Folk Dance of Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, often referred to as the heartland of India, boasts a rich cultural heritage that is beautifully showcased through its diverse folk dances. These traditional dances are not only a form of artistic expression but also a reflection of the state’s vibrant history, rituals, and social life. In this article, we’ll delve into the captivating world of folk dance of Uttar Pradesh, exploring the unique stories and rhythms that have been passed down through generations.

1. Raslila: The Divine Dance Drama

Raslila, a renowned folk dance of Uttar Pradesh, is a mesmerizing portrayal of Lord Krishna’s life and his eternal love stories, especially the one with Radha. This dance drama is performed during festivals like Janmashtami and Holi, where artists adorned in elaborate costumes and exquisite jewelry bring to life the divine romance and stories of Krishna’s childhood adventures.

2. Charkula: Balancing Beauty and Grace

Charkula is a traditional dance form that originated in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. It involves women balancing a large, multi-tiered circular wooden pyramid (charkula) adorned with lit oil lamps on their heads. As they gracefully dance and twirl, the lamps create a mesmerizing spectacle of light and movement, capturing the essence of devotion and celebration.

3. Kathak: The Elegance of Storytelling

Kathak, while widespread across North India, has its roots in Uttar Pradesh. This classical dance form combines intricate footwork, expressive gestures, and storytelling through dance. The dancers, known as Kathakars, convey tales from mythology and history with enchanting grace, making Kathak a cherished part of Uttar Pradesh’s cultural fabric.

4. Rasiya: Celebrating Divine Love

Rasiya is a folk dance deeply connected to the Radha-Krishna love saga. Dancers narrate tales of love, separation, and reunion through graceful movements and expressive gestures. The vibrant costumes, melodious music, and poetic lyrics of Rasiya evoke the essence of divine love and devotion that resonates with people’s hearts.

5. Nautanki: The Theatrical Extravaganza

Nautanki is a popular form of folk theater in Uttar Pradesh, known for its vibrant performances that blend music, dance, and drama. The themes often revolve around historical events, mythology, and social issues, providing both entertainment and social commentary. Colorful costumes, energetic choreography, and lively music make Nautanki a captivating experience.

6. Kajari: Songs of the Monsoon

Kajari, also known as “Savan Ke Geet,” is a folk dance that celebrates the monsoon season. Women sing and dance to melodious tunes, depicting the joy and anticipation of the rains. Kajari is especially popular in the regions of Mirzapur and Varanasi, adding a touch of romanticism to the cultural landscape.

7. Kathputli: Stringing Stories Through Puppets

Kathputli, a unique folk dance form, involves intricate puppetry combined with dance and music. Puppeteers manipulate colorful puppets to enact stories from mythology, history, and social life. This art form has been a means of entertainment and storytelling for centuries, captivating audiences with its charm and creativity.

8. Karma: Celebrating Harvest and Life

Karma is a tribal dance performed during the Karma festival, which marks the end of the agricultural season. With rhythmic movements and synchronized steps, the dancers express gratitude to nature for a bountiful harvest. The dance reflects the close bond between the people of Uttar Pradesh and the land they depend on.

9. Chaiti and Thumri: Melodies of Devotion

Chaiti and Thumri are semi-classical forms of music and dance that originated in the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh. These forms celebrate the nuances of love, devotion, and human emotions through soulful melodies and expressive dance. Chaiti and Thumri continue to enchant audiences with their emotional depth and artistic finesse.


The folk dance of Uttar Pradesh are a living testament to the state’s rich cultural heritage and artistic legacy. Through these dances, stories of love, devotion, and life’s celebrations are woven together, creating a vibrant tapestry of traditions that have stood the test of time. Each dance form is a window into the soul of the state, preserving its history and reflecting the spirit of its people.

FAQs About Folk Dances of Uttar Pradesh

1. Are the folk dances of Uttar Pradesh only performed during festivals? 

While many folk dances are associated with festivals, some are also performed during cultural events and social gatherings.

2. Is Kathak a classical dance form?

Yes, Kathak is one of the eight classical dance forms recognized by the Indian government.

3. What is the significance of the Charkula dance? 

Charkula dance symbolizes devotion and celebrates the love between Lord Krishna and Radha.

4. How is Nautanki different from other folk theater forms? 

Nautanki is characterized by its blend of music, dance, and drama, making it a comprehensive form of entertainment.

5. What is the essence of the Karma dance? 

Karma dance expresses gratitude to nature for a successful harvest and symbolizes the interconnectedness of life and the environment.