The folk dance of Assam is the best expression of traditions and customs.

It is also home to many groups and tribes, such as Mongoloid, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Iranian, Aryan, Rabha, Bodo, Kachari, Karbi, Mishing, Sonowal Kacharis, and Mishimi.

Due to this the state attains overabundance at its best.

Various folk dance forms are in different corners of Assam.

Popular folk dances of Assam are as follows

  • Bihu dance
  • Jhumair dance
  • Bagrumba dance
  • Ali ai ligand dance
  • Devdhani dance 
  • Bhortal dance
  • Khamba lim
  • Anakia dance
  • Bardwisikhla dance
  • Bhaona
  • Oja pali
  • Satriya Nritya
  • Tiwa dance
  • Deori dance
  • Karbi dance
  • Naga Dance
  • Khel Gopal Dance
  • Tabal Chongli Dance
  • Bichhua Dance
  • Natpuja Dance
  • Maharas Dance
  • KaliGopal Dance
  • Canoe Dance


 Folk Dance Bihu

Bihu Dance

The most popular folk dance of Assam.

It is celebrated with great prosperity and pride.

Though the origin of the dance is unknown,

However, its first official document is by Ahom King Rudra Singh.

To invite Bihu dancers to perform in the Rang houses for Rungli Bihu during 1694.

Later the completion of the harvest, this dance is performed.

So, the celebration continues for a month. 

It is a group dance in which men and women dance together, but have different gender roles.

For example, women dance in vertical lines or circular forms.

Male dancers and musicians first enter the dance area, maintaining their synchronized pattern.

Similarly, When the female dancers arrive, the male dancers break their line to match the female dancers.

So, The movements and bends of the hips, hands, and wrists are very similar, with subtle differences in male and female dance.

 Music and Instrument of the Folk Dance of Assam

Traditional music play for the dance.

The most important musicians are the dholiya.

They play a two-faced dhol with a stick and a palm.

There is usually more than one drum in a performance.

 These rhythmic compositions, called sis, are traditionally formal.

But, Before entering the dance area, Dholiya plays a short and fast rhythm.

After changing sis, the dholiya usually enters the dance field in the line.

A player plays Mohar Exangor Pepa in starting, which gives an opening shape and creates dance excitement.

The male dancers then enter the field of construction and performance. 

 So, The theme of the songs includes welcoming the Assamese new year, describing a peasant, history, and satire.

Although men and women dance Bihu, female Bihu dance has more variety.

Jhumar folk dance

Jhumar dance

Jhumar Nach is also one of the most important folk dances of Assam, performed by tea workers of Assam.

It is also a traditional dance form of the tribal or chai tribe community of Assam.

After a long day of hard work, the tea workers or tea tribes (also called tribals) behave in dance and music to break the boredom of their lives and to spread happiness through it all.

However, young girls and boys perform this dance.

Men wear long traditional clothes and also have rhythms with some traditional musical instruments, usually a dhol or Mandar (hanging on the shoulders), a flute, and a “taal” (two metal plates).

But, The girls mostly participate in dances and hold each other’s waist and extend their arms and legs back and forth with coordination.

Bagurumba Dance

Bagurumba dance | folk dance of assam

The Bodo Samaj performs this dance.

This is also inherent in dance.

This dance is also known as Butterfly Dance, Kristi Dance, and Bardavishika Dance.

The dance has relatively slow steps with high structures that overwhelm the audience.

During the Bishuba Sankranti season, this dance is performed.

Butterflies and birds are among the forms performed by dancers.

The Boro people also love greenery and they used to stay in the eastern and southern Himalayas.

Dance creates excitement in Boro people, they feel peace and happiness in their minds.

Bagurumba is a traditional dance of the Bodo community, characterized by smooth and graceful movements.


The dancers wear traditional Bodo attire, adorn themselves with jewelry and headdresses, and move in sync with the lively and rhythmic Bodo music.

The dance symbolizes the harmony between nature and human life and often depicts various elements of Bodo culture, celebrating the agricultural festivals, daily life, and interaction with the natural world.

Bagurumba is performed during Bodo festivals like the Bwisagu festival, marking the beginning of the Bodo New Year, and other cultural events like weddings and gatherings.


The dance not only entertains but also preserves and celebrates the Bodo community’s cultural heritage.

