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Krishna Knowing her mind from afar, playfully causes the peacocks to disappear, leaving Radha distraught. He eventually yields to Radha’s entreaties and himself appears in the guise of a peacock to dance with his beloved.
Mayur Dance, Uttar Pradesh (Northern India)
The Mayur or peacock dance is created from an episode in the love lore of Radha and Krishna: Radha, pining for Krishna after a brief separation, decides to console herself by the sight of peacocks, whose feathers Krishna wears on his crown, at the Mor Kuti pavilion. Krishna, knowing her mind from afar, playfully causes the peacocks to disappear, leaving Radha distraught. He eventually yields to Radha’s entreaties and himself appears in the guise of a peacock to dance with his beloved.
This dance belongs to the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh with its core at Mathura and Vrindavan, places associated with Lord Krishna
Mayur dance portrays the beautiful dance performed by the peacock before rainfall. This dance, performed during the monsoon season to celebrate the greenery brought by the rain.
The Mayur dance depicts the love between Lord Krishna and Radha. Lord Krishna in his eagerness to please his beloved, changes into a peacock and dances.
He is joined by Radha in this dance. The dancer’s attire themselves in peacock costumes, which are attached with colourful feathers. The movements capture the mood of the peacock in its full splendour. The beautiful tilts and turns of the head and wings performed by the dancers contain a typical style and charm. Charkula logo represents the traditional folk dance of Utter Pradesh named “CHARKULA”. The Charkula dance is associated with the Braj area of Uttar Pradesh and in particular with the village of Mukhrai in Mathura.
This female-dominated dance is performed during the monsoon and the other occasions of festivity. The faces of women are veiled. The inspiration for the dance is believed to have come from Radha’s grandmother, who is believed to have run out of her house with a wheel on her head to give the news of Radha’s birth. While dancing, women carry a multi-tiered heavy wheel on their heads.
This wheel has 108 oil lamps placed on the rim of each wheel and pots in the centre and its weight ranges about 50 KG. While women dance, the men sing Rasia folk songs in honour of Lord Krishna.
The instruments used in this dance are Nagara (drum), Algoza ( wind instrument), Thali (brass plate used for beat), Bansuri (flute) Majira, Khartal (cymbals) and harmonium.
Raslila and other Popular Folk Dances of Uttar Pradesh
Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh
Mayur dance is created from an episode of love between Radha and Krishna. This dance belongs to the Braj region of Uttarpradesh. In that Radha, pinning for Krishna after a brief separation decides to console herself by the sight of peacocks, whose feathers, Krishna wears on his crown, at the Mor Kuti Pavillion.
Uttar Pradesh is an Indian state with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. According to Indian mythology, it also boasts to be the state where god Shri Ram and Krishna were born (Raslila). The cities like Varanasi and Mathura have a historical past of more than 2000 years and have been the incubators of several art and dance forms. Some of the major folk dances of Uttar Pradesh are mentioned below.
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Folk Dances of India
One of the most spectacular folk dances of Uttar Pradesh which is widely popular in the Braj region of western Uttar Pradesh. It’s a tough act of balance where a veiled woman dancer performs with 108 oil lamps on her head placed on a wooden pyramid platform. The songs are primarily written to praise and revere Lord Krishna who was born in this region.
Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh
The dance is usually performed on the third day of the famous Hindu festival of Holi. It is said that Radha was born on this day and since then Charkula dance is performed in Braj. Due to the placement of lighted earthen oil lamps, the movement in this dance form is swift and graceful. The loose ghagra is colorful and helpful for free and swift movements during the dance performance. The folk dance is popular amongst the Brahmin community in the Mathura district.
Khyal folk dance has evolved since its origin and matured into different styles which are named either on the city where they originated or on the community or author who developed them. These styles are famous across several regions with some subtle changes which help us in differentiating them from the other. Some popular Khyal forms are Jaipuri Khyal, Abhinaya Khyal, Ali Baksh Khyal, etc. All these Khyal performances invoke tales of bravery, sentiments, romance from the Puranas and portray them in an interesting manner.
Several local musical instruments like Dholak, Harmonium, etc. are pivotal for any Khyal performance. The songs primarily begin by paying tribute to the respected deities. The cast mostly is male with an Ustaad who is usually the director of the performance and is well versed with the song and dance moves.
Many of us will be familiar with Raslila which has been introduced to us through mythological stories in Bhagwad Gita. The Raslila was the act where Lord Krishna danced and sang with the gopis on the banks of river Krishna in the Vrindavan region. This art form is particularly famous in western Uttar Pradesh and portrays the life tales of Krishna ranging from his childhood till his adolescence.
Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh
The art form is colorful and glossy with graceful dance movements and facial expressions. It also captures the divine love that Gopikas from Braj (Mathura) had for Krishna. Raslila also explores the relation of Krishna and Radha whose incorruptible love for each other is revered to this very day. The folk dance is performed by mandalas (a group of people) who roam from one place to another playing instruments like dholak, flute and singing the legends of Lord Krishna.
Ramlila is another dance form that is primarily practiced in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Bihar. It could also be one of the oldest folk dances of Uttar Pradesh. It depicts the life of Lord Rama in play and dance form. Just like Raslila, Ramlila takes us to the life journey of god Rama who is believed to be another incarnation of God Vishnu.
The entire Ramlila is a sequence of plays that continue for varying durations between 7 to 30 days. The dance has spiritual connectivity and is quite popular in the rural belts of these states. Since this folk form is mainly performed during the Dussehra festival, it makes the folk dance an innate part of religious culture and practice. The stage for Ramlila performances is decorated with props to create a scene from the play and an in-depth effort is made to get the jewelry, costumes, and make-up right.
The conversations between the characters happen through small dialogues or songs. The songs are performed on musical instruments like Tabla and Harmonium.