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A ritual dance of Assam: Deodhani dance

Assam, one of the north-eastern states of India, has a population representing diverse ethinc and religious communities which have rich cultural heritage and social customs. One among such is the varieties of ritual dances of Assam. Deodhani dance is a ritual dance performed in honour of the serpent goddess Manasa.

This dance depicts the process of worshiping Devi Manasa. The dancers wear Mekhala, the traditional dress of Assamese, in Muga, red blouse as their dress combination along with traditional jewellery. While dancing the dancers leave their hair open and they dance to the tune of Jaidhol (a cylindrical percussion instrument) and Khutitaal (palm sized Cymbal). Dancers’ rotating their head in rapid circular motion with open stresses is a striking moment of this dance. It is performed solo or in a group of three or four females.

Legends say that Behulaa (a character in Padma Purana) had to dance before the goddess Manasa to get back her husband’s (Lakhindar) life.