Sikkim is a state in northeastern India known for its beautiful natural landscapes and diverse cultural heritage. The state is home to several unique folk dance forms that reflect the traditions and customs of the local communities. Some of the popular folk dances of Sikkim are described below:
Singhi Chaam is a mesmerizing traditional dance form that is performed by the monks of the Enchey Monastery in Sikkim. The masked dance is typically performed during the annual Pang Lhabsol festival, which is celebrated to honor Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world. The dancers wear elaborate and colorful costumes, including large masks representing various deities and animals such as the snow lion, deer, and peacock. The dance depicts the victory of good over evil and the destruction of negative forces. The performers move in synchronized steps and graceful gestures, with each movement carrying a symbolic meaning related to Buddhist teachings and mythology. The dance is accompanied by traditional Sikkimese music, including the sounds of cymbals, drums, and flutes.
Gha to Kito is a traditional dance form that is performed by the Lepcha community of Sikkim. It is a fast-paced dance that is accompanied by the sounds of traditional musical instruments, and the songs usually sing about the beauty and glory of Sikkim. The dancers move in synchrony, with their feet and hands moving in quick, rhythmic patterns that reflect the energetic nature of the dance.
Maruni is a traditional group dance form that originated from the Nepali community of Sikkim, a state in northeastern India. It is usually performed by three male dancers and three female dancers. The dancers are usually accompanied by a clown called “Dhatu waray”. Sometimes Maruni dances are performed to the accompaniment of the nine-instrument orchestra known as “Nau-mati Baja”. The movements are graceful and fluid, and each step and gesture carries a symbolic meaning related to the themes of love and romance. The dance is accompanied by traditional Nepali music, which is played using instruments such as the madal and the sarangi.
The people of the Tamang ethnic group in Sikkim are the cultural ancestors of the Tamang Selo dance. This upbeat dance style is often seen at celebrations such as weddings and other social gatherings. Traditional Tamang music provides the backdrop for the dancers' rapid footwork and hand synchronization. The music is played on instruments like the tungna, a type of string instrument, and the damphu, a drum made of wood and animal skin. Singing and chanting often accompany the music and dance, adding to the celebratory mood.
Yak Cham is a revered and devoted performance that plays a significant role in the Sherpa community of Sikkim's cultural heritage. Seeing this traditional dance form in person, with all its beauty and spiritual significance, is a major draw for tourists and visitors to the region. The dance is performed by a group of Sherpa dancers wearing elaborate and colorful costumes, including large masks representing various deities and animals such as the yak, snow lion, and eagle. The dancers move in synchronized steps and graceful gestures, with each movement carrying a symbolic meaning related to Buddhist teachings and mythology. The dance is accompanied by traditional Sherpa music, including the sounds of cymbals, drums, and flutes. The music and dance create a mesmerizing and spiritual atmosphere and are believed to ward off negative forces and bring peace and prosperity to the community.