Culture of Jharkhand

Jharkhandi Dance

Jharkhandi Dance

Jharkhand is a place renowned for its copious cultural feats. Damodar, Mayurakshi, barakar, Koyal, sankh, flows through out the region. These ameliorate the state with the bounty of flora and fauna. Vananchal, as it is popularly known , is also famous for its mineral and forest resources.

Jharkhand is a newly formed state, which has been segregated from Bihar. It, thus, witnessed transmigration of various people from West Bengal and Bihar, retaining their individual cultural traits intact. Thus this conglomeration of tribal culture thus ameliorates the culture of Jharkahand. Music , festivals, handicrafts, dance and other salient cultural elements cuisine and lifestyle of Jharkhandis corroborate the above proclamation.


Festival dance of JharkhandThe culture of Jharkhand stands nowhere without its rich treasure of ebullient festivals. The festivals like Sarhul, Karma, Sohrai, Badna, Tusu, Id, X-mas, Holi, Dushahra etc are celebrated in Jharkhand with loads of fun and frolic.

Sarhul is observed at the spring time when the tribes appease the village gods and sought their protection and safety. Flower Sarhul is given as offerings; it also symbolizes friendship and brotherhood .The tribal priest disperses these flowers to every village household.

Badna is a popular festival held during `Kartik Amavashya`. Animals are worshipped acknowledging their contributions to the society and also to pacify their destructive quality. The songs of this festival are popular as Ohira.

Tusu is observed as the common festival celebrating harvest time during winter season in the last day of the month of `Poush`. Rites and customs related to this festival are diligently maintained by the locales.

Held on the first day of the month of `Magh`, Hal Punhya is a winter festival celebrating the starting of ploughing. The day also symbolizes time to accumulate good luck and fate Rohin is probably the foremost folk festival . It symbolizes the growth of the sowing seeds in the landing field . No dance or song is composed for this festive occasion. Another festival popular among the tribes is Bhagta Parab, the festival for the devotees. Here the tribes worship `Budha Baba` and it is celebrated in the end of spring or in the beginning of summer season.

Music and Dance

Music and Dance of JharkhandFolk music and dance are part and parcel of the culture of Jharkhand. Simple and humdrum populace of tribal communities are infested with various social problems and difficulties which find an expression in their `desi` music styles. `Jhumar` has been derived from the word `Jhum` which means to sway. Although the content of these songs is diverse, they are commonly based on the theme of love and romance. Akhariya Domkach, Dohari Domkach, Janani Jhumar, Mardana Jhumar, Faguwa, Udasi, Pawas, Daidhara, Pahilsanjha, Adhratiya, Vinsariya, Pratkali, Jhumta etc are some folk music. These are often sung in accompaniment of musical instruments like Singa, Bansuri, Arbansi, and Sahnai. Rungtu Ghasi Ram, Ghasi Mahant are some eminent musicians who emerged from this Indian state.

Folk dance forms too bear the proof of the culture of Jharkhand. Paika, Chaw, Jadur, Karma, Nachni, Natua, Agni, Choukara, Santhal, Jamda, Ghatwari, Matha, Sohrai, Lurisayro etc. Paika is a form of martial dance popular among the paikas Jharkhand region. They practice this dance in `paika akh-adas` of their villages, Joy , fun, amusement are integral part of the tribal dancing of Jharkhand .


We cannot know the culture of Jharkhand without throwing some light of the cuisine of the region. Due to the wide prevalence of Bhuddism and its religious practices among the Jharkhandis , the preference of vegetarian foods is inevitable. Staple foods of the people of Jharkhand are wheat and rice. Primarily mustard oil is used as a medium of cooking The region is nutrified by the ample growth of different types of Vegetables. These, again, are being cooked in varied ways by the Jharkahndis. A regular meal comprises of dal, rice, phulka (roti), tarkari (sabzi) and achar (pickles). Each season brings with it the growing of various fruits and vegetables and it is the Jharkhandis who rightly have incorporated these seasons` gifts in open hands.

Prominent characteristic element of Bihari cuisine is their `chhonkna` (tadka) with `panchforan` (a mix of five seeds – saunf, sarson, methi, ajwain and mangraila). The people of Jharkand have developed the habit of frying the food . Spices and coloring are added to the dishes of Jharkahndi cuisine .

Sattu or powered gram is favourite eatable for Jharkhandis. Til Barfi, Litti , Aloo Choka are also savored by the Jharkhandis with great delight Various people scattered over the region have their own styles food habits differ in various regions of the state. The cooking method of tribes is quite different from the rest of the populace. . Mahua flour, maize, millets and edible roots and tubers are the main components of tribal meal in Jharkhand.


Lifestyle of the people of Jharkand is a must if we want to discuss about the culture of Jharkhand. It is a residence of 32 archaic tribes . Santhal, Asur, Banjara, Munda, Korwa are few among them.. Hindi and English are chief languages ; Urdu and Bengali and tribal languages like Santhali , Mundari , Kurukh too are widely spoken . Jharkhandis arduously practice religions like Jainism , Hinduism and Christianity . Moreover, the tribes of Jharkhand have their unique spiritual notions called Sarna Parasnath, Baidyanath Dham complex of Deoghar are some important consecrated places in Jharkhand. Naturally the myriads of religious pilgrims frequent these places thereby leading to the construction of big hotels in the region. Anand Hotel ,Ganga Ashram Hotel , Hotel Akash Ganga ,Hotel Aloka ,efficiently, suffice to the requirements of their lodgers.

