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Dholi taro

February 23, 2017


Link to the song:

Meaning & Context:

Gujarat is famous for three things – its sumptuous food, its enterprising people, and the Garba. Garba is a form of dance which is generally performed during the nine-day worship of Goddess Durga, the Navratri. Men and women dress up in colourful, traditional clothes and dance in a circle, swaying and clapping their hands rhythmically. Dholi taro presents this dance in a grand celebratory setting, where the lovers tease each other like Krishna-Radha.

The song depicts a scene from Krishna leela – Radha has come out for a celebration, looking ever-so beautiful, accompanied by her friends, the gopis. Krishna, as always, has decided to follow her and is trying to woo her by playing the flute. He teases her, she teases him back. He teases her some more, she teases him right back. That’s how the song goes… This is a popular scenario in many depictions of Krishna leela, across art forms. Here, it is interwoven with traditional Gujarati song and dance.

Ismail Darbar’s music is spectacular. The song begins in the style of classical Hindustani music and then goes on to transform into Garba, with the dhol (Indian drum) taking the centre-stage. The lyrics too are all about the music, really. They talk about the various types of sounds, right from the bangles and anklets of the girl to musical instruments like manjira (type of cymbals). It’s a difficult song to translate for this reason.

The picturization is also breathtakingly beautiful. It inspired a whole generation to go for Garba, dressed up like the lead actors of the movie. It is one of my most favourite songs and I am glad that I’ve finally been able to post it.

Lyrics to the song:

Jhananana jhanjhanat jhanjhar baaje re aaj
Tanananana tantanat manjeera baaje
Ghananana ghanghanat gori ke kangana aaj
Chhananana chhanchhanat paayal sang baaje

Sar par chunar odhe niklegi aaj raadhe
Lehra lehra ke gopiyon sang

Kaanha bhi peechhe peechhe
Taan koi kheenche kheenche
Murli se barsaayega sur tarang

Dharti aur vo gagan
Jhoomenge sang sang
Sab pe chadhega aaj prem rang

Rangeen gulaal hoga
Socho kya haal hoga
Nachenge prem rogi dham dhama dham dham

Dham dham datilal datilal dhidkit dhidkit dhilaal
Baaje mirdang dhana dhan dhan dhana dhan baaje
Chham chham chham chhamat jhanjhar jhamjhamat
Ghungroo ghamghamat chamak cham chamake


Hey baaje re baaje re dhol baaje….

Dholi taro dhol baaje, dhol baaje, dhol baaje dhol
Ki dham dham baaje dhol

Chori badi anmol
Meethe meethe iske bol
Aankhein iski gol gol gol gol
To dham dham baaje dhol

Chhora hai natkhat
Bole hai patpat
Are chhede mujhe bole aise bol
To dham dham baaje dhol

Rasilo ye roop tharo chu lu zara
Arre na… Arre haan…
Arre haan haan haan haan

Raat ki rani jaise roop mera mehka sa
Udegi mahak mujhe chhoo na tu kyon behka sa

Paas aaja meri rani
Tu ne na meri maani
Karoonga main manmaani
Mat kar shaitani

Hey dham dham dham dhol baaje baaje re dhol baaje… Dham dham…

Line by line translation:

Today, anklets ring jhananana jhanjhanat
Cymbals jangle tanananana tantanat
Today, girl’s bangles clank ghananana ghanghanat
Together with anklets jingling chhananana chhanchhanat

Today, covering her head with chunari will Radha come out
Swaying, with her friends

Krishna, too, will follow
Pulling some new melody
Showering musical notes from the flute

Earth and sky
Will dance together
Everyone will be covered in love’s colour

Vibrant colour sprays will there be
Imagine what it would be like
The love-sick dancing dham dhama dham dham

Dham dham datilal datilal dhidkit dhidkit dhilaal
Mridanga resounds dhana dhan dhan dhana dhan, it beats
Anklets ring chham chham chham
Bells jingle chamak cham chamake

Hey the drum beats resound…

Dear drummer, your drum beats, drum beats…
Drum beats dham dham


The girl is very precious
Sweet are her words
Round are her eyes
Drum beats dham dham

The boy is mischievous
Banters constantly
Teases me, says such things
Drum beats dham dham

Luscious is your beauty, if I may touch it
Oh no… Oh yes…
Oh yes.. yes… yes…

My beauty is fragrant like jasmine
The scent will fly, don’t touch me, why do you seem so mad

Come near me
You didn’t hear me
I’ll do what I want
Don’t do mischief

Hey the drum beats dham dham… dham dham does the drum beat… Dham dham…


From → Des

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