords. This is due to their devotion for the sacred saint Baba Ramdeo, and his works for the people.

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