Monday, January 6, 2014



(Children from Manghaniyar community dancing inside the sand dunes of village SAM Near Jaisalmer..
Photo Autar Mota) 


                 ( A kalbeliya Dancer with some Tourists at Sam Sand dunes  Photo Autar Mota )

The Barrenness of the Thar desert is made colourful by the people through their dress, dance and music . The kalbeliya dance performed by Kalbeliya tribe ( also known as Saperas and Jogis in Thar ) is now popular in western countries as well. Mirasis, Nats and Bhopas are also professional singing communities living in the Desert. Other dances of the desert are Ghoomar ,Ghair and Dandhiya .

              ( Khuda Bux and party from jaisalmer  performing in a live concert . Photo Autar Mota )

 Some important Fairs and festivals of the Desert  land of Jaisalmer are the GANGAUR ( held in the month of March/ April ) , Desert Festival ( Held in the month of January / February each year  ) and the Ramdev Fair ( held in the month of August / September  each year ).People also celebrate  Deepawali, Holi , Idd and  Dussehra  .

Turbans are considered a matter of pride by desert people . People of all ages wear colourful turbans on festivities and family functions . Men living in villages like to  wear Dhoti, Kurta or  Chola . They also wear earrings known as Murkians . Jooti or locally made camel skin shoes are preferred .

Women wear Ghagra , kanchali , choli , lehnaga and Odhini .Married women wear bangles known as Chudaa .women also wear ornaments   called  Paajeib , Teeka , Nath ,Jhumka , Bichhiya , Baajoobandh , Hathhpol ,Nimboli , Kanthi , Hansuli , Anguthee and  other ornaments .They also use Henna for dying their palms and feet .

Kamayacha , Ravanhatta ,Sarangi , Algocha , Conch , Rawaz , Shehnaai ,Surnaai , Murli , Nar , Morchang , Karthal , Dolki , Dhol , Pungi and Duffli are some popular instruments of Desert Music .Singing is a profession of Langa and Manghaniyar community of Muslims ( Hindus Originally who converted to Islam in 17th century. Some Manghaniyars are Hindus as well ) living in the desert.

The Puppeteers or kathputli dance performers are another gr and attraction of the desert .The dandling Puppets are made to dance accompanied by singing of Ballads . Musical instruments are also used by the performers . Puppeteers were patronized by Kings and wealthy traders .

                            Ragas used in Desert folk songs of Rajasthan are Maand, Bilawal, Kafi, Desh, Khamaj and Peelu. Some Ragas are in pure form while others are in combinations. Maand is the greatest contribution of Rajasthani music to the classical music of India .In fact the popular Rajasthani folk song KESARIYA BALAM has been sung in MAAND style only.Some famous Mand singers from Rajasthan are : Allah Jilai Bai ,Mangi Bai and Gavari Bai and all of them have been awarded Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for their contribution in enriching Indian classical Music .

                                          ( Allah Jilai Bai , the Most Popular Maand singer 1902-1992 )
The desert songs are mostly about Water, Holi Festival, Peacocks , Flowers , Rajput Valor, Romance , Love tales of Dhola- Maru or Moomal -Mahendra . The water songs sung by women are centered around the village well. This singing style is called 'Panihari'.
'Gorbund' is the famous folk song of the desert which represents the practice of preparing an ornamental string for a camel. The popular Gorband song is “ Mhaaro Nakhraalo Gorband.. Lad Jhooma Jhooma .. ”

And then the most popular song of the Desert

*Nimboodaa Nimboodaa Nimboodaa --
Array kacha kacha chhotha chhotha
Nimboodaa layii do ……..

The song NIMBOODA has been sung for ages by LANGA and MANGHANIYAR Folk singers of the Desert . And our cinema spread this lovely desert folk song to the entire length and breadth of the country ………….

( Autar Mota 05.01.2014 ) 

 *Nimbooda means small unripe lemon. In the song a young woman from the lesser hot plains ( who is married in a desert family ) requests her husband to buy her some lemons from nearby city . The lemons could be of a smaller size even but she is desperate to have them. . This shall enable her to quench her thirst in Thaar desert  . The lemons shall also help to protect her against evil and envious eyes of people. I was informed by many people from the desert that Pregnant women in Thaar are always asked to sip lemon juice. Hence a lemon is linked to the folk culture and tradition of the desert life.

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  1. The attractions of the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan include snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers, etc.
    Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2014

  2. Lovely pics. Jaisalmer, this enticing city of Rajasthan is the most popular tourist spot in the state. Embraced in the vast and mighty desert, the city depicts the grandeur of the royal medieval era and holds great historic value. Explore all best hotels in Jaisalmer.


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