Located in the Bay of Bengal, the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is an archipelago of over 300 islands, a majority of which are uninhabited. The islands are surrounded by coral reefs, sandy beaches and clear water. The islands were used by the British in the 19th century, mainly for imprisoning Indian freedom fighters in the 'cellular jail'.

The climate in the Andaman and Nicobar is tropical. The native people of these islands are of Negroid and Monogloid stocks. The main tribes are Onge, Andamanese, Shompen, Nicobarese and Jarawa. The number of tribals is fast dwindling.


Andhra Pradesh, India's fifth largest state, is sprawled over an area of 275,068 sq. km. History has forged, and left behind vital links with the state, as is evident from the many edifices, monuments and architectural ruins, the legacy of dynasties as old as 300 B.C. Traces of the diverse and variegated facets of the culture of the Mauryas, Pallavas, Cholas, Satavahanas, Chalukyas and Vijayanagar, offer imposing vistas, that continue to fascinate the observer.

Andhra Pradesh lives in its fertile coastal plains, semi arid Deccan plateau and the lofty hillscapes of the Eastern Ghats. Exquisite crafts, glorious remnants of the past, vibrant festivities, irresistible delicacies coupled with the charming features of the people, and the sonorant mother tongue Telugu leave behind indelible impressions.

Some of the incredible sights of Andhra Pradesh are the world's tallest masonry dam, million year old caves, South Asia's first lion safari and the world's richest temple.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Kuchipudi - A Classical Dance Harvest dances of Andhra Pradesh, "Ghanta Mardala" - Its a group dance using drums and cymbal, which introduces episodes contained in the epics, The Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Stick Dance - This folk dance of the State of Andhra Pradesh is performed to celebrate various festivals. This dance is also performed with sticks. One thought that immediately strikes our mind is that though the country is vast, a few dances of the West and the East overla. All the dances have a different origin.


Arunachal Pradesh is at the north-eastern tip of India, bordering Bhutan on the west, China on the north, Myanmar on the east, and the state of Assam on the south. A part of the Eastern Himalayan ranges, it covers about 83,000 sq. km. The climate varies from sub-tropical in the south, to alpine in the north.

Arunachal Pradesh has been mentioned in ancient literature such as the Kalika Purana and in the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It is believed that sage Vyasa meditated here and that the remains of a brick structure, peppered around two villages in the hills north of Roing, was the palace of Rukmini, the consort of Lord Krishna. The sixth Dalai Lama was also born in Arunachal.

Domestic tourists have to obtain the Inner Line Permit from the Deputy Commissioner of the concerned districts; Resident Commissioner of Arunachal Pradesh, New Delhi; Liaison Officer at Calcutta, Guwahati, Tezpur, Lakhimpur North and Dibrugarh. The Inner Line Permit is liberally issued.

Foreign tourists have to obtain the Restricted Area Permit from the Ministry of External Affairs or from the Ministry of Home Affairs.


Assam is a vibrant land of contrasts, each nook and corner of which, has something special and rare to offer. The word Assam is derived from the Sanskrit word 'asoma' meaning peerless. The land of Assam is, in fact peerless, judging by its sheer natural beauty and cultural richness. Home to diverse races, Austric, Mongoloid, Aryan and Dravidian, who settled in these hills at different points of time, Assam has developed its own peculiar composite culture, one of variegated colour.

Situated in north east India, Assam is bordered in the north and east by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. To the south lie Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. The best time to visit the state is from October to April. A mild and moderate climate throughout the year, is just one of the reasons of the land's undeniable charm.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Baisakh Bihu - It is a non religious dance celebrated in early spring i.e. Mid April. The dance is also performed on the occasion of the Bihu festival.

Rakhal Lila - This dance is connected with the Krishna legends and depicts the dance of the gopis who played with Shri Krishna during his childhood and youth. Performed during the Holi and the Spring festival time.


Rivers of the world have moulded the culture, economy and personality of the people dwelling on their banks as the river Ganga has. Cutting straight across Bihar from west to east, the bounteous Ganga nurtured a veritable fountainhead of political and cultural civilizations, on its shores, down the millennia.

Here, kingdom after kingdom rose and fell, leaving their indelible mark on history. Rival kings fought legendary battles, devastating the land and people. Yet, by some strange alchemy, the same land saw the birth of some of the most noble and progressive religious teachers like the Buddha, Mahavira and Guru Gobind Singh. Then came the Muslims, ruling with panache for five centuries, to be eliminated in turn, by the powerful British, who ruled till the middle of this century.

Bihar, today, is a quaint interface of the old and new. The state boasts of an incredible range of mineral resources. The coal belt in Bihar is the mainstay of thermal energy in India. Bihar's modern visage sports some of India's largest steel and mining industries.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Jata Jatin - It is peculiar to that part of Bihar known as Mithila. It brings out the story of true love.

Spring time Dances - It is performed during "HOLI" and is connected to the ancient "Ba" festival.


