Topic of the Day – Tribal and Folk Dances of North East

Various dance forms of India are an important aspect of art and culture syllabus for IAS exam. This article talks about the folk and tribal dance culture of northeast India for UPSC.

Art and culture is an essential part of the syllabus and every year, questions are asked from this section in both the prelims and mains exams. For how to go about studying art and culture for IAS, you can check out the link below:

UPSC Mains: How to Study Indian Art and Culture?

List of Folk Dances

Hojagiri – Tripura

Hojagiri is a dance performed by the Reang tribe of Tripura. The performance involves three to four young women balancing themselves on an earthen pitcher. They also balance an earthen lamp on the hand and bottle on the head. It is performed during Lakshmi Puja for appeasing and worshipping goddess Mailuma. Jhum cultivation process is depicted through this dance. Each performer uses a cane article used for cleaning rice, handkerchief, traditional lamp, a kalash and a bottle.

Bihu – Assam

Bihu is a traditional folk dance practiced widely in the state of Assam. The dance involves crisp dance steps and swift hand movement. Traditional and colorful Assamese clothing is adorned by the dancers. Both women and men perform Bihu dance on the occasion of Bihu festival.


Cheraw is the bamboo dance performed by the people of Mizoram. Bamboos are held criss cross by four male performers while the female performers step in and out of the moving bamboo sticks according to the rhythm. It is believed to be one of the oldest dances of Mizoram. Almost all the occasions in Mizoram are incomplete without the Cheraw dance.


Laho dance of Meghalaya is performed during the Behdienkhlam festival, praying for peace, well being and prosperity of the people of Meghalaya. Both men and women take part in the ritual and dance to the tune of recitation of couplets. The Behdienkhlam festival ends with drinking the famous rice beer.

Chang Lo– Nagaland

ChangLo also called SuaLua is a popular folk dance in Nagaland. It is performed during the beginning of the harvest season, particularly during the festival of Poanglem. As the name itself suggests, it is performed by Chang tribes. Male dancers adorn the armor of a traditional Naga warrior while women wear colourful costumes. War tactics are also showcased during the course of the dance.

Bardo Chham– Arunachal Pradesh

Sherdukpens community of Arunachal Pradesh practice the dance form Bardo Chham. Masks depicting different animals are adorned by the dancers to show an act of fight against all the evil forces. It is their local belief that there are both good and evil in mankind.

We also have Art and Culture UPSC Notes based on NCERTs that you can use as a ready reference during IAS preparation. Download the NCERT notes for UPSC (art and culture) from the link below.

NCERT Notes: Art, Literature, Architecture And Culture Notes For UPSC

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