Dhunuchi Naach - Keeping The Tradition Alive

Dhunuchi Naach (Dhunuchi dance) is not just a dance form for Bengalis, but a vital part of their prayers. This devotional dance is synonymous with Durga Puja. Durga Puja is the biggest festival for Bengalis and celebrated with great pomp and devotion in eastern India. The traditional dance is performed by holding the Dhunuchi, an earthen pot filled with burning coconut husk, camphor, and dhuno that generate thick smoke. Dhuno is the resin of the Sal tree.

Dhunuchi Naach

Dhunuchi Naach 
Pic Credits: Abhishek Roy

Dhunuchi dance is a powerful dance form.  According to Puranas, Mahisasura, the demon King, was strong and powerful. He had received a boon from God Bramha that no man or animal can kill him. When Maa Durga was going to kill the demon, devotees were dancing by holding the Dhunuchi to give power and energy to the Goddess. The sweet-smelling smoke that emits from the Dhunuchi or clay pots intoxicates the devotees. It removes negativity and brings in positive energy.  

Dhunuchi Dance
Pic Credits - Soumen Das

Earlier, only men used to perform Dhunuchi Naach. But, nowadays, women are also seen performing this elegant dance with grace. It is performed on the beats of Dhak to thank Maa Durga. The traditional drummers from Bengal called Dhakis, play their instrument Dhak to generate the energetic tunes. Dhaki Amplifies The Festive Mood. Rising tempos of the Dhaki make the dance more intense, and the performers start swaying to the beats of Dhaki. 

During Durga Puja, most of the Pandals organize the Dhunuchi Naach competition. Non-Bengalis also participate with equal enthusiasm. Youngsters are encouraged to take part in this festive and cultural unity.  

Dhunuchi Dance Durga Puja
Pic Credits - Iti Agarwal

In general, people do the aarti with Dhunuchi in both the hands. Some performers may go with the third one held between the teeth. People flock to the Pandals to experience this spectacular view. Devotees eagerly wait throughout the year to perform Dhunuchi Naach in front of Ma Durga. The Dhunuchi dancers express that this experience is beyond description.

Dhunuchi Naach Durga Puja
Pic Credits - Instagram/bhuppigraphy

At first glance, the dance steps of Dhunuchi Naach look very easy. But, the dance is very exhaustive as it requires full-body stretching. The dance needs to be performed with the utmost care as the burning husks might fall on the dancers, but the devotion and enthusiasm overcome all fear. During the dance, the whole aura becomes divine. 

In the Bollywood movie Parineeta, Sanjay Dutt performed this dance. Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen also performs the Dhunuchi dance during Durga Puja with her daughters.

Also Read Durga Puja In Bangalore - Famous Pandals You Must Visit

Also Read Visit Kumartuli - Witness The Goddess Come Alive

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  1. Beautifully written blog!! The photographs really help illustrate it! -B