Punjabi Dance

Enriching the air of the state with glory and exultation, the various forms of Punjabi Dance expresses the jovial spirit of the local people. Derived from the cultural opulence of the past rulers, the different types of Dances of Punjab express the core tradition of the place.

From From Bhangra, Gidda, Jhumar, Jaago to Luddi, Kikli, Julli, Dhamal, Sammi and Teeyan, all the Dances of the state expresses a multi-hued traditional platform of vibrancy and dynamism.

The agricultural produce of Punjab occupies a special place in the life of every Punjabi. The indigenous Bhangra Dance symbolizes the flourishing harvest of the state. To celebrate the joy of a productive farm yield, the peasants of the villages of Punjab come out beating dhols and Dance jubilantly forming a circle. This Dance is performed on the 13th of April on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Dance Forms in Punjab


Punjab, the rambling land of ancient Indian culture and folklore is also noted for its exuberant and colorful dance forms. The womenfolk solely perform Gidda, a Punjabi folkdance, similar to the more eminent Bhangra. Those who are not familiar with the nitty-gritty's of Punjabi dance often tend to confuse the two.

Gidda resembles a narrative where the women enact bolis complete with music, poetry and dance. They topics usually deal with contemporary domestic issues ranging from bitter arguments with the in-laws, family politics, the excesses of an amorous husband sisters and mothers, loneliness of a young lovelorn bride estranged from her husband to the evils of society or expressing guileless deep love.

A highly energetic dance, the dancers sway in sync with the drumbeats and the clapping of their palms. Derived from the ancient ring dance, the satiric verses are performed by a group of girls. One girl sings the bolis and when the cadence rises when the last but one line of the song is reached the others join in the vigorous dance. Another girl plays on the traditional dholki.

Gidda is a lively dance with brisk swift movements. When the pace of the songs increases, the girls dance in unison to it. Their embroidered dupattas and ethnic jewelry emphasize the quick turns as they dance to the vivacious tunes. The female dancers are clad in a short choli with a lower ghagra or lehnga or simple a vibrant Punjabi Salwar-Kameez. The apparel is embellished with jewelry and accessories that comprise of the suggi-phul (worn on head) to pazaibs (anklets), haar-hamela, (gem-studded golden necklace) baazu-band (worn around upper-arm) and raani-haar (a long necklace made of solid gold).

Gidda, one of the most popular Punjabi dance forms mesmerizes tourists.


Punjab, a land of fantastic folklores and cultural extravaganzas is also not for its colorful and energetic dance forms. Contrary to popular belief, Bhangra and Gidda are not the only Punjabi dances. The hallmark of gaiety, Jhumar is another popular dance form of the state.

Originating from Pakistan's Sandalbar, the elegant Jhumar dance is an integral part of the quintessential Punjabi folk culture. The drummer is seated in the center and encircled by dancers who encircle him and dance gaily singing the merry tunes.

The Jhumar dance is a tribute to human happiness. It is performed exclusively by the local men folk during fairs, weddings and other major festivals and celebrations. It is a wonderful experience to see three generations -grandfather, father and son sway together to the Jhumar beats. Jhumar is composed of three predominant moods to suit different occasions and is hence suitable for all joyous celebrations.

The dancers dress in colorful, gaudy costumes resembling the Bhangra wear and sway to and fro to the lilt of soul stirring and emotional tunes. Devoid of complex acrobatic, it is merely a movement of arms with slight feet movements and a few twists and turns. This highly popular dance, performed on beautiful moonlit nights under the open sky has been fused with the Bhangra. As the dancers move the make a soft "dee-dee" hum to enhance the beauty and appeal of this highly alluring dance.

Danced by all generations of Punjabi men folk together, Jhumar is a popular dance that is enormously enjoyed by the young and old, rich and poor, men and women and locals and tourists alike.

Jaago Dance

Punjabi culture does not merely symbolize the ancient Sikh legacy. The industrious Punjabis like to have a bit of fun at the end of a hard day's work and thus their culture abounds in lively music and colorful dances. Jago, a dance that is performed to celebrate the wedding festivities deserves special mention.