This tranquil magical land of 70 villages, sandwiched between the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, near Daman, was liberated in 1954 from the Portuguese. Confined to an area of only 491 sq. km, this is the homeland of some simple, brave and colourful tribals, who have enriched it with their rich folklore and vibrant lifestyle.

The Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli enjoys a very pleasant climate from November to March. The temperature is not very high in summer, either. Due to the proximity of the sea, the nights are pleasant.


Daman, a quaint little settlement, spread over an area of 72 sq. km, is a picturesque port town, and a popular get-away with city dwellers. Situated on the west coast, hugged by the Arabian Sea and swaying casuarinas, Daman has been the home away from home for the Portuguese, till its liberation in 1961.

Diu, which makes the other half of the Union Territory of Daman and Diu, is a tiny island measuring less than 40 sq. km, off the west coast near Saurashtra. Diu is perhaps the most exotic destination on the west coast of India.


Delhi, the capital of the country, and one of India's fastest growing cities, has spread far beyond the "seven cities", created between the 13th and the 17th centuries. It has sprawled over the west bank of the river Yamuna, straddling the river. Remnants of the glorious past survive cheek - by - jowl with soaring skyscrapers, posh residential colonies and bustling commercial complexes. Delhi has some of the finest museums in the country. Its boutiques and shopping arcades offer access to a wealth of traditional and contemporary crafts, from all over the country.

Delhi has speciality restaurants to please the gourmet, sprawling parks and gardens ablaze with flowers, and in the winter months, a variety of cultural events. The myriad faces of the city are simply tantalizing, and entice the curious traveller into a fascinating journey of discovery.


The 131 km long coastline of Goa, is set on the golden Konkan coast, on the Western Ghats, along the Arabian Sea. This small former Portuguese enclave is one of India's most dazzling tourist mosaics. Goa deserves every bit of the sobriquet 'The Pearl of the East'. The name Goa is derived from the Konkani word 'Goyan', which means a patch of tall grass.

Once a great Hindu stronghold, Goa was a part of the grand Mauryan empire, around 3rd century B.C. The Satvahanas of Kolhapur and later the Chalukyas of Badami, took over the goverance. Other dynasties followed, including a short-lived Muslim invasion, until the Vijayanagar Empire established itself for almost a century. This era, too, ended with the arrival of the Sultans of Gulbarga, around 1469 AD, from whom the rule passed on to the Adil Shah of Bijapur. Goa soon became the bone of contention between the Dutch, English, French and Portugeuse, all vying for its possession. Ultimately, in 1510, the Portugeuse conquered Goa, with Alfonso de Albuquerque leading the invasion. After ruling for around four centuries, in 1961, fourteen years after the country's independence, the Portugeuse had to turn their backs on this fascinating 'Pearl'.

Goa combines old Portuguese architecture, and a distinct Portuguese flavour to the lifestyle, with a history that abounds with Indian mythology. Its unending beaches, the pristine beauty of the seascape, its mystical hills and groves, the rhythmic pounding of the sea, its swaying palms - all make it a fairytale land for the traveller.

A sea coast, 1650 km long, encloses Gujarat from three sides like a girdle. The state is renowned for its beaches, holy temples, historic capitals replete with immense architectural wealth, wildlife sanctuaries and hill resorts. The fascinating handicrafts, mouth - watering cuisine and colourful lifestyle of the people of Gujarat, are renowned all over the country./P>

The recently excavated ancient port of Lothal, near Ahmedabad, bears testimony to Gujarat's 4,500 years of history. An important trade centre of the pre - Aryan Harappan civilization, Lothal had trade links with the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon and Egypt.

With the Arabian Sea lapping its western frontier, Gujarat has been exposed to a succession of alien races. In the process, it has imbibed elements of a variety of cultures, and yet retained its cultural individuality.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Dandiya Raas - This folk dance is performed all night to the accompaniment of the drum, songs and cymbals in the village. The epic of Ramayana is sung during this dance.

Raas Lila - This folk dance is performed on the birthdday of Lord Shri Krishna and at the Diwali and Holi festivals.

Garba - This folk dance is performed at the beginning of Ashwin (September/October), during the Dassera festival, preceeded by a nine day celebration of Navratri.


Haryana has a grand history, that dates back to the Vedic age. The state was home to the legendary Bharata dynasty, which gave the name 'Bharat ' to India. Kurukshetra, the scene of the great epic battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, is situated in this state. Haryana was made into a full - fledged state on 1st November, 1966.

The state is bound by Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in the east, Punjab in the west, Himachal Pradesh in the north, and Rajasthan in the south.

