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The Kalbelia and Their Rich Heritage

Rajasthan is famous for its rich heritage, colors and love towards their tradition. Kalbelia is one of the most sensuous dance forms of Rajasthan.

It is performed by a tribe of the similar name Kalbelia. Kalbelia are famous for their dance which is an undivided part of their culture. In that activity both men and women in the tribe participate to celebrate joyful occasions. They were known for their frequent movement from one place to another. Their main occupation is catching snakes and trading snake venom to others. The mark of their occupation reflects on their dancing and dressings. They are also called as Sapera, Jogira or Jogi. Traditionally, the Kalbelia community’s men used to carry cobras in baskets from door to door in villages while the women sang and danced and begged for their living. They respected the cobra and advocated non-killing of the reptile. If a snake somehow entered a home, then a Kalbelia would be called to catch the serpent and to take it away without harming or killing it. The Kalbelia dance, are performed to celebrate any joyful occasion in the community. Their dances and songs are a matter of pride and a marker of identity for the Kalbelias. They represent the creative adaptation of the community of snake charmers to changing socioeconomic conditions and their own role in rural Rajasthani society. Women wear black skirts that dance and swirl while dancing. The musical part of the dance is cared by the male participants. They use the instrument like pungi that is made up of woodwind. They also played to the dufli, been, the khanjari like instrument traditionally. The traditional songs of Kalbelia are based on stories taken from folklore and mythology. They perform special dances during Holi.  

By: Anita Aishvarya



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