Day 1 | 26 October 2023


8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Veer Durga Das Memorial Park
Entry Free (note: this event is only for schools)

Kathputli – String puppetry using wooden dolls or marionettes, the kathputli is performed on a miniature stage with highly dramatic narration and music, retelling stories that reflect pertinent social concerns or the valour of erstwhile kings. It was the most popular form of children’s entertainment and even though there are few accomplished practitioners left today, it continues to hold an iconic status in Rajasthan’s performing arts culture.
Ghoomer – Initially introduced by the Bhil tribe of Rajasthan and then gradually adopted by other communities, ghoomer is a dance where women in their traditional ghagra (long swirling skirt) and choli (blouse) pirouette while moving in and out of a wide circle, to the tune of traditional songs and the rhythm of hands clapping. The word ‘ghoomna’ describes the twirling movement of the dancers and is the basis of the word ‘ghoomer’.
Kachchi Ghodi – A novel dance form performed on colourful dummy-horses.
Men in elaborate and embellished costumes dance rhythmically to beating drums, under a large umbrella chhatarkotla– while a singer narrates the exploits of the Bhavaria bandits of Shekhawati.
Young Langa musicians – For our young audiences we present young sarangiya Langa musicians, who sing and play the exquisite Sindhi sarangi. Trained by their ustad, the budding young masters of the community will share their music and hopefully, inspire school children as they continue to uphold the legacy of their forefathers.
Rajasthani Circus – India’s earliest circuses featured numerous traditional performing art forms from Rajasthan – acrobats, magicians, musicians, dancers and a variety of Bhawai artists performing daring feats. While it is rare to see such acts today, the Kawa circus and Jodhpur RIFF assemble some of the best artists still performing these forms, to re-create a traditional circus for our young audiences.
Bhapangan unusual, single-stringed ‘talking drum’ is a classic folk instrument, particular to the Mewat region of Rajasthan. Coupled with equal parts music and hilarity, a group of talented bhapang artists will perform in unison for our young audiences.
Teraah Taali – Created and traditionally performed by the Kamad community, the performers in teraah taali move to the reverberating sounds of thirteen (teraah) cymbals or manjira that are fastened to their waist, wrists, elbows, and hands. This dance form is an electric mix of movement and sound and gives the unique impression that the dance itself is producing.
music instead of following music. Punctuated with displays of balancing multiple pots piled on a dancer’s head, holding a sword between one’s teeth or lit oil lamps on one’s palms, the teraah taali form is a unique demonstration of skill, agility and grace.


7:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Jaswant Thada Parking (outside Mehrangarh Fort)
Entry Free and open to all

Heralding the beginning of Jodhpur RIFF, our opening night concert features a variety of riveting performances reflecting the diversity of traditional Rajasthani music, excerpts from performances by national and international artists, ending in an exhilarating finale with drummers and dancers. The concert opens with the unique vocal style of our Kalbeliya singers Sugna devi, Mohini devi and Asha Sapera who are breaking gender and social norms by reclaiming their space in folk music. They introduce us to the popular folk and inspiring dance-oriented songs of the kalbeliya, followed by a cool double flute rendition by Kuula Hetke from Estonia. Then upbeat tunes by Ars Nova Napoli and Miroca Paris lead us into some sensational and dramatic percussion ensembles with emerging khartal and dholak masters from the Langa and Manganiyar communities. After a special performance of the Khari Nritya from Mewat, the haunting strains of Jasser Haj’s violin and the mellifluous vocals of Suonno d’Ajere, the finale brings on the legendary Kawa Brass Band, celebrating Rajasthan’s vibrancy and colour with trumpet, trombone, euphonium, clarinet and other instruments. Later, the internationally acclaimed Dhol Drummers of Rajasthan take the stage, followed by popular male dancer Sunil. The night concludes with the surreal Agni Bhawai, a traditional fire eating and dance performance from the villages of northern Rajasthan, and the very special Dhol Tasha from Maharashtra.

Be ready for a splendorous start to Jodhpur RIFF 2023!