Haryana has a network of 43 tourist complexes, which are, incidentally, named after birds. These have been set up along the national/ state highways, and at districts, towns and places around Delhi. Some of the tourist complexes in Haryana are Badhkal Lake, Dabchik, Jungle Babbler, Karna Lake, Kala Teetar, Kingfisher, Parakeet, Magpie, Rajhans, Skylark, Sohna, Surajkund and Yadvindra Gardens at Pinjore. The immensely popular Surajkund Crafts Mela is held every year, in the month of February, to promote Indian arts and handicrafts. The 'Mango Festival' and the 'Kurukshetra Festival' are the other much - awaited events.

Punjab, a state whose name is synonymous with exuberance, prosperity and an intense passion for life, Punjab or 'Panj Aab' literally meaning five rivers, is, as it were, the very heart of the country. Blessed with extremely fertile soil, Punjab is watered by the rivers Beas, Sutlej, Ravi and Ghaggar. Punjab witnessed heavy destruction and damage during Partition, yet, it is one of the most affluent states in the country, today. The per - capita income of the state is nearly twice the all - India average. The mainstay of Punjab's economy, and the source of its affluence is agriculture. Nearly 84 percent of the total geographical area of the state is under cultivation.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Bhangra - This folk dance is performed on all festive occasions. The dance has its season commencing with the sowing of the wheat and concludes with the Baisakhi festival when the wheat is harvested.


Himachal Pradesh is a glorious mountain state, of crystal lakes, vast stretches of brilliant flowers, ancient shrines and beautiful people. This state lies in the northern part of the country, in the lap of the mighty Himalayas, at an altitude, that varies from 460 to 6600 metres above sea level. It is surrounded by Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Tibet. Himachal Pradesh is girdled by the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges in the northwest, dominated by the great Himalayas in the northeast, and marked with lower ridges of the Shivalik ranges in the southeast.

Himachal has five mighty, snowfed rivers flowing through it - the Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej and Yamuna. Climatically, this state is divisible into two regions - the south which is as warm as the plains, and the north where the summers are temperate, and winters are extremely cold. The people of Himachal Pradesh are simple and unsophisticated, lively and good - natured, with a penchant for colourful fairs and festivals. Most of them are fair complexioned, with sharp Aryan features, while some have pronounced Mongloid features. The clothes of the Himachalis are vibrant, and each region is characterised by a typical dress. The headgear worn by both men and women is the unique feature of their attire. Hindi is spoken throughout Himachal, though each valley possesses its own dialect.

Snowy peaks, rugged slopes and wide valleys offer splendid opportunities, not only for mountaineering, rock climbing and skiing, but also for hand gliding and river rafting. Himachal is an ideal place for trekking enthusiasts, and the trekking routes in the state take you to remote, undisturbed spots. Himachal Pradesh is also a popular site for winter sports. Courses and competitions in skiing and mountaineering, carnivals, cultural evenings, and open air skating facilities form the traditional part of winter sports. Recently added attractions are hand gliding and river rafting.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Kulu Dances - This dance brings out the traditional growth. The dance is performed in order to avail the blessings of Goddess Tripura Sundari, patron goddess of the village of Naggar.

Thali Dance - Thali Dance is peformed on the borders of Gharwal and its mountain villages. It is in happy celebration of spring time.

Dance of Shepherdesses - This charming pestoral dance of the Gaddi women or shepherdesses is performed in Chamba, a beautiful part of Himachal Pradesh in the western Himalayas.


The paradisal state of Jammu and Kashmir is the pride of India, with its lofty snowclad mountain ranges, sylvan landscape, unbelievably fresh mountain air and its beautiful people. Located at the extreme north west of the country, the state is divided into three broad segments, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Kashmir has the maximum population at 53%, Jammu has 45%, while Ladakh is rather sparsely inhabited, due to obvious geographical constraints.


Situated on the banks of the Tawi river, framed against the picturesque backdrop of the majestic Trikuta ranges, is the winter capital of the state, Jammu. It is believed that Jammu was founded by Raja Jamboolochan in the 9th century, though no such historical records of the region exist. The Sikhs took over from the Rajputs, following which, in 1832, Gulab Singh merged Jammu with Kashmir to form the present state. The region is inhabited by three large tribes - the sturdy Dogras dwelling in the plains, the Pahadis of the hills, and the nomadic mountain - dwelling tribes of the Gaddis and Gujjars.

Jammu houses a huge number of temples and shrines, the soaring spires of which seem to pierce the skies above. The Raghunath group of temples , the largest in the north; the Amar Mahal Palace ; the Ranbireshwar Temple , dedicated to Lord Shiva; the Baghi Bahu temple and Fort are some of the popular landmarks of the region. The Dogra Art Gallery showcases the Pahadi school of art, chiefly comprising of exquisite wall paintings that adorn the local temples. The handicrafts typical of Jammu are wooden ornaments, intricate bamboo work, straw fans, rush baskets etc.