The term 'Jago' in Hindi literally means to 'wake up'. Like its connotation, this popular dance tends to arouse the members of a household where a marriage is in progress. The young and frivolous girls of the family, where is a wedding is about to take place dance gaily through the village streets carrying a pot of jaggery decorated with illuminated candles and loudly chant the Jago tunes.

The social verses are almost usually aimed at elders and have a slight teasing and witty tone. The night before the consumption of the nuptial vows, the female relatives and friends of the bridegroom prepare a 'Jago' on the balconies on a myriad of surfaces. Lamps are made out of dough consisting of wheat flour in the pattern of stars. They are then filled with ghee or oil and the cotton wicks are lit. This model is then placed on the head of the of groom's mothers' brothers' wife who leads the bevy of women folk who gaily sing, dance and frolic about the groom's village. They visit the groom's neighbors and accept humble gifts of food, grain and ghee for the lamps as blessings for the couple and spend nights rejoicing in gaiety and merriment.

Jago is a beautiful Punjabi cultural celebration to ensure conjugal bliss.


Punjab, the hot seat of ancient Indian culture is the home of exuberant and vivacious people who love to celebrate. No celebration or festival is ever complete without an energetic bout of music and dance. Luddi is one such local folk dance that is enjoyed by the young and old alike.

Luddi is a traditional Punjabi folk dance that celebrates the people's triumphs. The dancers exhibit special head movements and cover their face with one hand and place the other on their partner's back and dance with sinuous, serpentine movements. The dancers dance in sync with the drummer placed in the center of the group.

A prominent dance performed by the Punjabi men, Luddi dancers celebrate victory and joy. Their apparels are simple comprising of a loose kurta worn with a loincloth. On certain occasions, an added turban completes the ensemble. The dances mimic the slow and slithery movements of a snake's head as they celebrate their triumphs and tribulations.

This highly popular dance form attracts throngs of admirers while it is being performed who keep moving forward along with the dancers in their unabated excitement. This dance is predominant in the areas surrounding the banks of the Sutlej in Pakistan and saw its inception from the days when the Punjabi Sardars rescued the Indian women folk who ha been held captive in the Middle East.

This beautiful dance, a hallmark of Punjab's victories and triumphs has also been infused with traces of Bhangra to add to its global appeal.


Punjab, an epicenter of ancient Indian learning and cultural efflorescence celebrates a myriad of festivals. The Punjabi's have it all; special dances for the men, women and even the young Punjabi girls. Kikli is more of sport form than a dance that is enjoyed by the young Punjabi girls. The youth of Punjab celebrate this athletic dance by them with great gusto.

Kikli is a beautiful dance performed by women in pairs or quartets. The women cross their arms, hold each other's hands and twirl energetically singing folk songs. More of an athletic sport, the general idea is to perform the dance in pains. Hence an even number of dancers is mandatory.

The dance commences with the couples facing one another with their feet touching and body inclined backwards. Standing in this convoluted pose, the dancers stretch their arms to the maximum possible angle and intertwine their hands about each other. The pairs delicately balance themselves to maintain this pose and rotate swiftly with their feet rooted firmly to the same spot in the ground.

The girl's dance to a multitude of tunes selected from the diverse repertoire of traditional songs and adorn their outfits with colorful dupattas and churnis and their feet are decked with pretty anklets that tinkle melodiously as they sway gracefully to the music.

Kikli, one of Punjabi culture's most vivacious folk dances is highly enjoyed by the youth and draws admiring crowds who gather to watch the young and pretty girls perform their acrobatic heroics with unabated vitality and freshness.


Punjab, like its eastern counterpart West Bengal celebrates myriads of festivals. Besides the usual weddings, parties, birthdays, joys, sorrows, victories and deaths, religion also plays a significant role in Punjabi culture and folk dance. Julli or Juli is one such dance performed by the ancient Muslim Pirs.

