RAUT NACHA DANCE – CHHATTISGARH, INDIA: Dance Of The Triumph Of Good Over Evil

A dance form called “Raut Nacha” is known to be mainly performed by the “Yadava” clan (descendants of Lord Krishna) in Central India. This essentially “Lord Krishna dedicated” dance form, originated from the state of Chhattisgarh. This dance is also said to closely resemble the “Ras Leela” which is considered to be the most popular Lord Krishna dance. Furthermore, this dance is performed usually after Diwali for about a week. In addition, it has been essentially created to celebrate the triumph of “good over evil”.

a. History/origin of Raut Nacha:

According to popular folklore, this dance was created to celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna and the Yadava clan over the evil king Kansa (who was also the uncle of Krishna). Initially this dance form was performed only by the Yadava/Raut clan but, due to the gradual increase in its popularity within the state of Chhattishgarh, this dance form is now performed by all communities.

The state of Chhattisgarh is where this dance first appeared. It is performed at night to celebrate and laud Lord Krishna’s victory over the evil King Kansa. The festival of “Dev Uthni Ekadashi” or “Dev Uthaan” is the main occasion for performing this dance. The gods awaken on Devotthan after a brief slumber.

Similar to the “Ras Leela,” this dance is performed to honor Lord Krishna. Even though the dance originated in Chhattisgarh, it has now spread to other parts of the nation. Many other communities who follow Lord Krishna have embraced it. 

A lot of zeal goes into performing the Raut Nacha dance. With the aid of songs and tales, Lord Krishna’s devotees describe his amusing demeanor. The performers move in groups while dancing, which displays their playful nature. They portray the tale of Lord Krishna’s victory through their energetic dancing.

b. Costumes used in the Raut Nacha:

The costume used in this dance form is basically extremely “colourful”, and includes bells tied around the waist of the dancers. Typically, the female performers dress in a saree. The male performers dress simply in Kurta and Dhoti (loincloth), and their heads are covered by turbans. Around their backs, the dancers adorn themselves with peacock feathers. To enhance the performance with even more melodies, they use ghungroos, or ankle bells. The sticks and metal discs that they beat together while dancing are also the dance’s main draw. In addition, sticks and metal shields also form an essential component of this tribal dance since it is basically a “victory dance” celebrating the triumph of “good over evil” (i.e. Lord Krishna and the Yadavas defeating the evil king Kansa).

c. Music involved in the Raut Nacha:

The essence of the music involved in this dance form lies in the “dohes” (i.e. a rhyming couplet) mainly written by saints Tulsidas and Kabir which are recited by a singer during a performance. This singing of a “doha” also happens to be an integral part of the Chhattisgarh culture, and is often used during festive occasions.

d. Training availability and dance technique involved in the Raut Nacha:

This dance form is performed in groups with the dancers (i.e. male and female) via the use of sticks and metal shields essentially enacting the battle between Lord Krishna and the evil king Kansa. As for training centres/schools, there are none available neither in the state nor country because this is essentially a “tribal” dance form which is generally passed on from one generation to another.

image credit


Translate »