The sheer beauty and grandeur of the Kashmir Valley cannot be captured in plain words. Set at the foot of the awesome Himalayas, with the splendid Jhelum river meandering through it, this land of raw natural magnificence has enticed people from all over the world, for centuries. Aptly referred to as Paradise, Kashmir has been ruled by Emperor Ashoka, the Kushans, Gonondas, Guptas, Karkotas, Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs, and finally by the Dogras in the 19th century. Despite all these invasions, the Kashmiris have retained their traditions and innate simplicity. The major chunk of the population is Muslim, followed by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.

Kashmir is a land crisscrossed by umpteen lakes and rivers, each fascinating in its own way. The Jhelum or Vitasta, as it was called, is not only the bloodline, as it were, of the state, but also poses as the ethereal inspiration for many songs, legends, and poems. The other notable lakes include the Manasbal Lake , the Liddar river , the famous Dal lake , Nagin Lake and the Wular Lake , the largest in the state. Shalimar , Nasim Bagh , Nishat Bagh , and the legendary Chashme - e - Shahi are some of the delightful gardens, that are to be found here.

Apart from its being the land of soaring snowclad mountains, sparkling waterfalls, shikaras (water taxis), impressive chinar trees, and vast fields of vibrant flowers, Kashmir is also renown for its unique handicrafts - papier-mache, woodwork, stone jewellery, fine Pashmina and Shahtush shawls, carpet weaving and silverware. The arts and crafts of this region are more than 500 years old, and bear a distinct Persian imprint. The valley is studded with several mosques and temples, built in diverse architectural styles. The Hazratbal Mosque , the holiest of all Muslim shrines, the stone temples of Avantipur , the cave at Amarnath , the most sacred Hindu shrine in the state, the great Shankaracharya temple , the Martand Temple all add to the kaleidoscopic appeal of Kashmir.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Hikat - Its a dance performed in Jammu for the sheer joy of expressing the exhuberance of life.


The enchanting perfume of sandal and agarbattis (incense sticks), the aroma of fresh, roasted coffee beans, the heady fragrance of the "Mysore Mallige" and a thousand roses blooming..... Karnataka is a land of fragrance. A land that has all the ingredients of a great holiday site. A relaxed length of the Arabian Sea coastline, the majestic rocks of the Deccan, thick, lush tropical forests, an unimaginable variety of trees, plants, flowers, animals and birds. And above all, a sense of history and culture that is all pervasive.

Karnataka is a state of charming contrasts, with the modern blending harmoniously with the old. It has, also, some of the most magnificent monuments, temples, palaces and beaches in the country. You can shop for sandalwood, silk and spices. You can take home enchanting handicrafts, beautifully designed ethnic jewellery in gold and silver, eat food you have never tasted before, and meet people for whom hospitality is a way of life.Warm and friendly, the people of Karnataka know just how to put the tourist at ease. Ask them for directions, and chances are they'll take you to your destination.

A holiday in Karnataka is an enriching experience. The colourful folk dances and art forms, the age-old traditions and rituals, the literature and the music ... there's so much to see - and feel - and experience in Karnataka. Come, you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Kerala, breathtakingly green land, covered by coconut palms, lagoons, kettu vallams, sunny beaches and waterfalls, offers a soothing and festive mood.

Lush plantations rise from the sea, and sweep the entire state in verdant glory, swathing the countryside, the only interruptions in this expanse of green are the azure backwaters, along which coconut palms soar to the skies; the culmination is in the upward fling of the hills, where tea and coffee plantations nurture the greens to a denser, monsoon - washed, forest palette.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Kathakali - This classical dance drama is performed to the tune of the "Chenda" and the "Madala" drums. The dance is performance to praise and worship God. The Puranas, The Mahabharata and The Ramayan are the subjects for this dance. Kaikottikali - The folk dance is performed by the young women and the girls of the state of Kerala. The theme of this dance is the well - known story from mythology about Lord Shiva and Lordess Parvathi.


Located in the Arabian Sea off the south-eastern coast of India, the charm of Lakshadweep Islands (known as Laccadive Islands till 1973) lies in their remoteness. Far from the chaos of civilization, as we know it, they represent a rather magical realm of existence. Each island is densely covered with coconut palms, and serenely set in a sea, the waters of which range from palest aquamarine and turquoise, to deepest sapphire and lapis lazuli.

The Lakshadweep islands are India's only coral islands. The Lakshadweep chain of islands are coral atolls. An atoll is a coral organism lying exactly at the surface of the ocean where air and water meet; this being the only condition under which coral can live. The coral here is shaped like a ring and encircles a staggeringly beautiful emerald-blue lagoon. Each atoll is the topmost point of a submarine pillar of limestone extending several thousand feet from an extinct volcano. Tempting as it is to pick up a coral as a souvenir, it is strictly illegal, being punishable with heavy fines. Non-availability of drinking water accounts for a number of islands being uninhabited. Of the 36 islands covering a land area of 32 sq. km, only 10 are inhabited.