Bamboo Craft of JharkhandFolk spirit defines the unique features of culture of Jharkand and what else can denote it than the art and crafts of the Jharkand. Woodcrafts of Jharkand are popular and various items like panels for doors, windows, wooden spoons have demands in the national market. Bamboo crafts made from a special thin and strong bamboo trees are in thing in household décor. The folk artists of Jharkhand area are expert in paitkar paintings. Masks too are made by the expert hands representing moral elemental passions, better known as tamasik. Special types of toys of abstract features are popular; these are wood chips painted to resemble like human chassis with angulated lines and no disjoined limbs.

The culture of Jharkhand traces the tradition of the tribal society of Indian society ,also remaining unperturbed by the trends of modernization. Rather it asserts its originality and ethnicity and continue to do so. Music, dance, lifestyle, art are the torchbearers of this trend of the cultural tradition.
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A Journey Of Discovery

NANDLAL NAYAK is a third generation Jharkhandi folk musician settled in Boston who nurtured a dream of bringing international musicians to India; to make this happen he decided to finance the venture himself. On the first leg of Nayak’s `dream’ tour, his production group `Akhra’ comprising musicians and dancers from around the world, including his choreographer-dancer wife Wendy Jehlen, presented “Safar,” a music and dance show in Chennai.

Nayak’s `world’ music is an earnest attempt to internationalise his folk tradition. Unusual sounds blended smoothly and the musicians seemed to take pride in the harmony. The sounds were predominantly percussive and it did lead to near cacophony occasionally, but pardonable in the larger scheme of things.

Nayak led with his Nagpuri songs, supported by Chieko Mori whose adaptability to folk tunes with her Japanese string instruments, koto and jushchigen, was remarkable. Rich Stein, with an impressive range of percussive instruments from the Djembe, the African drum, the Cajon, the South American drum to the Nagara, the Nagpuri drum just showed the world how universal rhythm is.

The dance choreography was by Jehlen who is currently in Chennai with the American Institute of Indian Studies. She has trained extensively in Bharatanatyam, and her movements included adaptations from Capoeira (Brazilian Martial Arts), American Sign Language poetry, Butho (Japanese contemporary dance), African dances, etc.

Her dance style is contemporary without its customary abstractness. The movements had an inbuilt rhythm and mood, often accompanied by symbolic gestures in sign language. The costumes bordered on the austere without any embellishments and this helped keep the focus on the well choreographed, tightly knit movements that were executed with discipline and professionalism. Besides Jehlen, the dancers were Tara Murphy, Andrea Jacob, Gunasekhar, M. Palani and Denver Nicholas.

“Midnight” was perhaps one of the best pieces of the evening where music and dance shared equal honours. Based on a poem about the loneliness of a man sitting by a stormy sea on a dark night, the plaintive notes on the violin and Nayak’s rendering, “Kiki kahoon ke suni” evoked sombre images that were reflected in the body language of the dancers.

Other musical compositions that captivated were: the Rajasthani folk tune based on Desh raag, the romantic `Prem Kahani’ with the baritone voice of the violinist T. S. Seshadri delineating raag Vrindavan, and `River and Path’ that was a mixture of Nagpuri folk, American gospel and an energetic African drum beat.

“Crane,” a 25-minute dance presentation that premiered that evening was based on a Japanese poem about the bird that lives in the marshes, its journeys and struggles likened to those faced by man. The movements here were symbolic and the graceful dancers performed complicated movements that demanded breathe control, concentration and suppleness. The alaap by Seshadri and the mridangist K. P. Srinivasan in raag Maal Kauns drenched in melody was superb. Nayak and Jehlen revelled in mixing diverse ideas, a good example of which was the last item. It was an adaptation of the practice of the Turkish Sufi saints, better known as the `whirling dervishes’ who meditate and develop a religious fervour while pirouetting. Computer generated music augmented by a high-pitched Buddhist chant by Mori made up the eclectic mix. And surprisingly, it was coherent.

However, the most endearing was the spirit that united the 19 artistes on stage. It was unfortunate that this programme had a thin attendance with only a handful braving the incessant rain to make it to the show.

Jharkhandi Santhali Music

Jharkhandi Santhali Music Video


Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar state on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east.

The industrial city of Ranchi is its capital. Some of the other major cities and industrial centres are Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Sindri, Giridih, Gumla, Deoghar, Daltonganj, Hazaribagh and Dhanbad.

Jharkhand is known so because it’s the land of “jhari” or shrubs. It’s also related to name ‘Jarakand’ which signify the movement for freedom of Jharkhand, literally it means ‘to chop off’. Jharkhand is famed for its mineral wealth and forestry products.

Jharkhand is now improving much faster than its northern counterpart (Bihar). Its poverty rate declined 2% per year from 1994-2002. Unlike some other Indian states, Jharkhand’s poverty reduction was faster in the rural areas than in the urban areas. Its percentage of children immunized improved from 9% in 1998-99 to nearly 50% now according to UNICEF. Jharkhand has made primary education so accessible that 95% of children ages 6-11 are enrolled in school as opposed to 56% in 1993-94. More Info >>