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Dumhal is a folk dance performed by a tribe known as “Wattal” belonging to the state of Jummu and Kashmir in Northern India. This was mostly a male oriented folk dance and is considered to be extremely popular in Jammu and Kashmir. This dance is said to be only performed during special occasions such as marriages. In addition, this dance form is renowned for colourful costumes, and beautiful ornaments that mainly comprises of exquisite “bead work”. The attire worn in this dance form also includes a “conical cap” which consists of decorative shells and beads.

History/origin of the Dumhal Dance:

The cultural history of the Kashmir region states that this folk dance has been developed and performed over the years by a tribe called Wattal.  It is said to have been created by Shah Sukar Saloni, an ardent follower of a Sufi saint “Baba Nasim-U-Din-Gazi”. This dance form was developed by Shah Sukar to honour the Sufi saint (i.e. his guru).

Costumes used in the Dumhal Dance:

The costumes used in this dance form essentially include a long and colourful attire as well as conical cap. In addition, this cap used comprises of beautiful decorative beads and shells. Furthermore, the performers also use attractive beaded jewellery which only enhances the overall beauty of the costumes worn.

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Music used in the Dumhal Dance:

As for the music involved in this dance style, drum is the major percussion instrument used. Furthermore, it is the combination of the rhythmic beating of the drums and chorus singing by the dancers themselves that helps creating the music required by this dance form.

Training availability and dance technique involved in the Dumhal Dance:

The technique of this dance form involves, a group of performers dressed up in colourful attires dancing rhythmically around a “banner” that has been inserted into the ground. Furthermore, this rhythmic dancing is accompanied by music generated by beats of the drums in unison with beautiful chorus singing. In relation to the presence of training centres/schools with regards to this dance form, there are none available neither in the state nor in the country since the folk dance has been passed from one generation to another via an oral tradition. In fact, the popularity of this beautiful folk dance has over the years gradually decreased due to sheer lack of interest shown by the younger generation.

Dumhal dance video:

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