Ethnically, the people of the islands are very similar to the people of the state of Kerala. Majority of them are Muslims, and speak Malayalam except in Minicoy where Mahli is spoken.Coconut cultivation and fishing, are the chief occupations of the people, whose folklore and customs are, not surprisingly, largely derived from the sea. The people of Lakshadweep are often commended for their honesty.


Amarcantak Asirgarh Bawangaja Gwalior Indore Jabalpur Kanha National PArk Khajuraho Muktagiri Nagda Pachmarhi

Madhya Pradesh is called the 'heart of India', not only because of its location in the centre of the country, but also because, it has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, forts and palaces are peppered all over the state - glorious reminders of emperors and kings, warriors and builders, poets and musicians, saints and philosophers.

The natural beauty of the state is equally varied. Consisting largely of a plateau, the state has everything - awesome mountain ranges, meandering rivers, and miles and miles of dense forests. The rich folk culture and tribal traditions of this fascinating state, are manifested in the umpteen exuberant festivities, and fairs of its colourful people.

One of the best parts about Madhya Pradesh is its accessibility. Bordered by seven states, it is equally close to major tourist destinations in the north, south, east and west. Whether you are in Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras) or Calcutta, you're never very far from Madhya Pradesh.


Maharashtra, a state where a millennium of culture weaves a tapestry of myriad charms. The spiritual solace of centuries. The sylvan serenity of the countryside. The stillness of a thicket disturbed only by a tiger flashing past, or the symphony of tradition from its varied population. All abound in a unique togetherness. In Maharashtra, a state as vivid as vivacious.

Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India, both in terms of population and area. Its booming capital Mumbai, makes it not only one of the most important states economically, but also a major gateway for overseas visitors. The first well known rulers of Maharashtra were the Satavahanas (230 BC to 225 AD), who were the creators of Maharashtra, and have left a plethora of literary, epigraphic, artistic and archaeological evidence. The Maharashtrians' love for art and culture is quite evident in their intense interest in drama. Their approach to music and dance is rather lusty. Mahasivaratri, Gokulashtami, Holi and Ganesh Chaturti are the main festivals of this fun loving state.

No matter what kind of holiday you are looking for, you will find it here. Whether it is lazing on the sun - swept sands of the 720 kms coastline, or a peaceful self-exile in the awe-inspiring mountains, or quiet worship at some famous shrines, or revelation in cave architecture, art and culture or challenging treks or abundant wildlife thrills, Maharashtra has it all.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Lezim Dance - This fascinating folk dance is performed with the Lezim or a small mallet. The dance is full of verve and as it proceeds, the tempo increases, creating a beautiful pattern of sound and music.

Nestling within a lush green corner of North East India, is the amazingly beautiful little shangri-la called Manipur. Literally meaning ' a jewelled land ', this little state of India is a veritable paradise, where Nature can be espied in all her magnificence.

Legend has it, that Manipur was the result of the delight the gods derived from dancing. Manipur promises to be a great tourist destination. An oval - shaped valley surrounded by blue-green hills, this land rich in art and tradition, has inspired descriptions such as the 'Switzerland of the East', with its cascading falls, tripping rivers, exotic blooms, and limpid lakes.

Entry Formalities

All foreigners intending to visit Manipur can avail of permits from Indian Missions abroad, FRRO offices in Mumbai, Calcutta and New Delhi, the Immigration Office in Madras and the Home Commissioner, Government of Manipur, Imphal. Areas that can be visited include Imphal City, Loktak Lake, INA Memorial (Moirang) , Sendra, Waithou Lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park, and the Khongjom War Memorial.

Domestic tourists intending to visit Manipur by road via Dimapur / Kohima require Inner Line Permits to pass through Nagaland. These are issued by the Liaison officers of the Government of Nagaland at New Delhi, Calcutta, Guwahati, Shillong and the Sub-divisional Officer (Civil), Dimapur.  The Deputy Commissioner, Imphal can also issue permits to tourists travelling by road from Imphal to Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Manipuri - This classical dance of the Manipur State is an ancient art, based on the noble traditions. It possesses a deep philosophical content. The dance includes various types of "Raas Lilas" which depict the childhood mischiefs of Lord Shri Krishna.


Meghalaya, the 21st state of the Indian Union, was declared a full fledged state on January 21, 1972. Tucked away in the north eastern region of India, Meghalaya is a land of raw natural beauty which has a distinct other - worldly appeal to it. The higher ridges of the state lie in the coniferous belt, gradually sloping down to sub-tropical and tropical zones.

Of the 17,000 species of orchids in the world, about 1250 exist in India, of which nearly 300 are found in Meghalaya. The Khasi Hills boasts of the age-old Sacred Forests, many of which, are preserved to this day, by traditional religious sanction. The Mawphlang Sacred Forest, 20 kms from Shillong, represents the wisdom of the elders of yore, in preserving the fragile ecological system.

Meghalaya is also rich in wildlife. The state has two national parks and two wildlife sanctuaries. Species like the Golden Cat, Golden Langur and Hoolock Gibbon are endemic to Meghalaya.


