Nepal as a whole has more than 100 different ethnic groups and, expectedly, what you get is a multitude of languages and culture including of course, a fascinating variety of dances. Here are the more popular Nepali dances of the hills.
Maruni Dance: A popular dance of the eastern hills, it was originally performed only during the Tihar festival when the dancers go from house to house. It is now performed during other festivals too. Previously, males dressed as females used to be the dancers, but nowadays young girls perform the dance which also includes a joker like figure (dhatu waray, meaning liar) who injects humour into the routine. Based on the shingar ras (‘beautiful expression’), nine instruments (naumati baja) provide the music in which the beats of the madal (a two headed drum) and the tune of the bansuri (flute) predominate. In the western hills, the Maruni dance is performed in July-August and ends in December-January.
Sorathi Dance: A group dance of the western Nepal’s Gurungs, it is performed over 16 days between the Dashain and Tihar festivals. It re-enacts the legend of a king had seven wives but was childless nonetheless. The youngest queen at last bears a daughter whom the other queens throw into a river out of jealousy. The child is saved by a fisherman who raises her as his own. The dance enacts all this and at the end, the plot is revealed, with the mother and daughter reunited and the guilty ones punished.
Ghanto Dance: Another Gurung dance, it is performed by pre-pubertal girls (called ghansaris or ghatonis). Beginning during Magh Panchami (near January-end) the dance ends on Baisakh Purnima (around April-end or beginning of May) with the final episode performed over three days. The dancers dance trance-like with closed eyes clad in a ghanto dress that includes traditional jewellery and special headgear. The movements involve twisting, rising, sinking and then turning in squatting positions with hands barely touching the ground; all this to the hypnotic chant of a ballad accompanied by the beat of madals. The life story of King Parsuram and his queen including his death and her immolation (sati) and subsequent reincarnation are all re-enacted in this leisurely dance form. Ghanto dances are of three types: Sati, Baramasye and Kusunda ghanto with the first being of a rigid nature while the other two are of more flexible nature.
Tamang Selo Dance: A vigorous dance of the inhabitants of the country’s middle hills, the Tamangs, it is a group dance performed during rituals and communal ceremonies. The rhythmic beat of the damphu (a hand held drum) accompanies the dance; it is also known as damphu dance.
Shebru Dance: This dance is performed by Sherpa communities living in the Himalayan regions. Shebru means feet (shybru) and rhythm (ru),
The Magars and Gurungs have a dance called Khyali dance during which young men compete in displaying their talents so as to win a wife for themselves. Some other dances of the hills are the Dhan and Chyabrung dances of the Limbus,; the Jhayure dance, also of the Limbus, Magars and Gurungs; and the Magars’ Kauda dance that is based on the theme of love. The Rodhi dance is a Gurung dance performed in the rodhi ghar (a communal home to facilitate interaction between young folks) which was once hugely popular. The Tappa dance is a dance of Dang district of far western Nepal which begins slowly and picks up tempo towards the end. The Chudka dance is another group dance of the eastern and western hills performed during Phagu Purnima in March.Fasting women in red saris and heavily laden jewellery dance the Sangini dance during the three day long festival of Teej (in August).
Title Photo by TAAN Nepal
Tours |Jul 14, 2023
The white mist followed us to the resort as we walked back from the village, just when the sun was setting in. We were told that the landscape of Terai were one of the best ones in the country by our resort manager, especially during the evenings.
Nepal |Jun 22, 2023
Nepal has the biggest mountains on earth and the most abundant natural beauty. Similarly, Nepal has some of the most sacred shrines which makes it an ideal destination for a spiritual journey and a favored place for religious tours.
Others |Jun 22, 2023
So many of the streets are dotted with local shaving joints. You seem not to notice them at first but when you’re on the look out you’ll realise that they’re everywhere.
Tours |May 31, 2013
It is the center of the world, according to ancient texts. Four of the world’s mightiest rivers, Indus (also known as Sindhu in India),
Trekking |Jun 14, 2023
These are fast moving times; changes happen overnight. Such has been the case throughout different regions of the world, and such has been the case here in Nepal too. One of the biggest changes to happen was the fall of the 250-year-old Shah monarchy
Nepal |Sep 19, 2022
Tansen is a picturesque little town in Palpa district of western Nepal. It’s not far from Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, the Apostle of Peace.
Trekking |Jun 14, 2023
Located on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River, Jomsom is the district headquarters of Mustang district. It is also known as Dzongsam (New Fort) and has Dhaulagiri (8,167 m) and Nilgiri (7.061 m) peaks as its backdrop.
Impact Tourism |Jul 5, 2023
1997 to 2000 were boom years for the pashmina industry in Nepal. Markets in the West were so enamored by the elegance of Nepali pashmina that they just couldn’t have enough. According to a leading manufacturer then, orders were doubling and quadrupling every other month.
Others |Jun 10, 2014
“Welcome to Nepal, Land of Adventure.” This is probably one of the slogans that attracted you to go on a Nepal travel.
Tours |Jun 20, 2023
But, have you seen the Karnali Bridge over the Karnali River in Chisapani? Bet you haven’t! On the other hand, you could have, if you had visited the Bardiya National Park in far west Nepal. Well, Chisapani is not far from this famous park.
Nepal |Mar 14, 2015
On March 27, 2017 (Friday), the army grounds aligning Tundikhel in central Kathmandu will reverberate under the thundering hooves of many magnificent horses.