It has gained recognition and popularity beyond the Bodo region and is often performed in cultural events and festivals to showcase the Bodo community’s unique art and culture.

Ali Ai Ligang  Folk Dance

Ali Ai Ligang Dance | folk dance of assam

Ali Ai Ligung is a festival associated with agriculture and celebrated during the cultivation of ahu paddy.

They also perform this dance to praise their deity – Mother it a traditional festival of Mishings tribals one of the second largest tribes of Assam?

This festival is usually celebrated on the first Wednesday of Phagun (mid-February) month.

 Ali Ai Ligang means first sowing of roots and fruits which ‘ALI’ stands for seeds. ‘AI’ for Fruits in which ‘LIGANG’ is for sowing. 

Roots and fruits were their staple food of livelihood in Assam.

Dance and feast are integral parts of the festival.

After the chanting and the sowing of the seeds, they promise to share the harvest amongst the patron and the beggars.

 The dance form expresses the ups and downs of human life.

Flute, drum, gong, etc are used in this dance.

Deodhani dance

Devdhani Dance | folk dance of assam

Devdhani is one of the folk dances of Assam.

Associated with devotion to the snake goddess Mansa.

A girl, who dances to the beats of Sipung (flute) and Kham (drum), in a trance-like inspired state performed this dance.

At one stage of the dance, they also carry a sword and a shield, along with a battle dance, in which various deities are honored, such as Shiva, Lakshmi, etc.

It is a solo or group performance. Deodhani is the origin of Bodo-kachari.

The group dance essentially comprises 3 or 4 women.

Bhortal Folk Dance

Bhortal Dance | folk dance of assam

This form of dance is mainly a spread of the Sankari culture of Assam.

 The famous Satya artist, Narhari Burha Bhakat develop this dance.

It has its origins in classical arts.

During festivals in the Barpeta and Guwahati regions, 6-10 dancers equipped with cymbals perform this dance.

Dances are one of the most popular dances performed in the Assam state of India.

People who belong to all age groups and cultural backgrounds enjoy this dance.

 This dance reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Indian state of Assam.

 It is basically performed in groups.

The use of the cyrnbols makes the dance presentation appear very colorful.

Very colorful patterns are produced during the dance movements

This is the uniqueness of this dance form of Assam.


Khamba Lim

Khamba Lim

It is one of the folk dances of Assam.

Two groups of men and women, who stand in two rows perform this dance.

Traditional music play for this dance.

The vocal musicians and drummers play an essential role in this dance.

 Like all other folk dances, the Assamese folk dances are also colorful, attractive, and rhythmic.

The musical source for the folk dances is soul-stirring and melodious.

Ankiya dance


It is one of the folk dances of Assam which is an act-play.

 Sankardev started this dance.

Srimanta Sankardeva composed a variety of literary works such as Barjeet, songs by Ojha Pali, and several dances.

The dance drama is called Anakiya Nat.

Bardwi – Sikhla dance

bardwi sikhla dance
Bardwisikhla dance


The dance originated from the Sattriya folk dance that was created by Guru Sankaradev.

He took bits from other folk music to create classical dance.

They first started using drums and then slowly inculcated other instruments over time to create modern Bodo music.


Bhaona dance
Bhaona dance

The dance involves song, dance as well as dialogue.

All 50 dance perform this dance.

Dancers wear costumes and ornaments including those playing heavy drums and cymbals.

Bhoriya is the actor who performs this dance.

Oja Pali Dance

oja pali dance
oja pali dance

It is also the classical folk dance of Assam.

There is singing and dancing along with dramatic dialogue and action.

This dance is also mostly based on epic and Puran stories.



Satriya Nritya

sattriya dance
sattriya dance

This dance is also a classical dance of Assam.

introduced by Vaishnava saint in the 15th century.

However, In the winter season, this dance is mainly performed.

Mostly, mythological stories are described with this dance.




