Choliya Dance has a long history, going back to over a thousand years, when it originated in the warring Khasiya Kingdom of Khandesh, and marriages were conducted with swords. The Chand kings arrived in the 10th century, bringing the people together.
In Nepal, the term Khasa remains synonymous with Kashatrya, and even in Khasdesh, they adopted the traditions of the Rajputs, who were themselves considered Kshatryas. Keeping the old tradition alive, the Rajputs dance this at their weddings as a part of the marriage procession itself, led by the male dancers who go on dancing until they reach the bride’s house.
Rajputs perform in pairs with swords and shields, and the drummers are typically Harijans, referred to as Dholies. The Turi and Ransing are usually played by Bairagis, Jogis or Gosains. Turi and Ransing are instruments that are typical of the Kumaon region. The dancers demonstrate several sword-fighting routines with perfect timing, combined with jumps and body movements.
Dressed in their ceremonial costumes, the warriors waves swords and shields and the warlike music was heard. The huge red flag with animal symbols on it struck fear, joy, awe and wonder in the observers, as if they were advancing to attack.