Chholiya Traditional Dance form of Kumaon Region
“Chholiya” is a dance form practiced in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Chholiya is a dance form which is performed with a sword accompanying a marriage procession but now it is performed on many auspicious occasions.
‘’Chholiya’’ is specially performed and popular in the districts of Pithoragarh, Champawat, Bageshwar, and Almora of Kumaon Region and it has now spread in Garhwal Region too. This sword dance is very old and has the Historical value of almost thousand years old and is rooted in the martial traditions of Kumaoni people. ‘’Chholiya’’ is the most popular dance form of Uttarakhand among all other folk dance.
This folk dance is used as the symbol of war; the male dancers in this dance form wear costumes of soldiers and take the sword and other war instrument and Dance like soldiers in the war field. This dance is accompanied by Uttarakhand musical instruments like Dhol, Damau, Ransingh, Turhi, and Mashakbin. With these Instruments playing and Chholiya dancers tapping their feets on beats feels like the top of the world and this ‘’Jugalbandi’’ seems like heaven on earth and the viewer’s get astonished with the compatibility between dancers and Instruments giving beats and life to the performance.
Inception of the dance form
Chholiya is basically a dance form which describes beauty and bravery by one dance form. According to some historians, this dance was first performed by Dancers in the Chand Vansh 1st king Somchand Marriage Ceremony, in 700 A.D which is written in the Book named ‘’History of Kumaon’’ by Badri Pandey. As per this testimony, it is said that this dance form was born from here and it is preserved and scattered by these ‘’Chaler or Chholyar’’.
As per history before one thousand years in Kumaon Region, the wars used to take place between different kings by Dhaal-Talwar, bhale, Barche, Katar etc. The Kings used to arrange War Dance for their Soldiers to entertain them and to encourage them. Instruments like Dhol, Damau, Bagpiper, Turi, Nagara, Bheri and Ransingha etc. likely to use in Chholiya dance form.
Chholiya is a very attractive folk dance in which Dancers decorate themselves in various artistic costumes with different war swords. Due to its beauty and war value, it continues in new generation people of Uttarakhand since the 10th century.
At the same time, there has been a slight change in its form. After the end of the imperial royal, it became popular to the public as a dance, since then this tradition has been preserved by the culture workers of that time as a priceless heritage. Now, this dance form is used as a compulsory sign of good deeds in Marriages and other auspicious moments.
With passing time things have changed from being traditional to modern, but this dance form is still a sign of ‘’good and positive’’ for the people of Uttarakhand.
Author Lucky Singh