Punjabi Folk Dance Bhangra : Baisakhi Hai, Bhalle Bhalle!

The academic year was coming to a close, the annual day celebrations were in full swing. The students at my university had planned, worked hard and rehearsed for this big event. All dressed to kill, sitting in the second row of the auditorium was Professor Anisha Goel a 40 plus, female, nature lover… that’s me!  I could see the grand display of Indian culture through various dance forms, colourful costumes, and could hear the clicking of cameras when a grand entry was made by the Bhangra dancers. The crowd cheered, whistled and recited hoay! hoay! Balle, balle!  Fascinated by this folk dance, I longed to take a family vacation to this place to enjoy it. Perhaps my children will love to sway to the beats of the Bhangra dance.

Punjabi Folk Dance Bhangra

Punjabi Folk Dance Bhangra I Image Resource : sardaritouch.com

Some days of the summer vacation were spent in reading vintage books, enrolling for a short course in learning literature and a family vacation. Travelling with family can be a bit heavy on the pocket but a little research helped me find a budget travel. No sooner, we set foot on Punjabi soil we were all game to explore the city and its culture. The Punjabi cuisine is a welcome change for us and the delicious rotis, dal makhani, aloo mutter ki sabji, chole bhature etc were mouth watering. The dhabas serve local food and their non-vegetarian food is a treat for foodie’s. We were lucky enough to get tickets to a dance show. Bhangra is one of the most popular folk dances of India and is done during the harvest – Baisakhi. The men of Punjab dance to the drum beats, captivating and chanting words like balle, balle or hoay, hoay.

When the wheat crop is ripe, the soft breeze touches the surface of the golden crop, reckoning the time of harvest. The dancers form a circle and the drummer usually stands in the centre. Sound from earthen vessels and the musical tongs-Chimta fill the air. The costumes are a bright colored patka on the head, a lungi or lacha, a long tunic and a waistcoat. The tempo and the whirling around of dancers set our feet dancing. We joined in, shook a leg and had fun. Travelling with kids makes me feel young…. Bhalle, bhalle!

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