The third youngest state of the Indian Union, Mizoram is perched on the high hills of the north eastern corner of India, and is flanked by Bangladesh on the west, and Myanmar on the east and south. Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern India. The hills are steep, and separated by rivers flowing either to the north or south, creating deep gorges between the hill ranges. The word Mizo means highlander, a collective name given by their neighbours to a number of tribes which settled in the region.They are originally believed to have come from North-Western China around three centuries ago.

The climate is pleasant, generally cool in summer, and not very cold in winter. It rains heavily from May to September. Mizoram is a treasure - trove of natural beauty, with its emerald valleys and dales, gurgling streams and falls, amazing fields of exotic blooms, and a teeming fauna population. The highest peak in the region, Phawngpui (meaning vast meadow) also known as Blue Mountain, a wonderful garden of rhododendron of arboreum and veitchianum species, is 2,065 mts (7,100 ft).

Mizos, the people of Mizoram, are primarily, cultivators. Almost all festivals of Mizoram are connected with agricultural activities. Mizoram has a high literacy rate of 87 %, surpassed only by the state of Kerala. Most of the Mizos are Christians, and speak Mizo and English. The Mizo culture boasts a plethora of folk and community dances that get passed down over the generations. The most popular of these dances are the Cheraw (bamboo dance), Khuallam, Solakia and Chheih lam. None of these dance-forms were intended for the stage - they evolved through community participation.

Note: For entry into Mizoram, people other than Government employees, should obtain the Inner Line pass from the Liaison Officer, Government of Mizoram, at Silchar or Calcutta.


The state of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on December 1, 1963, as the 16th state of the Indian Union. It is a land of fascinating folklore, passed down the generations, through word of mouth. Here, music is an integral part of life - be it folk - songs eulogising ancestors, the brave deeds of warriors and traditional heroes, poetic poignant love songs, soul - stirring gospel songs or pulsating modern ditties.

Each of the 16 odd tribes and sub-tribes, that dwell in this exotic hill state, can be easily distinguished by the colourful and intricately designed costumes, jewellery and beads, peculiar to each. The present generation of the Nagas (the people of Nagaland) has also ventured into fashion designing in a big way.

Nagaland is blessed with salubrious climate throughout the year. For the adventurous and the intrepid, Nagaland is the place for trekking, rock climbing, and jungle camping.

Domestic tourists visiting Nagaland require to obtain Inner Line Permits, issued by the Deputy Resident Commissioner at Nagaland House, Delhi, Calcutta; Assistant Resident Commissioner, Shillong; Additional Deputy Commissioner, Dimapur; Deputy Commissioner, Kohima. Detailed information can be had from the Directorate of Tourism, Nagaland, Kohima. Tel: (0370) 21607, 22214, 21945.

All foreign tourists require Restricted Area Permits from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, South Block, New Delhi.


Orissa, the lush green state, girdled by the Bay of Bengal, has seen some of the best fusion of traditional Indian art in its many temples and monuments, and has been able to preserve much of it, in an environment natural to its wonder and attractions. It was in Orissa, that Buddhism found some of its strongest exposure, and cult following. However, it was Hindu art that dominated the landscape, eventually, and resulted in the profusion of temple traditions, that have endured till now.

Heavily forested, and isolated, Orissa was once famous for its majestic battle elephants. But life in Orissa revolved around temples, and that the Oriyas lived lives free of strife, is evident from the fact that the state has few forts or fortified palaces to its credit, indicative of centuries of peace and harmony.

Most of the state's attractions are close to each other, and convenient access is provided out of the state capital, Bhubaneshwar. The capital itself is an intriguing amalgam of the old and the new, an emerging modern Indian city, that is steeped in the roots of the traditions of its glorious past, without being overwhelmed by it.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Odissi - This classical dance has its roots in devotional ritual. The dance has its main theme in a sequential order starting from the invocation to the deities, the Earth and the Gurus and ends with a highly technical finale of pure dance.

Community Dancing - This attractive folk dance is performed in the Orissa State by the young boys and girls. The people celebrate the harvest and the springtime by performing this dance. The other theme of this dance relates to the life of the people of Orissa State.


Rajasthan, an ancient land of princes, palaces and preening peacocks, is renowned for its great monuments, exquisite art and culture, that date back to several centuries. There is a haunting air of romance, about the state, which is palpable in its every nook and corner. The shimmering, mysterious Thar desert simply mesmerises the onlooker. One visit is not enough to capture the real essence of this magical land. You will, we assure you, keep coming back for more.

No other region in the country, reconciles the many paradoxes of India in itself, as does Rajasthan. Unexpected forest glens, lakes and temples, appear like mirages in the desert. On the crags are seen rugged forts, testimony to a turbulent history. Innumerable temples, dating back to the 7th century, still survive amidst scattered ruins, medieval cities exist around turreted marble palaces and spacious gardens.

