[J] Japanese Kalbeliya in Pushkar |#atozchallenge 2017|

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2013 – I was in Pushkar, Rajasthan with a photography club to shoot the famous camel fair which is an annual affair. My first impression was that there are more photographers than camel 😉

At the opening ceremony of the festivities, I was all set to watch a performance of the traditional Kalbelia dance – Kalbelia are the tribals of Rajasthan and perform an extremely dextrous dance form which involves flexing and contorting the body in unbelievable poses. They wear gorgeous jewellery and garb which distinguishes them from rest of Rajasthan! It’s also known as the sapera or the snake charmer’s dance and is characterised by sensuous dance movements, involving some acrobatic ones too.

You can read more about this dance here

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I spied the dancers from afar in their vividly coloured dance attire and moved forward to catch a better glimpse and take some photographs.

I was in for a shock!!!

These were not Kalbelia women or even Rajasthani women but Japanese ladies, each so gorgeous and looking dapper in the ethnic get up. The bodla (or the forehead ornament) looked so right on them, along with the odhni ( fabric draped over the head)  and the traditional skirt or the Ghaghra with its wide circumference which looks gorgeous when the dancer twirls.!!! I was surprised to see them balance the metal urns on their heads and caper so gracefully.

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I got talking to the leader of their troupe and it conspired that they have an Indian manager who got them over from Japan, arranged for the dance training and then booked them at gigs in hotels, etc to perform all over India and even abroad. (I prayed that he was taking care of the girls and that they were not being exploited in anyways)

Well! I was blown away not just by their beauty but also by how coolly they managed the Indian wear and moved in it too. They agreed to allow me to shoot their closeups and my camera loved their mesmerizing frolics.

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The best was yet to come! Once they started dancing, I couldn’t take my eyes off them – they were spinning in gay abandon and looked to be enjoying themselves thoroughly.  I tried to get as many good shots as I could manage of them gyrating to the drum beats. It’s challenging for me (as an Indian) to pick up these dance moves and here were these women from a foreign land who had mastered this demanding dance form with such repose and supinity.

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And when they started doing the onerous backward dips, my jaw dropped even further and I am lucky the camera didn’t – for a moment I forgot to click and just watched them in stunned appreciation as they declined lower and lower. Their happy faces were a testament to how much they were loving it. Their sense of rhythm and acrobatic flexibility was unmistakable.

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This is one of the most astounding sight that I have come across in my travels in India. Who could have imagined Japanese women conquering a formidable dance form like the Kalbeliya and rollicking to it in the hot sands of Pushkar? Not me for sure!

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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust


What did  you think of this? Have you ever seen the traditional Kalbeliya being performed?

Killer K is coming up – so stay tuned

For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

The A to Z Challenge is created by  Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by

Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner of  The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary

John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner of  Blog of J. Lenni Dorner

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You can hop over to read my other posts of my travels to some more unique and exotic destinations in Rajasthan, India here:

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Passionate about everything design, I am in love with photography, travel and baking. My writing journey was initiated with my letter writing hobby as a child and has metamorphosised into serious blogging. I indulge with reading fantasy fiction, day dreaming and sipping good wine.

70 thoughts on “[J] Japanese Kalbeliya in Pushkar |#atozchallenge 2017|

    1. Thanks so much Julie – I Think I discovered your blog a tad bit late but shall go through the posts as and when time allows! 🙂
      Happy Atoz!!

  1. That is a very rare thing. A combination of two diverse cultures. Must have been an awesome experience!
    The pictures are very beautiful
    Thanks for sharing
    Cheers

    1. Thanks Karnika- that was my thought too! Later I came to know Nikon arranged for them to be transported to the dunes where they held a workshop for their students who spent an awesome time clicking these beauties!!! 😉

  2. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
    ― Marcel Proust
    This I feel is the essence of travel.Such a beautiful story of Japanese women dancing Indian dance forms and earning Too!Great story

  3. Unbelievable! I got a shock too when I discovered the Japanese part of your Rajasthani folk dance. Honestly you do seem to have unique experiences on common trips.

  4. how interesting. It is fairly common for people in their own country to learn and perform foreign dances, but I wonder what gave them the idea to perform the foreign dance in the foreign nation

    1. I guess someone saw an opportunity to make some money outta this as the Japanese ladies would really draw crowds n curiosity in india. 😉

  5. Wow! Japanese dancers doing kalbeliya dance. That’s amazing. Guess what, I am just 140 kms away from Pushkar and I have never been to this camel fair!! Your pics have piqued my interest and I hope to check it out sometimes soon.

    1. I have roamed almost all of rajasthan. I am basically from jaipur n just love this state for all its colour n fervour. I hope you do visit once… 🙂

  6. That is Wow! I am so glad that you got to experience something as unique as this. It would have been great watching the Japanese women do Rajasthani dance moves. I can only imagine! Those are some fab shots, Shalini.

  7. The pictures are stunning! I have watched a Kalbeliya performance, but could never imagine this. The talent and the hard-work is admirable!

    1. Thanks a tonne for liking myvpics- these girls just looked so stunning yaar. I hardly had to do anything at all 😉

    2. Thanks a tonne for liking my pics- these girls just looked so stunning yaar. I hardly had to do anything at all 😉

  8. Hahaha! Yeah… Pushkar fair has become more about cameras than camels lately! 😀
    And those Japanese girls looked gorgeous! And so right-at-home in our Rajasthani attire, as if they were born doing this! Who could have ever imagined, right?
    Amazing! Thanks for sharing these pics!
    Happy AtoZing!
    Chicky @ http://www.mysteriouskaddu.com

    1. Yeah Kaddu that has become the reality of the camel fair at Pushkar- was my first impression when I went there too.
      But this made up for everything else – I totally loved this dance and meeting these women was simply awesome!

  9. Hehe more photographers, than camels the photos are gorgeous Shalini, Nd it is so much fun reading about your travel stories. You really are a bery widely travelled person. Btw why are the real Kalbeliya women not part of these programs?

Share your thoughts with me on this post please