Folk Dance Folk Dances of West Bengal

The Rhythms of Malda: Discovering the Gombhira (Gambhira) Folk Dance in West Bengal

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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A YouTube Video : Gambhira (documentary)- Folk Culture: Dance Drama of Malda, Its Evolution and Future Perspective :

Gambhira (documentary)- Folk Culture: Dance Drama of Malda, Its Evolution and Future Perspective

The Gambhira dance is performed all over the Malda district of North Bengal during the festival of Chaitra Sankranti.

Folk Dances of East India
Gambhira dance of Maldah

The masks used in this form of dance are made out of Neem and fig trees by the local Sutradhar community. Sometimes they also make masks of clay. 

Gambhira masks of Bengal

The three-dimensional crowns are the speciality of these masks. First, the facial features are carved out from a piece of wood and then coloured according to the character.

This mask-dance is performed with Gombhira song. The songs of Gambhira originated among the Hindu community of Maldah in West Bengal.

Gambhira dance of Malda, West Bengal

The folk dances of West Bengal hold a special place in Bengali culture. They complement the beautiful culture of the state, by their colorfulness and festivity.

Initially, the folk dances were either agricultural or devotional. Gradually, the agricultural dances gave place to dances more inclined towards devotion and religion.

Gombhira masks

One of the famous devotional dances of Bengal is Gambhira, the sacred devotional dance performed by worshippers of Shakti.

The dance is named so because it is performed in the dance hall of the Chandi Mandir – Gambhira, which has a specially constructed pavilion in front of the shrine, for the dance.

Gombhira – Gambhira – Folk Dance of Malda

Gambhira dance is performed on the song of the same name. In this dance, there are two main dancers, who are accompanied by a chorus.

The two main dancers perform the role of Nana (maternal grandfather) and Nati (grandson), respectively. The dancer playing the character of Nati wears a string of bells around his ankles.

Gombhira dance of Bengal

Through this dance, the two dancers indulge in dialogue and express their concerns about social, political, economic and moral problems of contemporary culture and society. The chorus behind them repeats the catchphrase of the song.

Gambhira dance is performed along with musical instruments, like harmonium, flute, drum and Judi.

A complete combination of all the art forms, like dialogue, dance, songs and music, it seems like documentary-dance form or a folk play.

When the chorus repeats the refrain, the two main dancers perform the dance. When they sing and perform, the chorus takes a backstage.

The mask wearing Gambhira dancers of Maldah are famous amongst this dance fraternity. Though this dance has now lost much of its popularity, it is still performed in Rajshahi.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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