--> Skip to main content

Bhondla – Unique Dance Festival Of Maharashtra

Bhondla is unique dance festival of Maharashtra. The meaning of term ‘Bhondla’ may be traced to ‘bahu-tandula’ meaning ‘abundance of rice’ because the festival comes the Konkan region of Maharashtra where the main crop is rice paddy and the season of the festival matches with the harvesting of paddy. Bhondla 2023 date is from November 13 to November 27.

Another origin of the term is associated with ‘bhovandal’ which means ‘moving in circles’ because it is precisely the way in which the girls dance. Sometimes it is also known as ‘hadgyacha bhondla’, the connection being traced to the sun’s entry into the hasta constellation. The festival starts from the new moon day in Kartik month (October – November) and continues for 16 days.

Maidens draw rangoli (colorful designs) on a wooden platform which depicts two elephants facing each other with their trunks raised. Holding hands, they dance around the stump of a tree (locally called hadga) stuck in the ground. The go in circles singing songs called bhondla in Konkan and Bhulabai’s songs in other parts of Maharashtra. The number of songs increases every day, starting from one on the first day as many as sixteen on the last day.

Bhondla takes place in different houses every day. Snacks, expected to be different every day, are distributed before the girls disperse.

Some songs are random compositions and are put together as a collection of stray lines of forgotten songs of the remote past, connected with unknown incidents, brought together because of their rhythmic matching.

The festival has disappeared in urban areas; however it is still popular among rural girls.