Kachchhi Ghodi, an intriguing folk dance from Rajasthan, is known for its unique dance costumes. The performers of Kachchhi Ghodi dance are required to wear novelty horse outfit while performing. The origin of the dance format is said to be inspired from the tales of Bhanwariya bandits of Shekhawati region, who like the Robin Hood would rob rich merchants only to distribute the loot among the poor of the region.
An alternate school of thoughts claim that the inspiration of the dance format had come from the tale of a folk deity Baba Ramdevji of Runicha nagari, Jaisalmer. According to the tale, Baba Ramdevji as a young kid was very fond of toy horses, which eventually led to a miracle and thence gave birth to this dance form.
Kachchhi Ghodi, was initially developed as entertaining act to be depicted during wedding ceremonies, in order to entertain the bridegroom’s party. The fundamental theme of Kachchhi Ghodi, at that time was to portray mock fights using blunt swords, making the dance performers appear as warriors sitting on horseback; meanwhile the singers would recite the folk tale on which the performance is based.
However, as the dance is becoming more about the entertainment and less about the convention, the mock fights are often discarded establishing main focus on the amusing dance steps that can easily be matched with beats of drum or any other similar musical instrument.
As of now, Kachchhi Ghodi has become as inevitable part of the Rajasthani culture. Any traditional or festive procession, like that of Gangaur in Jaipur and Udaipur, are considered incomplete without Kachchhi Ghodi performances. The papier-mâché novelty horse embellished by Shisha embroidery creates such a colorful image that inadvertently brightens the sight of the whole procession. Other than the horse, the rest of the costume of the performers includes typical Kurta, pajama, turban, and sometimes ghunghroo (musical anklet with numerous metallic bells).
Earlier the dance format was performed only by the people of Bhambhi, Bhavi, Kamdholi, and Sarghara communities. Though now, no such limitations prevail, still most of the professional Kachchhi Ghodi dancers belong to these communities.