Dhunuchi Nach

"The dhunuchi dance is one of the most joyful and inclusive aspects of Durga Puja, performed in front of the goddess mostly by adults owing to the risks posed by burning hot coconut husks, but sometimes by children too, to the rhythm of the dhaak. The dance begins at a sedate pace and gradually picks up speed as the dancers move faster and the dhaak beats quicken. Typically, a dhunuchi dance is performed at the end of the ‘arati’ (or aarti, from Sanskrit ‘aratrika’ - the waving of earthen lamps before a deity or person as a mark of honour or welcome). While the standard practice is to carry a dhunuchi in one hand, many dancers will carry two, with some even holding a third in their mouths, or balancing it on their heads. Needless to add, safety norms must be strictly maintained at all times It is difficult to describe the energy and vigour of a dhunuchi dance unless you witness it first hand. The smoke from the clay pots, the aroma of dhuno, and the general air of devotion blended with joy make it an irresistible part of the festivities. And the beauty of it is that anyone can perform the dhunuchi dance, even if they have two left feet! "