Raibenshe is a traditional martial dance combining acrobatic movements and balancing tricks with bamboo poles. It is a nearly 400-year-old art form that has its origin in the Bhil warriors of Rajasthan, who came to Murshidabad as part of an invading Mughal army but subsequently settled here in the late 16th century. Historically, the dancers were part of the local kings and feudal lords’ militia.
Raindranath Tagore took great interest in Raibenshe and made it a part of the curriculum at Visva Bharati University during his lifetime. Incidentally, Bratachari is a modern offshoot of Raibenshe that was introduced by eminent nationalist intellectual Gurusaday Dutta in 1930s.
Burwan village located in Murshidabad has the largest concentration of Raibenshe artists. The leading artists have continued to keep their tradition alive and ensuring it future by training their younger generations. It is a perfect destination for visitors to interact with the artists and get opportunity to catch a Raibenshe show.
A 3-day festival named Raibenshe Utsav is being organised by the artists in December. This festival is supported by WBKVIB, as part of Rural Craft and Cultural Hub intiative of Dept. of MSME&T, Govt. of West Bengalin association with UNESCO.