Music & Dance
since ancient times, has been known as a centre of
art, literature and scholarship. The art of drama
too draws ancient lineage here, its origins being
traced to the Bhand, minstrels who moved from
house to house entertaining valley dwellers. This
later gave way to the Pather, a spectacle full of
satire and humour. As elsewhere, early dance was
based on religion and on the populist faith of
good overpowering evil, as in the Dhamali.
the dances of Jammu can be classified into four
forms, mostly folk and community based, in
character. The Bindloo and the Jagarna are both
dances set to the theme of marriage and marital
relationships. The Bhakhan details the joys and
sorrows of lovers' meetings and partings. The Kud
is a thanksgiving dance performed before the local
deity. Other season-based dances are the Phummian,
Bhangra and Dandaras.
It is in
Kashmir that the folk-plays or Pathers are
popular. Another notable dance is the Roff,
performed by women on the occasion of Idd.
songs are the Chhakri and the Hafiz Naghma. The
music of Kashmir, Sufiana Kalam, combines elements
of Indian and Iranian music, and the most popular
instrument is the Santoor. Several rages and
mukams are common to Kashmiri and Persian music.
the rarified atmosphere of the Ladakh mountains,
dancing and singing movements here are more
subdued. On religious festivals and fairs, the
Ladakhis don colourful brocade costumes and
participate in community dances to the
accompaniment of drums, shehnais and narsinghas.
Scenes from myths and legends are enacted and in
simplistic portrayals the dancers wear large and
exotic papier-mache masks depicting forms evil and
good. Like elsewhere in Buddhist settlements, the
snow-lion dance is popular and brings to the state
a carnival-like ambience.
instruments include drums, among them the Damaru,
Shnavuk and Daman, and the Shankh or conch shell
and the brass Surna which is held by two lamas
while the third blows into it.