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Serpentine Sensous Dance Of The Queens Of The Desert !
The Golden Desert Of India
Rajasthan is the land of color, golden sand dunes, dance, music and vibrance. The snakecharmer's tune reminds one of the Scottish bagpipers playing.Kalbeliya are gypsies of Rajasthan and they perform lively dances.Their costumes, jewellry,songs,music and dance never ceaze to thrill me !
The quiet desert seems to echo their songs and music! their costume is black with colorful embroidery and small mirrors. They sway their bodies like snakes while dancing and the propeller and back bends are high points of this dance which is difficult to master. kalbeliyas were hired by the maharajas and kings to entertain them but unfortunately now they are reduced to struggling and various hardships to preserve their culture.
The Kalbeli women are also known as Queen of the desert for their survival instincts as they freely roam about the desert, moving frome one place to another, leading a nomadic lifestyle.They share bad reputation of gypsies the world over but the Kalbeliyas are not thieves in disguise, they rely heavily on their dance to make a living and often find it very hard to make ends meet. Their dance is imitated from the movements of snake. The instrument of the snakecharmer is called a 'been' and Kalbelis dance to the beat of the duffs and tune of the 'been'. The music is often fast paced and snappy and its hard not to be tempted to join in!
These people are often labelled as fiesty and aggressive.
For centuries the Kalbeliya men catch snakes, specially the cobras, defang them and train these snakes to stand and sway to the tune of the 'been'.These snakes are kept in a wicker basket and people pay these snakecharmes small amount of money to see these mystic snakes and cobras.
The women make some extra income by desgning beautiful 'henna' designs on tourists hands.These people believe in the evil eye and they make handcrafted charm with small mirrors, brass beads, shells, tassels and braided ribbons to ward it off !
They make a special type of 'kohl' which is called 'surma' with snake venom, its their belief that due to this surma they will never lose their eyesight ! These gypsies also sell snake venom for some extra income .
In Rajasthan it is not uncommon to see people with green eyes. Most of them are very charming and beautiful, all of them are bold and confident .These people walk with an air of dignity, confidense and pride ! They are believed to be a tribe from whom the Rom or Romany people have descended. In Europe or America Rom are sometimes called the Bohemian people.
Kalbeliya girls are taught this wonderful dance at an early age mostly they pick it up when they see their elders perform. some of them are only 9 or 10 years old.
Kalbeliya women are exquisite and charismatic, fully jwelled with ornaments on their waists, fingers, wrists, ears, around the neck and ankles,permanent tattoos on their face and hands which they enhance with the help of henna and bindis.Their costume and dance resembling snakes.
Its a treat to the eyes ...Kalbeliyas are a sight to behold !
The Enchanting Kalbeliya Dance
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