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The Remarkable History of Kathak Dance

Kathak Dance

This quarantine time is best for opting a new hobby. The importance of health and fitness has come to our nerves, therefore we’ve understood exercising daily could save us from a lot of problems. What could be better than our own culture? The classical dance forms of India one of them is Kathak Dance.

‘Katha’ in sanskrit is for a tale and ‘kathak’ is the storyteller. Kathak dance is a combination of ‘nritya’ meaning dance and ‘abhinay’ meaning act.

Having a history since 200 BCE and 200 CE, some dancing statues were found in the Harappan civilization. It therefore denotes the roots of this dance from 25th century BCE.

In the ancient times, kathak was performed in Hindu temples as a tradition of worshiping god. In the ‘chaupals’ meaning circles of villages, different tales we recited with the beautiful gestures. The Kathak Dance also became prominent in the Mughal era since it started being performed in the front of the emperors.


Originated in the city of Banaras, the dance for had spread its wings in Lucknow, Jaipur and various parts of the country.

Kathak in India is divided into 4 Gharanas. The oldest marks in the city of Lucknow, founded by Ishwari Prasad. With years of practice, this Gharana fouses on ‘Nazazkat’ which means elegance in gestures. Birju Maharaj of the Lucknow Gharana has been continuing their family’s culture in the country.Ghunghru

The other prominent Gharana is marked in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan. This Gharana worships the dance of Lord Shiva including his remarkable dance ‘Tandav’.

Kathak Dance: Costumes and Instruments

Since this ancient dance form is associated both with Hindus and Muslims, it is reflected in its costumes. One of the costumes is a saree worn in a unique fashion and the other one includes a long skirt with a choli. Also, in the Mughal era, a classical anarkali suit complimented the movements of the dance.

‘Ghungru’, a belt with small bells is a sacred ornament worn over the ankles are the essential part of this dance form.

A dozen of instruments are associated with the dance form among which most importantly used are tabla and harmonium. The rhythmic foot movements compliments the sound of the instruments.tabla

The rich culture, graceful gestures, refined foot movements and remarkable elegance of Kathak has made it one of the most attractive dance forms of India. Practiced worldwide, the dance form has gained respect in communities throughout the globe.

Unfurl the culture of India and stay tuned.

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