(Last Updated on : 10/11/2010)
Uttarakhand is a part of the Western Himalayan ranges starting from the Shivalik foothills to Greater Himalayas. This state was till recently a part of the bigger state of the northern region Uttar Pradesh. It was given the present shape and named Uttarakhand and became the 27th Indian state with independent state assembly. Earlier though many a rulers have taken turns to rule this place known as Devbhoomi, the land of Gods, because of the innumerous holy site in the small place. The regions of Uttaranchal find a mention in the epics of Mahabharata and the dynasties like the Kushan, Kanishka, Gupta and the local tribal dynasties have ruled the state till the British arrived.
Uttarakhand is undoubtedly India's most beautiful canvas. The main attraction to this place is the unspoilt and unexploited beauty and the serene calmness of Uttarakhand. The green valleys and the snow clad peaks with wonderful panoramic view till the eyes can reach, is mesmerizing and spell binding as well. Uttarakhand has a wonderful cultural and traditional heritage that has been followed for centuries. The people of Uttaranchal are warm and smiling and trying to live through the harsh conditions of the weather.
Even the culture of the inhabitants of Uttarakhand is kept alive by their folk dances. The folk & tribal communities in Uttarakhand perform many seasonal dances. Some of such dances are Jhumeila, the Chaufula of Garhwal region and the Hurka Baul from Kumaon. They form a part of seasonal dances which are performed from 'Basant Panchami' to 'Sankranti' or 'Baisakhi'. Jhumeila is sometimes mixed but is usually restricted to women, wheras the Chaufula is a spinning dance performed by all sections of the community, at night, in groups by men and women.These folk songs are composed for the appreciation of nature during various occasions. These folk songs all derive their names from the concerned folk dances, which are the seasonal dances performed to express joy & celebrate the arrival of new season. However of these dances, the most prominent one is the Hurka Baul dance described below:
Hurka Baul Dance
The Hurka Baul dance is performed during the cultivation of paddy and maize in the farms. On a fixed day, after performing the preliminary ritual, the dance is performed in different fields with different tunes. The dance is named according to the Hurka, which is the drum used for musical accompaniment in the performance of the dance and Baul is the song.
The hurka is the only musical instrument used in the dance. In the Hurka Baul dance performance; the singer slowly & interestingly narrates the story of battles and heroic deeds. Generally, the performers enter from two opposite sides and enact the stories in a series having many crisp movements & attractive dancing styles. In this dance, the participants need to form two different rows and move backward to dance, while responding to the tunes of the song and the rhythm of the music.