Tiwa dance

Tiwa dance
Tiwa dance
This dance represents part of the tradition of the Tiwa people.
Tiwa people also celebrate numerous events and festivals.
Songs and dances are the existing spirits of the Tiwa community. 
The tribe is taken into consideration to have one of the richest reservoirs of people’s songs and dances within the country of Assam and Meghalaya.
The indigenous Tiwa tribe of Assam has a rich repository of cultural heritage which is basically oral.
The Tiwas, popularly referred to as Lalungs of Assam, are one of the main native tribes of the state.
They may be usually observed in the plains of Nagaon, Morigaon hills of Karbi Anglong, and Kamrup districts of Assam and Meghalaya.
The etymology of the phrase ‘Tiwa’ generally comes from ‘ti’ which means ‘water’ and ‘wa’ meaning ‘advanced’.
In line with legends, because the tribes landed on the plains following the direction of the river Brahmaputra, they added themselves because of the Tiwa.


Deori dance

Deori dance
Deori dance

This dance belongs to Bihu music.

Practiced by singers, instrument players, and dancers of the Deori community on Majuli island.

Moreover, The Deori is a small community of Tibeto-Burman origin mainly settled in Upper Assam.

But, The event takes place outside the village close to the mandir (temple) dedicated to the Deori goddess Kundimama Devi.

Karbi Dance

Karbi Dance
Karbi Dance

Dance and Music play an important role in the life of the Karbi Society.

However, The youths also perform during the Chomangkan, the death ceremony, and other socio-religious festivals.

Hacha Kekan, the dance performed at the harvesting festival is very lively and eye-catching.

During the cremation rites or death ceremony, experts sing song

Only a professional weeper called UCHEPI sings a song called Sarhe.

So, They have a Karbi version of the Ramayana called Sabin Alun.

But the most interesting part of this epic is that it is unwritten.

And handed down from one generation to another orally.

Naga Dance

Assam is very much influenced by the traditions and customs of the Nagas.

Firstly Naga Dances are very popular here, especially in the Dima Hasao district of Assam.

Naga folk dances are unique and typically portray the tradition and culture of the Naga.

In modern times, these traditional dances have been mixed with modern dance techniques.

It has also created a fusion type of dance

The Naga dance is based on the martial art that is related to their headhunting tradition.

Male and female dancers wear traditional costumes for the performances.

Men usually wear headgear, ear cotton, necklace, boar task, chest line, loin, wrist band, bead kilt, mini waist basket, anklet, fur handled dao, fur handled spear, and shield.

Women usually jewel themselves with earrings, necklaces, headgear, string necklaces, armbands, spiral bracelets, mekhela, waistlines, iron/walking sticks, smoke pipes, and baskets.

Khel Gopal Dance

It is the folk dance of Assam.

But only male dancers can participate in this dance.

They use sticks while dancing to a folk song of their tribal community.

Dancers wear dhotis and banyan.

Tabal Chongli Dance

Tabal Chongli’ is a form of folk dance associated with the State of Assam.

Other popular dance forms of the state are Bihu, Khel Gopal, Rash Lila, Canoe, etc

Bichhua Dance

Bichhua Dance
Bichhua Dance

It is also a folk dance of Assam.

Female dancers coordinate with each other.

So dancers wear the traditional same color dress with headstring.



Natpuja Dance

This dance is an important part of Assamese culture.


Maharas Dance

The Maharas dance is a traditional folk dance of Assam, a state in northeastern India. It is a cultural and religious dance that is associated with the worship of Lord Krishna, particularly during the Raas Lila celebrations, which are dedicated to Lord Krishna’s divine love and dance with the gopis (milkmaids) in Hindu mythology.

Key features of the Maharas dance of Assam include:

Devotional Element

The Maharas dance is performed to express devotion to Lord Krishna, who is considered the deity of love and divine play in Hinduism. The dance reenacts the playful and romantic aspects of Lord Krishna’s life, especially his interactions with the gopis.

Traditional Attire

Dancers wear traditional Assamese attire, which includes Muga silk, dhotis, and chadars. The attire is typically colorful and reflects the cultural heritage of Assam.

Formation and Movements

Dancers form circular patterns and perform rhythmic and graceful movements, often imitating Lord Krishna’s playful dance. The dance is characterized by the dancers’ footwork, hand gestures, and postures that symbolize the love and devotion of the gopis.

Music and Instruments

The Maharas dance is accompanied by traditional Assamese music, including instruments such as the dhol (drum), pepa (a kind of flute), and khol (a barrel-shaped drum). The music sets the tempo and mood for the dance.


The dance often includes storytelling elements, with the dancers enacting various episodes from Lord Krishna’s life, especially those related to his interactions with the gopis.


