7 Most Popular Folk Dances of India

The mere name of folk dance sets the tone for a native celebration in India. Unlike the classical dances of India, which have a long and complex history, folk dances are simple dances performed to express joy on various occasions. The land of rich soil and culture, India, is blessed with a plethora of folk dances. The nuisances of each dance vary according to their region. 

Also, the diversity in these dances makes them even more special. Each dance has a story to tell, and each step has a meaning. The elements involved in these dances are significant, from elaborative makeup to colourful costumes. Therefore, to understand the history and purpose of these dances, one must know about their background and culture.

List of the Folk Dances of India

Give this article a thorough reading to learn about India’s famous folk dances. Indeed, after this, you will be tempted to try them out. Also, don’t confuse folk dances with classical dances of India. These art forms are performed to express happiness on the occasion of festivals, religious rituals, harvests, births, weddings, etc. 



Bhangra is a popular folk dance in Punjab and is full of energy and enthusiasm. Embarking from the land of five rivers, this dance is performed to the beats of dhol and shehnai. The farmers initially used to perform this dance to express their joy after a good harvest.

Men are dressed in colourful attires with turbans on their heads, while women adorn themselves in traditional suits with dupattas. Phulkari, bangles, and Karas are some of the typical jewellery worn by them. Women of this state perform Giddha. You will always see people dancing to the beats of Bhangra, irrespective of the occasion.

Dandiya and Garba- Popular Folk Dance of India

Dandiya and Garba

The folk dance of Gujarat, Dandiya and Garba are very popular among all age groups. Performed during Navaratri, these dances are a treat to watch. The whole pomp and show involved in these dances are just exceptional. Everything about this dance is colourful, from bright costumes to intricate mirror work on them.

People form a circle and start dancing to the beats of traditional music using sticks (dandiya). The energy involved in this dance is just infectious and hard to resist. Various auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals are incomplete without these dances.



Women’s beauty is at its majestic peak when they perform Lavani- the folk dance of Maharashtra. It is a combination of traditional song and dance and is very popular in the Marathi culture. The dance is staged to the beats of dholak, harmonium, and manjeera.

The women look absolutely gorgeous when they adorn themself with heavy jewellery and a nine-yard saree. The presentation of various social issues that are conveyed light-heartedly is the best part of this dance form. The music’s high tempo and fast beats make this dance even more special.


ghoomar-folk dances of india

The traditional and beautiful folk dance of Rajasthan, Ghoomar, is performed by the women of the Bhil community. It is generally performed on special occasions like weddings and festivals. The highlight of this dance is the Ghaghra (a long skirt) worn by the women that twirl’ around gracefully while they move in a circle.

The rhythm of the traditional music and the sound of Ghaghra creates a wonderful ambience. The veils worn by the women while performing this dance add to the charm of the whole performance. The heavy jewellery that covers them from head to toe adds so much grace to their look.


Thiruvathirakali-folk dances of india

One of the unique folk dances of India, Thiruvathirakali, is performed by the women of Kerala. It is a dance in which women group together and move in a circle, following some simple steps. The highlight of this folk dance is that it does not involve any music. Instead, the women sing traditional songs while dancing.

They wear white saris with golden borders and adorn traditional gold jewellery. It is mainly performed on the auspicious day of Thiruvathira to seek lord Shiva’s blessings for marital bliss. Women perform this dance and enjoy themselves to the fullest.

Dhunuchi-  Folk Dances of India for Durga Puja

Dhunuchi-folk dances of india

The devotional folk dance of Bengal, Dhunuchi, is performed during the festival of Durga Puja. It is basically a form of aarti, in which the devotees perform puja for goddess Durga by waving Dhunuchi (earthen lamps) in their hands.

The whole ambience is filled with devotion and happiness. It is hard to take your eyes off the performance, as the dancers look so graceful while moving to the beats of traditional music. Adorning the red-bordered white sari, the women look beautiful while performing this divine folk dance.


bihu-folk dances of india

One of the well-known folk dances of India, Bihu, is performed in Assam. It is basically a harvest dance, which the farmers perform to express their joy after a good crop. The dance is accompanied by traditional music, played on instruments like pipes, drums, and cymbals.

The dance can be popularly spectated during the month of January, April and October. Performed in groups, the dancers wear traditional clothes and jewellery. The whole atmosphere is filled with happiness and joy. There is no scope for dull moments while watching this amazing dance.


These were some of the famous folk dances of India. Each state has its own unique folk dance style, which is an integral part of its culture. These folk dances of India are a treat to watch and will leave you spellbound. Also, there is an enormous amount of things to learn about the culture of India through its folk dances. So, the next time you get a chance, do watch these fantastic dances and get enthralled by their beauty. You should also check India’s museums that hold the history of the golden nation.

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