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Western Nepal’s traditional ‘Hudke’ dance disappearing

JUMLA: Karnali’s traditional ‘Hudke’ dance which was widely popular in earlier days in several districts including Jumla in the Karnali region is now on the verge of disappearance, thanks to modern music taking over.
The traditional dance, which is performed along with the traditional Nepali musical band (panchebaja) during the social and cultural celebrations including wedding and bratabandha, a sacred thread wearing ceremony, is losing its charm these days as there is a sharp decline in its demand with the easy availability and increasing influence of modern music.
A most wanted until some years ago, the conventional dance performed in wedding functions in particular reflecting the originality of Karnali has now become a rare sighting. Besides, the ancestors also do not bother to pass on the skills required for performing Hudke and playing Panchebaja to new generations who are not interested in it whatsoever.
As locals claim, the senior people in the village and tourists largely enjoy this cultural dance and Panchebaja as well and its protection and promotion is a dire need of the hour.
Local youth Jaya Prasad Gatuam viewed that the revival of the dance would help promote cultural tourism here. In this regard, the Tatopani rural municipality in the district has allocated a budget of Rs 500 thousand for its conservational and promotional efforts.
Rural municipality chair Nawaraj Neupane believes the restoration of the dance would help promote the culture as well. The dance is performed in a group. At least seven people are necessary to form the group to perform the Hudke dance.
The traditional dance had been also a means of income source for the people associated with the job. They would be invited to social and cultural gatherings to perform the dance. One member in the team would get Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 according to their dancing skills.
Hudke performance during the birth and wedding celebrations is considered auspicious. The performers are dressed in a special way. Hudko is a traditional musical instrument made of dried goat skin. This is widely popular in Tatopani, Rara and in several parts of Kalikot and Mugu districts.

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