Udaipur has received a rich cultural heritage from the bygone ages. The lakes, temples, huge forts and palaces boast about the rich legacy of this city. The city has kept a balance between preserving the rituals and traditions of the past while keeping up with the modern advancements and changes in lifestyle. Like any other place in the state of Rajasthan, folk dance and music have an important place in adding to the city’s cultural richness. The dynamic and vibrant dances of Bhavai, Ghoomar, Kachchhi Ghodi, Kalbeliya and Terahtaali add a sparkle to the rich cultural heritage of Udaipur.
Ghoomar dance is a part of the tribal culture of the Mewar Region of Rajasthan. This is a community dance for women and performed on auspicious occasions where the ladies move gracefully in circles.
Kalbelia, one of the most sensuous dance forms of Rajasthan, is performed by the Kalbeliya snake charmers’ community with the sapera dancers wearing long, black skirts embroidered with silver ribbons.
Bhavai dance consists of veiled women dancers balancing up to seven or nine brass pitchers as they dance nimbly, pirouetting and then swaying with the soles of their feet perched on the top of a glass or on the edge of the sword
Kachchhi Ghodi dance dance is performed on dummy horses where men in elaborate costumes ride the equally well decorated dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these dancers move rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes.
Dharohar Dance Show @ Bagore-ki-Haveli, near Gangaur Ghat, ☎ 94141-55904 . A 60-minute Rajastani dance and marionette puppet show. Includes live music with local instruments, local folk dancing, and a lady balancing up to 9 stacked pots on her head. A must-see! Admission: ₹100; Camera fee: ₹100.
Puppet Show @ Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal, Saheli Marg, Madhuban (In the north of the city, 300m north of Chetak Circle). Daily 60-minute puppet show at 6PM. Great for children. ₹50.
Shilpgram, Frequently hosts plays and dance performances. No schedule is posted – inquire while you are in town.
Gangaur is one of the most important local festivals in Rajasthan. In some form or the other it is celebrated all over Rajasthan. “gan” is a synonym for Lord Shiva and “gauri” or “gaur” stands for Goddess Parvati, the heavenly consort of Lord Shiva. Gangaur celebrates the union of the two and is a symbol of conjugal and marital happiness.
It is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March–April), the first month of the Hindu calendar. This month marks the end of winter and the onset of spring. This festival is celebrated especially by women, who worship clay idols of “Gan” & “Gauri” in their houses. These idols are worshiped by the virgins who seek the blessings of Gan and Gauri for a good spouse, while the married women pray for the good health and long life of their husbands. On the eve of Gangaur festival, women decorate their palms and fingers with henna. The idols of Gan and Gauri are immersed in a pond or in a nearby lake on the last day of the festival.
A traditional procession of Gangaur commences from the City Palace which passes through various areas of the city. The procession is headed by an old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts and performance by folk artistes.
- Shilpgram Utsav –
Shilpgram, a crafts village 3 km west of Lake Fateh Sagar, has displays of traditional houses from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra. There are also demonstrations by musicians, dancers, or artisans from these states. The 10 day festival organised here is a treat for the visitor to an array of exquisite art and craft. One of the important objectives of Shilpgram festival is in the sphere of increasing awareness and knowledge of rural life and crafts, specifically, for the younger generation. Special emphasis is laid on workshops for children on arts, crafts, theatre and music.
- Hariyali Amavasya –
Hariyali Amavasya (new moon day of the Sawan / Shravan month) marks the beginning of the monsoons and greenery. It arrvies three days before the famous Hartalika Teej (Shravan Shukla Tritiya). People worship God Shiva for abundant rains and good agricultural season. Melas and fests are arranged in several places in the city.
- Jagannath Rath Yatra –
In udaipur, the third biggest Ratha Yatra is organised on the auspicious day of Ashadh Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) Dwitiya according to Indian Vikram Samvat. On this cultural day of summer solstice theme, June 21 of every year, the journey of the lord jagannath to their aunts house is started. The presiding deities of the temple lord Jagannath (Krishna), Balabhadra (Balarama) and their sister Subhadra are taken through the streets in heavily decorated wooden chariots, which are made every year for the purpose. The Chariot of Lord Jagannath, called Nandighosha, has 16 wheels and is draped in red and yellow.
The sanctity of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered enough to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance for ages.
Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi –
According to the Hindu calendar, Gyaras, or Ekadashi is basically, the 11th day of each waxing (Shukla paksha ) and waning moon (Krishna paksha). This ekadashi, known as Jal-Jhulni Gyaras, or Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi, like all other festivals, is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Udaipur. Different processions start from the various parts of the city and end at one point i.e. Gangaur Ghat where people swing the idols of Lord Krishna in child form (Baal Gopal) in the Lake Pichola. These procession are called Ram Revdies.