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Tribal Dance of Jalpaiguri

Tribal dances of Jalpaiguri are beautifully rendered simple dance forms whose rhythms convey the dancer’s joy. They are usually collectively performed for a variety of occasions like weddings, festivals, arrival of seasons, ushering of new life, harvest etc. They can also convey their point on social issues. Jalpaiguri tribal dances showcase the rich cultural diversity and ethos of a particular community or ethnic group. The vigour and spontaneity of these dance forms reflect the rhythms of daily living.

Tribal Dance of Jalpaiguri
Rabha Dance in Jalpaiguri

Every village have their individual tribal dances and are danced by ordinary tribal and rural tribal on specific occasions. The inner rhythm of these dance forms of Jalpaiguri convey their simple lifestyle living in natural harmony. For example, the “Chaibari nritya” is a dance form danced by the tea garden workers of the Dooars region against the mesmerizing backdrop of the verdant tea plantations.

Tribal Dance of Jalpaiguri
Tribal Folk Dance in Jalpaiguri (Source: flickr)

The dancers wear elaborate jewellery and intricate costumes and their rhythmic movement set against melodious music adds to the beauty and charm of the dance form. The colourful dance “Domphu nrtiya” derives its name from Domphu, i.e. their musical instrument. The dancers of “Domphu nritya” give expression to their aspirations, joys and hopes through their folk dance performance.

Find below some of the tribal dances of Jalpaiguri which have enriched the socio-cultural heritage of the region:

  • Rabha Dance - The Rabha dance form is gaining increasing popularity among the tribal and folk dances of India. They are performed by the women from the Rabha community and are popular throughout North Bengal. It is accompanied by the playing of music by men. The musical instruments are Hem, or a drum which has two faces, Baranshi or a bamboo flute, Dandi & barding which are idiophones made out of bamboo and Karnal which is essentially a tribal instrument made from buffalo horn and bamboo.

    The Rabha community women have different dance forms for different occasions like the “Braisar Pridan” i.e. their New Year’s dance, the “Fai Nang Ning Mein” which is a welcome dance and “Larai Lunge” which is their war dance. Rabha dancing describes daily community life and displays the intrinsic joy that enlivens their festivals.

    Tribal Dance of Jalpaiguri
    Mech Dance in Jalpaiguri

  • Mech Dance - Originating in the Jalpaiguri district, this is another interesting dance form popular in North Bengal. Set to the natural rhythm of turbulent rivers, mountains and forest, Mech dance captures the varied emotions and expressions of these tribal people living in natural harmony. There are different variations of Mech dance. For example, the “Bagroomba” dance is performed by the women folk of the Mech tribe at spring festivals and their colourful costumes symbolise butterflies celebrating this time of new life and new beginnings.

    The “Mesa Glang Nai” dance is another dance variation of the Mech women where they exhort the community’s youth to be hardworking and industrious. They are also addressed to retain the purity of their body and mind. The “Chal Jhumgre Gele Nai” dance is the war dance of the Mech tribe characterized by martial and rhythmic style.

    Tribal Dance of Jalpaiguri
    Rajbanshi Dance Troupe

  • Rajbanshi Dance - One of the important tribes of Jalpaiguri district, the life of the Rajbanshis centres on the Teesta River which is their lifeline. The River Teesta is worshipped as their goddess and their dance form is performed to invoke its blessings. Some of the musical instruments which accompany their graceful dance include the Dhol, Kartal, Kanshi and the Mukhabanshi.
  • Dukpa Dance - Among the Dukpa tribes, every festival is characterized by dancing, singing and archery. They use “Sekta” as a term to denote dance in their language. There is however no musical accompaniment to their dance. Both men and women dance to the rhythm provided by songs.

There are also a number of festival dances like Karom, Jitia, Bandna and Gaburdeb which is increasingly gaining popularity among the local Jalpaiguri population and frequently performed during their festivities.

Explore more about Culture of Jalpaiguri

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