Postcards from India

Dispatches from The Thar Desert Photography Expedition™

Rajasthan photography workshops. A group of Kalbeliya Gypsies dressed in their tribe's traditional costume perform the Kalbeliya dance, one of Rajasthan's most sensuous dance forms, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Photo: © Dariusz Klemens

The Snake Dance

Replicating the movements of a serpent, a group of Kalbelia gypsy dancers swirls through the streets of Jaipur during Gangaur Festival, in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.

One of the most sensuous of all Rajasthani folk dances, the ‘Kalbelia’ is performed by a tribe of the same name. A nomadic Hindu community who revere the cobra, the Kalbelia (or Kalbeliya – lit. ‘Snake People’) were once professional snake handlers – an occupation they continue to evoke in music and dance.

Embroidered with mirrors and silver thread, the flowing black skirts worn by Kalbelia dancers is intended to resemble a black snake with white spots or stripes. Integral to the community’s culture, Kalbelia music and dance is inscribed in the UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

We photograph the Kalbelia, amongst other nomadic tribal communities of Rajasthan, on our Thar Desert Photography Expedition™ – A Specialist Photography Workshop in Rajasthan with Dariusz Klemens.




See more postcards from: The Thar Desert Photography Expedition™