The revered Muslim saints and recluses, who are popularly known as pirs perform the sacred Juli dance during their pilgrimages called khangahs. This dance is performed in various forms. Sometimes the dancers who are clad in pure black clothing remain sitting, while on other occasions, the dancers dance around the graves of the venerable and the departed.

Sometimes a sole hermit also performs this holy dance. The Juli dancer dances with his toes constricted and clutching a thick wooden staff in his hands and covering his skull with a dark, black scarf. The faithful disciples, locally known as the murids, sometimes embellish their black apparels with a ghungroo around their waists. These decorative bells jingle merrily as the dancer sways to the lilting melodies of the holy chants. The dance is brisk and swift and depicts the athletic prowess of the holy men. It rapidly gains in cadence and then slowly dies down in pace.

To add a modern appeal to this beautiful dance performed by saints and vagabonds, brimming with religious fervor elements of Bhangra have been skillfully blended keeping the unique traditional spirit of Julli alive.


The beautiful state of Punjab is rightly known by the nom de plume, the smiling soul of India. Punjab, with its lush green farmlands is inhabited by industrious and jovial people who love to let down their hair and frolic amidst good food, music and dance. Among the renowned Punjabi dances, Dhamal deserves special mention.

Dhamal is a popular dance form that resembles Bhangra, the supreme monarch of Punjabi dance in more ways than one. It is an archetypal male dance form where the men form a close knit circle and dance gaily to merry tunes. However it has failed to achieve the enormous popularity and global recognition that is associated with Bhangra.

The men folk perform colorful and exuberant dance with skill and vivacity. They sway in sync to the accompanying percussion instrument, the dhol, the native form of the traditional drum. It is performed by all generations of men to pay a tribute to the bounty of nature and the happiness of men. Nuptial ceremonies, religious and harvesting festivals as well as high profile-bashes all witness the performance of this energetic dance.

The dance requires considerable athletic prowess with the men deftly performing brisk and quick steps dressed in striking and vibrantly colored costumes. They are often accompanied by colorful sticks which enhance the beauty and the aesthetic appeal of the dance and also produce a melodious resonance.

The picturesque natural beauty of the fertile terrains of Punjab is accentuated by its multitude of captivating folk dances like the exquisite Dhamal.


Punjab, the quixotic blend of the bucolic and the urban, is characterized by with rich blue skies, rambling expanse of green fields, hardworking and cheerful people, nutritious and tasty food and of course excellent music personified by the cheerful Bhangra.

Bhangra is one of the most popular dance forms in the country. During its days of inception, Bhangra was performed on Baisakhi nights to welcome the harvesting season. Post independence it became accepted as a performing art. Today it is widely celebrated in wedding parties, receptions, birthdays, competitions, and other happy occasions.

On 13th April, Baisakhi, several Punjabi farmers, engineers, teachers, shop owners, and other sorts of people perform Bhangra. Villagers have a merry time dancing energetically to the beats of the local dhols. People of all ages and all social strata celebrate the dance unanimously.

The people wear colorful costumes and dance to the tunes of the lively music. The highly popular music form has proliferated abroad and is a now a rage in all-international bashes. The catchy traditional Bhangra tunes are jazzed up with western instruments as well as traces of reggae, rhythm and blues, trance, retro, house, hip-hop and underground music to give the music a global appeal.

One of the most popular Bhangra exponents, who was responsible for the widespread popularity of the music is Daler Mehendi, the uncontested monarch of modern Punjabi music. His lively songs and colorful dances were a rage all across India, the United States and United Kingdom. A philanthropist by nature, he has tried his level best to promote Punjabi music for social and humanitarian causes.

On 13th April, Baisakhi, several Punjabi farmers, engineers, teachers, shop owners, and other sorts of people perform Bhangra. Villagers have a merry time dancing energetically to the beats of the local dhols. People of all ages and all social strata celebrate the dance unanimously.

Last Updated on 22th January 2013