Dhadi-Dhadan nritya, Dadhikando, other popular folk traditions accompany Radhasthami celebrations

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Other than the myriad religious ceremonies, one of the most interesting parts of Shri Radha and Krishna Janmashtami celebrations are the popular folk traditions/arts that infuse the ‘raw flavours of Braj’ in these festivals.

Vrindavan, 2020-08-27 (VT): The appearance of Hladini Devi as Shri Radha was observed in Braj yesterday (August 26). Other than the myriad religious ceremonies, one of the most interesting parts of Shri Radha and Krishna Janmashtami celebrations here are the popular folk traditions and arts that infuse the ‘raw flavours of Braj’ in these festivals. Well-known among them are samaj/badhai gayan, dadhikando and the dadhi dhandan nritya.

Samajis congregate in temples and sing the badhai padas written by the saints of Braj. Describing this tradition, Acharya Shrivatsa Goswamiji of Shri Radhraman Mandir, says, “Samaj, an assembly of musicians, is an ancient liturgical tradition also revived for Krishna worship in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Verses written by the great saints of Braj are sung in Dhrupad style. It is performed daily in certain temples of Vrindavan, and in others only on festive occasions. From both the ras-lila and samaj traditions further art forms developed.”

Dadhikando is another wonderful way in which Brajwasis express their limitless joy on the appearance of their beloved deities. It is also known as ‘dahi ki holi’ (yogurt holi) where people splash yogurt mixed with turmeric (haldi) on each other. Both yogurt and turmeric are considered auspicious in Hindu religious traditions. It is the main ‘sport’ played during Nandotsav.

 

चलौ वृषभानु गोप के द्वार।

जन्म लियौ मौहन हित स्यामा, आनंदनिधि सुकुमार।।

गावत जुवति मुदित मिलि मंगल, उच्च मधुर धुनि धार।

विविध कुसुम किसलय कोमल दल. सोभित बंदनवार।।

विदित वेद विधि विहित विप्रवर, करि स्वस्तिनु उच्चार।

मृदुल मृदंग-मुरज-भेरी-डफ, दिवि दुंदुभी रवकार।।

मागध-सूत-बंदी-चारन, जस कहत पुकार-पुकार।

हाटक-हीर-चीर-पाटंबर, देत सँभार-सँभार।।

चंदन सकल धेनु तन मंडित, चले जु ग्वाल सिंगार।

(जय श्री) 'हित हरिवंश' दुग्ध-दधि छिरकत, मध्य हरिद्रागार।।

 

Dhadi Dhadan lila/nritya is a folk art that has become less popular in some temples of Braj-Vrindavan today, yet those of the Vallabh (particularly Dwarkadhish Mandir) and Hit Harivamsh Sampradyas are upholding it in a major way.

On both the Janmashtamis people from different communities come to congratulate the blessed parents of Shri Radha and Krishna. Instead of conveying insipid greetings, they prefer to sing the ‘badhai’, and receive some gifts (neg) as a token of appreciation in return. One may call them the ‘Bards of Braj’.

 

जदुवंशी जजमान, तिहारो ढाढी आयो हों,

कुंवरी जनम सुन के हों आयो, राखि हमारो मान ||

एक बार हों पहले आयो देन बधाई ताकी |

नंदी सुर व्रजराज, घरनि घर कूखि सिरानी जाकी ||

अब तो मेरे मन को भायो! दोउ नेग चुकाओ!

नंदरानी कीरतदे रानी ढाढ़िन को पेहराओ ||

बहोत भांत ढाढ़िन पहरायो गोपराय बड़ दानी |

'किशोरीदास' को निर्भय करिके व्रज राखो वृजरानी ||

 

हुं व्रजराजकी ढाढिन व्रजमें आई हों.

सुनि जायो जसुमति पूत ,सुधामते धाई हो।

ढाढिन रुप अनूप सबे मन भाई हो,मानो उर्वशी इंद्र अखाडे ते आप पठाई हो।।

लई भीतर भवन बुलाई जहा नंदरानी हे,शीश नवाई अशीष दे वंश वखानी हे।।

ताल पखावज आवज,बाजत बांसुरी;निर्तत थेई थेई सो गावत गांसुरी। 

नंदके आंगन मानों निर्तत मोहनी;रीझि रही नंदरानी सबे विधि सोहनी। 

दीनी नई नवकेसरि बेंदी जरायकी;दीनी कंचन जेहरि पंकज पायकी।।

ढाढिन देत आशीष जीयो तेरो लाडिलो,गुन गाय चतुर्भजदास सर्व सुख चाडिलो।।

 

The roles of both dhadi and dhadhan are played by men. Traditionally the performance used to be accentuated by musical instruments such as daph, dhol, khanjri, manjeera, mrdang, upang, chang, mochang, sitar vani, bansuri, algoja, and sarod. Today however, many of these instruments and the artists who played them have become extinct.

 

There are two kinds of Braj folk dances- community-based and collective. The first category includes the likes of ahir, dhobi, kumhaar, sapera, and nat-kanjar that are mostly seen in community-specific functions such as marriages. The other one is a more universal type of art, mainly associated with festivals. It encompasses styles such as nrsingh nritya, languriya, charkula, huranga, swaang and raas. Dhadi-Dhadhan nritya belongs to the second category.



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