Traditional Dance of Dehradun, India

by Cara Batema Google
Long skirts are worn by female dancers.

Long skirts are worn by female dancers. Images

The area of Dehradun, India, located in the Doon Valley, is about 246 kilometers from Delhi. Dehradun is the capital of the Uttarakand state, which is rich in cultural heritage. Music and dance make up a large part of the Uttarakand tradition. There are many types of dance from this region, including some gymnastic-like movements and ceremonial dances. Dances are often used as a part of religious, spiritual and social events.


The Dehradun location is surrounded by mountains. The Sivak hills lie to the south, the Himalayas are to north and the Ganges to the east. The Yamuna River runs on the west side of the region. All these beautiful natural surroundings have provided great inspiration for the artists in the region, including traditional folk dance and music. The Garhwal and Kumaon divisions of the Uttarakand, in particular, are enthusiasts of dance and folk music.


Dehradun is one of the oldest cities in India. The area has passed through the control of several groups, including the Sikhs, Mughals and Gorkhas. The British took control of the Dehradun in the 1800s, and the British period lasted until 1968. Throughout time, the Dehradun area transformed from a quiet, sub-Himalayan town to a bustling city.

Types of Dance

There are several types of folk dance from the Dehradun. Bhotiya is related to death ceremonies; the soul of the deceased is released through dance. The Langvir Nritya is usually performed only by males; the dhol and damana, percussion instruments, provide the beat for this dance. The Langvir Nritya is very acrobatic and includes dancers balancing and rotating around a bamboo pole. The Barada Nati is performed by males and females, and it is used mostly before some religious festivals and social gatherings. The Pandav Nritya is a dance that narrates the story of the Mahabharata.


Traditional dress is often a part of each dance. Sarongs, burkhas and long skirts are worn by women, and men wear turbans and kurta pajamas. Most dancers who perform today wear traditional garments in bright colors. Dressmakers are skilled in embroidery, so the costumes often include great detail.

About the Author

Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.

Photo Credits

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