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Choliya Dance A folk dance from Kumaon region, Uttarakhand

Presented here is the male dancers from Uttarakhand state performing the traditional folk dance, Choliya dance, during the Pushkar Camel fair in Pushkar at Ajmer in Rajasthan state, India.

Originating in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Choliya dance is also known as sword dance and is related to the martial traditions of the Kumaoni people. More than a thousand years old, this art form is mainly performed by the Rajput community in their marriage processions.

Still alive in Rajput weddings in Kumaon region, the dancers carry equipment such as pairs of swords and shields, pairs of regional brass instruments like Turi and Ransing, pairs of percussion instruments like dhol and damau and pairs of Masakbeen or Bagpipe.

Attired in the traditional costumes of ancient Kumaon warriors, the dance form is perfectly synchronized and marked with jumps and turns of the body. The dancers also engage in mock sword fighting.