Tribal and folk song and music

Posted on May 22, 2007. Filed under: Research |

Chhattisgarh is rich in its cultural heritage. Its own dance styles, cuisine, music. Pandwani the musical narration of the epic Mahabharata, “Raut Nacha” (performed basically by Yadav caste, this folk dance has bagged many awards at state level) and the Panthi and Soowa dance styles.

Teejan Bai, the Pandwani artist was awarded Padmashree for her contribution to this dance style .She is also an employee of Bhilai Steel Plant. Another Pandwani artist is Ritu Verma who is also one of the best artist of this folk dance.

The State has the endeavor to have a Sitar player Shri. Budhaditya Mukherjee has international fame. Similarly there are two National level artist in the field of Painting named Shri Asif and Shri Tushar Waghela who have displayed their paintings at various Art Galleries in India and bagged many awards.


Chhattisgarh’s most famous and popular folk plays are Chandaini-Gonda, Sonha-Bihan, Lorik-Chanda, Kari, Hareli, Gammatiha, Maopaata and Bhata Naat. Rahas is a modern folk drama of Chhattisgarh.

Main Dance and song of this state are:


Dahikando – Bastar

Sarhul – Bastar

Bhatara Nat – Bastar

Maopata – Bastar



Ghodwa Nach



Raut Nach



Gedi Dance

Gaour Dance



Mata Sewa Geet

Gaura Geet

Karma-Dadariya Geet

Marriage Songs




Dewar Geet

Bans Geet

Tribal Dances of Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh is an undiscovered paradise, offering a tourist destination with a difference. Known for its exceptional scenic beauty and unique and rich cultural heritage, Chhattisgarh has always been synonymous with tribes and tribal culture. Over one third of the state population is of tribes, most of them inhabiting in the thickly forested areas of the famous Bastar region. The tribes of Chhattisgarh are known for their unique lifestyles and have beautifully retained their own culture and traditions for many centuries. The tribes of Chhattisgarh region are also known for their passion for dances and music, which are the most important amusements and a part and parcel of their day-to-day life.


There are innumerous tribal dance forms in the state but the most prominent dance forms of Chhattisgarh include the Dandari dance, Gendi dance, Karma dance, Panthi dance, Damkach dance, Bhagoriya dance, Sela dance and Nacha among many others. The famous Dandya dance of Gujarat is believed to have evolved from Dandari, the basic difference between the two is that in Dandari the artists use antlers of Deer instead of sticks. While Gendi is the only dance form in India that uses stilts, Sela is performed with wooden sticks or poles. The participants wear scintillatingly colorful costumes, ornaments and bright headgear, which from the most important characteristic of the tribal dances. To add more charm to already colorful dance performances ghungroos and tiny tinkling bells are tied to body, which create a heart warming musical sounds making the environment liveier.

Karma, the most famous dance of Chhattisgarh, is performed by both the Baigas and the Gonds. Other vibrant tribal dances of Chhattisgarh include Bhagoriya (performed during the festival of Bhagoriya when the lord of dance is worshipped), Phag (a sword dance) and Lota (a dance from in which women dance with a pot full of water on their heads).


Asia’s only arts and music university is in the state. There is a unique collection of tribal dances, songs, stories and music in Chhattisgarh. Panthi, Bharathari, Sarhul, Karma, Dadariya, Sua are the other folk songs and dances of region.

Folk Dances of Bastar:

Bastar is very rich in folk culture. Tribal of this area were confined in them selves and isolated from rest of the world. Hence tribal arts were unaffected from outer impacts. Evidence of this fact is clearly seen in folk dances and folk songs of tribal of Bastar. Tribal people have kept their originality in their dance, songs, myths and music etc. and in other forms of arts. Hulk, Kaksaar and Gaur Sing Dance in Bastar are preserved in its original form and customs. Apart from these dances and songs, traditionally rich forms of stage arts are also present.


Gaur Dance: Related with Muria Tribal people, this festival is celebrated during time of enjoyment, especially during new crop. During this festival, Maria young boys wear the horn of Bison, decorated with shells and dance in a very attractive manner.

Gendi (Stilt) Dance: Young boys of Muria Tribal people dance very fast on stilts (Gendi) made of long bamboo. Physical balance and skills are specialty of this dance. This dance is specially performed in and out of “Ghotul” (youth club), which is called Ditong, and it is a dance without song.


Bhandri Dance: Young boys and girls of Muria Tribal people perform various types of songless dances at Ghotul, which is directed by a person.


Hulki Pata Dance: This is also a dance of Muria Tribal people. Main attraction of this dance is its song. It is a group dance of men and women.


Kaksaar Dance: This dance is performed to please their Linga Dev by Muria Tribal people. Songs of this dance is called Kaksaar Pata.


Folk Drama of Bastar:

Bhatra Naat: Bhatra Naat is prevalent in the eastern region of Bastar, near Orissa border where Bhatra Tribal people reside. It is also called Oriya drama (perhaps it had come from Orissa). In this drama, men wear masks. It is men’s drama. Mainly Bhatra Tribal people perform this drama therefore this form of drama is called Bhatra naat. Bhatra is an independent language, which is known to be an extension of Chhattisgarhi and Halbi languages, on which prominent effect of Oriya language can be seen. Most of the Bhatra naat is based on Mahabharta, Ramayana and other PURAN/ETHICAL stories such as Ravana Vadh, Kansa Vadh, Keechak Vadh etc. Bhatra naat starts after completion of harvesting. During spring and summer season, Bhatra naat can be seen conducted in various villages. People came to see the drama from 5 to 10 km distances from other villages on foot or bicycle. There is a good number of audiences for this drama in Bastar.


Maopata: Maopata is second folk drama of Bastar, which is prevalent in Muria Tribal people. This folk drama is based on hunting in which all the events starting from going for hunting to safe returning from hunting and celebration etc. are staged. Usually when the hunter returns from hunting, they narrate all the adventurous events of hunting to their fellow villagers in a very dramatized way. Maopata is a drama dance based on group hunting of bison (gaur).

Naacha deals with all the aspects and colors of life whether it is social, religious, cultural, economical or political. No other folk form in India explores various sides of life as Naacha. Moreover, it is not related with any particular religious group or community like many other folk forms are in Chhattisgarh and India. For examle, Panthi dance is related to satnam panth, Pandwani is based on Hindu religious epic Mahabharat, Ramleela is based on Ramayan. But with Naacha this is not the case. It could be anything, any aspect, any color of life.


Naacha is a combination of dance, drama, song, music, dialogue and acting whereas in panthi it is only song and dance, in Pandwani music and story, in Ramleela it is acting and music.


Unlike theatre, naacha is very different in its preparation and acting pattern. Artists of Naacha perform without a written script and without any involvement of a director. Naacha is a very effective and powerful improvisation and the process of building up the character all the time. But the original form of Naacha is missing and is getting influence from films.


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4 Responses to “Tribal and folk song and music”

RSS Feed for 'JOHAAR'- The Chhattisgarh Audio-Visual Production Comments RSS Feed

this is a good experiment,please aid photograph of each art form.


chhattisagarh song ring tone

This is very imformative article about art forms. sushil Trivedi 98911 98254

this is a good experiment,please aid more details and photograph of each art form.

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