The state represents an unusual diversity in all its forms - people, culture, customs, costumes, cuisine, dialects and music. Rajasthanis are a handsome people, known for their brilliant costumes. They express themselves in colour and sound, not easily seen or heard anywhere else, in the country. Rajasthan overwhelms with colour found in bustling bazaars; in the exotic attire of its people; and in the winding streets, where elephants and camels vie with buses and cars. Rajasthan is a destination that defies definition.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Jhumar Dance - This Rajasthani Folk Dance is performed during the festival of the New Year. The dance derives its name from the typical style of delicacy, the women have in them.


The saying 'Small is beautiful', is amply demonstrated by the tiny mountain state of Sikkim. With the grandeur of her mountain peaks, verdant valleys, fast flowing rivers, terraced hills and floral wealth, a visit to Sikkim is a rare and unique experience. Situated on the eastern Himalayas, in the shadow of the towering Mount Kanchenjunga, which is worshipped as the principal deity, Sikkim measures approximately 100 kms from north to south, and 60 kms from east to west.

The inhabitants of Sikkim are beautiful people who radiate with life, and a simplicity which is truly endearing. The population of Sikkim comprises of three main groups of people, the Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalese. The Sikkimese, are by nature, polite and non - aggressive people. Being devout Buddhists, they celebrate their festivals, with a distinct mixture of abandon and reserve. One of the most colourful performances in the world, are Sikkim's mask dances performed by Lamas in the 'gompa' (monastery) courtyards. The colourful dances of Kagyat, and the masked Rumtek and Enchey 'Chaams' (ritual dance of the lamas), are the popular dances, that recreate legends and myths connected with Buddhism, and the eternal triumph of good over evil.

Sikkim has an estimated 4,000 varieties of flowering plants and shrubs, that include Orchids and the rare Rhododendrons, that cover the slopes and mountains. Ornithologists have catalogued 550 species and sub species of birds, along with 600 varieties of butterflies. Its dense forests abound with endangered species of Himalayan Bear, Musk and Barking Deer, Red Panda and Blue Sheep, among other fauna. The capital city of Gangtok, monastries of Sikkim, the trekker's paradise at Dzongri, and the overall raw natural magnificence, leave a visitor to this mountain state with memories to last a lifetime. Other places of tourist interest include the Deer Park, Enchey Monastery, Orchidarium Tashi View Point, Rumtek Monastery and Phodong Monastery.

Entry Formalities

Foreigners must obtain an Inner Line permit from the Home Ministry, New Delhi, four weeks in advance. They should apply to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi through the Indian Diplomatic Missions in their respective countries. A copy should be endorsed to Sikkim Tourism, Room No. 10, Hotel Janpath, New Delhi to expedite matters. This permit will allow them to stay for seven days in case of sightseeing, and ten days for group-trekkers, not exceeding twenty.


Kanyankumari Kodaikanal Madurai Pondicherry Rameswaram Tirupati Udagamandalam Yercaud

Tamil Nadu, the heart of the Dravidian culture and tradition, has for time immemorial, been a pioneer of peace and knowledge, and the visual legacy of the culture of the state, is among the most satisfying spectacles in India. Sharing boundaries with the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala, Tamil Nadu has an unbroken coast line, edging the Bay of Bengal. Densely forested uplands which abound in wildlife, intensively cultivated farmlands interspersed with rocky wastes, mountain chains of the Western Ghats, which give way to fertile coastal plains and plateaus form the geographical features of Tamil Nadu.

Tamilians learn to appreciate culture, from a very young age, and have a deep interest in music, dance and literature. Classical dancing in the form of Bharatnatyam, has its origin in the temples of the South East, and continues to be followed with a lot of fervour and dedication in Tamil Nadu. Carnatic music is another art form, that has flourished over the ages, producing artists of great repute. Festivals are a daily feature in this region. Navaratri or Dussehra (September/October), Diwali (October/ November), Karthika (November/December) and Pongal (January) are the major occasions, celebrated with great enthusiasm. A unique festival of Carnatic music, the Thyagaraja festival, is held annually in January at Thiruvariyar, the birth place of famous singer poet Thyagaraja, where one can witness the amazing spectacle of mass performance, in total harmony and rhythm.

The places of tourist interest in the state are Chennai, the beautiful capital city; Mamallapuram, the beach resort; Kanchipuram, the land of 1000 temples; Madurai, famous for the Meenakshi temple; Rameswaram, Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur, the temple trio; the charming hill resorts of Yercaud, Ootacamund and Kodaikanal and Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, renowned for its sunrise and sunset.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Bharata Natyam - This classical dance is a combination of dance and acting. The dress used for this dance is the traditional dress worn by the ancient women of this state.

Kolattam - It is a folk dance which uses laquered sticks to get a better rhythm. This group dance is performed on the birthday of Lord Rama, hero of the Ramayana. The dance moves in a circle as the girls play the sticks criss - cross, clap the sticks up and below and move around the circle.


