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The spectacular dance from Braj region of Uttar Pradesh - the land of Lord Krishna and his consort - Radha. Veiled women balancing large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramids on their heads, alight with 108 oil lamps, dance to the strains of 'rasiya' - songs of Lord Krishna. Charkula is especially performed on the third day after Holi - the day which Radha was born. According to legend, Radha's grandmother ran out of the house with the charkula on her head to announce the birth of Radha, Since then, Charkula has formed a popular dance form of Brajbhoomi, performed during various festivities.

Every aspect of the culture of the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh is associated with Lord Krishna hence how was it possible for a dance form or a song, a story or a legend of Braj to remain untouched with the Krishna legend ! So it happened with the Charkula dance as well -- a folk dance of the Braj area, which has also found it's origin in the Krishna legend. It is believed that the Charkula dance celebrates the happy victory over Indra by Krishna and the cowherd community of Braj. This dance, therefore, became a symbol of happiness as well as joyful rapture. Krishna raised the mount Goverdhan and as if to re-enact the Govardhan Leela the dancing damsel of Braj raises the 50 Kilo Charkula on her head while performing the Charkula dance.

Wearing long skirts reaching the toes and a blouse, the dancing damsel covers her body and face with the odhani and with it's lighted lamps on her head and lighted lamps in both the hands, she dances, synchronising her steps with the beat of the drum. Her movements are limited because of the heavy load on her head.

She cannot bend her body, nor can she move her neck. In spite of these limitations the slim, sturdy and courageous dancer dances, gliding, bending, piruetting to the tune of the song. The climax is reached when enraptured by the collective merriment of the occasion, the singers also starts dancing and, with the swift beat of music and movement, the onlookers find themselves carried away by the rejoicings.




This is the rich tradition of folk-songs that is found in the Braj area. Rasiya songs describe the love of the divine couple Radha and Shri Krishna. It is an inseparable part of the Holi celebrations and all other festive occasions at Braj. The Rasiya is sung to the rhythm of huge drums, locally known as BUMB.

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