Rouf Dance: The Beautiful Kashmiri Folk Dance



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Apart from its scenery and beautiful valleys, Kashmir is also known for it’s rich culture and traditions. The traditions and culture comprise of the rich heritage of cultural dances and songs. Rouf is one of the most popular types of traditional dance in Jammu and Kashmir region.

Rouf is a combination of Kashmiri folk dance and Kashmiri folk song, performed by Kashmiri women or girls on different occasions in Kashmir like Eid, Ramdan, harvesting season, etc, but the most essential occasion being the one that falls during the month of Ramadan. Rouf songs include Naats and Kalam, besides folk songs.

Women wearing maroon performing rouf

Rouf dance in jammu and kashmir

The Rouf was originated in the Muslim community of the state of Kashmir. The dance originated several years back in order to celebrate the good weather of the spring season and also for the purpose of merriment in the various festivals like Id-ul- Fitr.

Women wearing blue yellow and red outfits performing rouf

The dance is being performed by the women in beautiful costumes and on a piece of characteristic music. In the past, every village, town even streets of Srinagar were resounding with Rouf. The simple footwork of Rouf is both a visual as well as an artistic indulgence.

In rouf two rows of women or girls take part with their arms interlocked facing each other. The steps and dance movements of rouf are simple. On rhythmic beats, they come one step forward and on the next go one step backward in swaying motion. The song that is sung during the performance is in the form of question/answer, where one group questions and the other group replies to it in a rhythmic way.

Traditionally, no musical accompaniment is used with rouf songs as it is being sung while doing daily activities. But when performing on stage or in an informal gathering, folk musical instruments like Noet, Tumbakhnari, Rabab, etc are used.

Rouf is delightful to watch and hear. During the performance of rouf women wear colorful pharans and Kasaba. Rouf songs are not the same during different occasions in Kashmir except for the presentation of dancing style. The rouf which are sung by the Kashmiri women during different occasions depicts different themes like joy, happiness, sorrow, welcome songs, spring songs, etc.

Women of kashmir performing rouf dance

Eid Rouf

“Eid aye ras ras

Eidgah waswai

Eidgah waswai …… “

Meaning: O’ friend Eid has come slowly and slowly. Let us go to Eidgah to offer prayers.

Ramadan Rouf

“Retav Manz

Reth Kusui Jan

Shoubvun Mahi Ramzan … “

Meaning: O Friend let us sing Rouf on the auspicious month of Ramadan As this month excels in merits than all other months of the year.

Women wearing colourful outfits performing rouf

Its modern popularity in Kashmir has led to the use of new musical instruments and electronic sound sampling. Present-day Artists in Kashmir make different types of Kashmiri music albums and provide many special effects in Rouf. In this regard, Television plays an important role in its development. Hence the Rouf songs evince the physical expression of inner response to the joy and beauty of nature around.


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