Tripura is a land of amazing transition; a satisfying compromise between the old order and the new; a delicate fusion of the styles and cultures of the hills and plains. Previously a princely state, and subsequently a Union Territory of Independent India, Tripura was elevated to the status of a state, on January 21, 1972. Tripura is a predominantly hilly region, with altitudes varying from 50 to 3080 ft above sea level, though the major population of the state lives in the plains. Characterised by moderate temperatures and highly humid atmosphere, Tripura is best visited after the south - west monsoons, in October. 60% of the total area is covered by hills and forests. This tiny state, with an area of about 10, 500 sq. kms is peopled largely by 19 tribes, Bengali, Manipuri and other communities.

The handlooms and handicrafts of Tripura, reflect the inherent quality of ace workmanship, and individuality of the people. Simple materials such as bamboo, cane, palm leaves and ordinary yarn, are used to create a fascinating variety of handicrafts. Elaborately designed handlooms, and silk, cane and bamboo works are the main industries. Furniture, toys, objects of daily utility such as lamp shades, baskets, calendars, ivory work and Tripuran tribal jewellery, make shopping here a unique and immensely enjoyable experience.

Tripura, in its own understated way, leaves an indelible impression on the mind of the visitor. Agartala, the beautiful capital, with its grand palaces, gardens, hills, temples and lakes, scenic Tirthamulkh, with its lakes; gorgeous waterfalls and reservoir are all worth visiting. Pilak Pather and Lungthung make interesting viewing to a lover of history. Jampui hills, Rudrasagar and Neer Mahal—the lake cities, Sepahijala—the wildlife sanctuary, and the temples in and around the picturesque Udaipur district, are the other major places of interest in this tiny, yet impressive state.


The wealth of its monuments, mystical call of its mountains and lakes, and the religious fervour that it evokes, have rendered Uttar Pradesh, one of the most fascinating states of the Indian Union. Whether one is on a spiritual quest, or in search of adventure, or just on a curiosity trip, Uttar Pradesh has something to offer to everyone. Situated in the northern part of India, it has the distinction of being the most populous state of India. In terms of area, it is the fourth largest, among all the states.

It is divisible into three distinct regions geographically; the Himalayan region on the north, the vast Gangetic plain at the centre, and the Vindhya Range and plateau on the south. Uttar Pradesh is watered by the mighty rivers of northern India - Ganga, Yamuna, Ramganga, Gomati and Ghaghara. Almost all the important towns and trading centres of the state, are clustered around these rivers. The confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna, the two most sacred rivers of India, at Allahabad, has been a vital pilgrimage site through the centuries.

Uttar Pradesh offers an endless array of attractions, to the tourist by way of monuments, health resorts, mountain peaks, a wealth of ancient temples and viharas, rich flora and fauna, fascinating rivers and captivating valleys. Agra, Ayodhya, Sarnath, Varanasi, Lucknow, Mathura and Prayag combine religious and architectural marvels; Nainital, Mussorie, Ranikhet and Almora are hill resorts of rare charm; Corbett and Dudhwa National Parks head a long list of wildlife reserves and sanctuaries; Yamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Hemkund and the Pindari Glacier, enfolded wthin the Himalayan ranges, offer a combination of adventure, pilgrim centres and natural beauty.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Nautanki - This is a popular folk dance drama of the State of Uttar Pradesh. The songs and the dances interpret the age old story of the Vitory of Good over Evil. This dance has found its appreciation not only in the North but is also very popular in the Southern States of India.


West Bengal, the gateway to the exotic east - is a land of passion and poetry, natural beauty and strong people, marked by a humane element, evident in every facet of their life. Bengal has a long history that dates back, before the Aryan invasions of India. Known as 'Gauda' or 'Vanga' in ancient Sanskrit literature, Bengal had a well settled civilisation and culture, at the time of the Aryan penetration. An integral part of succesive empires of the Mauryas and Guptas, Bengal also had its own dynasty of independent rulers, the Palas, who extended the existing boundaries, considerably. The Senas and the Muslim Sultanate who occupied Bengal, shaped the distinct identity of Bengal.

This fascinating land of the Hooghly, has a lot to offer to avid travellers. Calcutta, a unique city with its intriguing environs; Digha, the land of sand and sea; Vishnupur, an architectural treasure house; Shantiniketan, Tagore's abode of peace; the lost empire of Murshidabad; Malda-Gourand Pandua, relics of the Muslim rule; Darjeeling-a magnificent hill resort; the wildlife sanctuary at Doars, and the marshy mangrove jungles of Sunderbans, home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, are some of the major attractions of this fascinating state.

Dances : Various Other Classical and Folk Dances of India

Jatras - This folk dance drama is performed by strolling players. The theme of this dance centres around Lord Krishna legends. Sacred songs and lyrics are chanted and the dance is performed to give a technical finish.