The Maharas dance is primarily performed during the Raas Lila festival, which is celebrated in the month of Kartik (October/November) in the Hindu calendar. This festival marks the divine love and playfulness of Lord Krishna and is observed with great fervor in Assam.

The Maharas dance is not only a form of entertainment but also a means of expressing deep devotion and preserving the rich cultural and religious traditions associated with Lord Krishna. It is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Assam and is performed during religious and cultural events to celebrate the divine love and playfulness of Lord Krishna.

KaliGopal Dance

Kali Gopal is a traditional folk dance of Assam, a state in northeastern India. This dance is particularly associated with the Deodhani festival, which is celebrated in Assam. The Deodhani festival is dedicated to the serpent goddess, Manasa, and the Kali Gopal dance is an important component of the festivities. The dance is performed by female dancers known as “Deodhani,” who are considered to be the mediums or priestesses of the goddess Manasa.

Key features of the Kali Gopal dance of Assam include:

Spiritual Significance

The dance is performed as an offering to the goddess Manasa, who is believed to protect against snakebites and ensure the well-being of the community. The Deodhani dancers invoke the goddess and seek her blessings through their performance.

Traditional Attire

The Deodhani dancers wear colorful traditional Assamese attire, which includes Muga silk, intricate jewelry, and traditional headgear. The attire is often vibrant and reflects the cultural identity of the region.

Ritualistic Elements

The dance is a blend of artistic expression and religious rituals. It involves specific movements and gestures that are part of the traditional customs and are performed to invoke the deity.

Music and Instruments

Traditional Assamese music accompanies the dance, and it includes instruments such as the dhol (drum), pepa (a kind of flute), and taal (cymbals). The music sets the rhythm and mood for the dance.


The Kali Gopal dance often includes storytelling elements, with the Deodhani dancers enacting stories or legends associated with the goddess Manasa.


The Deodhani dance is primarily performed during the Deodhani festival, which is observed by the Assamese people. This festival typically takes place in rural areas of Assam and is a significant cultural and religious event.

The Kali Gopal dance is a traditional and culturally significant art form in Assam. It is an integral part of the Deodhani festival and is performed as an expression of devotion and cultural preservation. This dance is a unique blend of artistic expression, spirituality, and local traditions that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Assam.


Canoe Dance

The Canoe Dance is a traditional folk dance of Assam, a state in northeastern India. This dance is performed by the indigenous people of Assam, particularly by the communities living in and around the region’s riverine areas. The Canoe Dance is a unique and vibrant dance that reflects the relationship between the people of Assam and their rivers, especially the mighty Brahmaputra River, which plays a significant role in their daily lives.

Key features of the Canoe Dance of Assam include:

Depiction of River Life

The Canoe Dance typically depicts scenes from the lives of the people living in riverine regions. It often portrays activities such as fishing, boating, and other daily routines connected to river life.

Canoe Prop

The most distinctive feature of this dance is the use of a canoe or a small boat as a prop. Dancers often mimic the rowing and maneuvering of canoes in their movements.

Colorful Attire

The dancers wear traditional Assamese attire, which is colorful and reflective of the cultural identity of the region. The attire can vary, but it often includes Muga silk, an exquisite silk unique to Assam.

Music and Instruments

The dance is accompanied by traditional Assamese music and instruments, such as the dhol (drum), pepa (a kind of flute), and baahi (cymbals). These instruments provide the rhythmic and melodic backdrop for the dance.

Energetic Movements

Dancers perform energetic and synchronized movements, both in and around the canoe. They use hand gestures, footwork, and body movements to express the dynamism and vitality of river life.

Cultural Significance

The Canoe Dance is not only a form of entertainment but also a celebration of the culture and heritage of the river-dwelling communities in Assam. It highlights the vital role that rivers play in their livelihoods and traditions.

The Canoe Dance is often performed during cultural festivals, celebrations, and events in Assam. It serves as a way to preserve and promote the traditional way of life of the river communities and to showcase the cultural richness of the state. This dance is not only an artistic expression but also a living testament to the close connection that the people of Assam have with their rivers and the natural world.


Tribal folk dance is also important to the culture of Assam.

Moreover, Assam is home to a number of tribes and races each of which has its own fairs and festivals.

In short, It’s the confluence of various dances which is the best example of the unity of diversity.


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