Dhangari Dhol-World Culture Festival Experience


The Dhangar (Dhangad) are a herding caste of people primarily located in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The Dhangri Dhol is the Drum of the shepherd clan in Maharashtra. The Drums also come out during their New Year known as the Gudi Padva.

About 1100 Dhangaris beat their drums during the World Culture Festival. The Co-ordinators & the Dholwadaks from various locations who had come to the World Culture Festival share with us their experiences


The Dhangari Dhol program became part of World Culture Festival at the express behest of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Himself ! I was fortunate to lead the project and our entire team was single-minded driven by Gurudev’s wish to have the resplendent colours of saffron, yellow and whites playing the traditional Dhangari Dhol of Maharashtra in praise of Lord Vitthal Birdev (Shiva-Narayana). We were honoured to be given the privilege of inaugurating the World Culture Festival with the Dhol program too.
The sight of the 1100 Dhol artists performing despite the rain and welcoming the rainbow was touching to the heart. It was indeed a daunting task to get all these 1100 artists to practice together in Kolhapur for weeks before World Culture Festival, arrange their travel, attire, stay and food arrangements in Delhi and keep them in good humour during the World Culture Festival. But with Gurudev’s abundant grace, everything happened perfectly and beautifully without any hitch. The Gobind Sadan Gurudwara in Delhi hosted the artists for all the 3 days and provided sumptuous food. The Indian Railways sanctioned a special train for Dhangari Dhol artists from Kolhapur to Delhi and back. All this is pure grace.
We were amazed to know a few days before the World Culture Festival that the “Bhaknuk” (leader of the Dhangari community who makes future predictions) had predicted a year ago that Dhangari Dhol artists shall carry their saffron flags to Delhi lead by a great Guru. We knew we were part of a historic and extraordinary happening : something which Gurudev had planned Himself.
Our 7-members core team comprising of Mansing, Vinayak, Shekhar, Prashant, Dimple, Vijay Hakay and myself were like the Saptasura of music which worked in symphony composed by the Master conductor Gurudev Himself.  My heart is overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to Gurudev for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be HIS instrument and make it happen. Jai Gurudev ! “
-Rajashree Patil


When the world culture festival was announced, the mind could not perceive the magnanimity of this historic event.  I was a part of the coordination of Dangari Dhol performance of 1100 artists from a simple background known as Dhangars – the shepherd community of Maharashtra.  They are very simple, innocent, and devoted villagers.

We had so many challenges bringing 1100 people together and I wonder how Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji managed to pull off an event of 36,000 plus artists on one stage! What really moved me was in spite of the heavy rains on the first day of the event, no one budged from their seats, neither the artists nor the audience. The artists gave overwhelming performances with such zeal that it almost seemed like the rain was a part of their performance.

What left me dumb stricken was that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also stood there fully drenched.  We were almost a group of 2000 people from Kolhapur who attended the World Culture Festival.  My inbox is full of messages thanking me for inspiring them to be a part of this spectacular event.

— Dimple Gajwani, Co-ordinator- Dhangari Dhol, Kolhapur




It was a dream-come-true to be a part of the World Culture Event. We have never thought that we could fulfill such a big task. This was only possible by Gurudev’s grace and blessings. It was a big and tough challenge to take such illiterate, innocent shepherd community to a big city like Delhi and make them perform at such a big global platform with the help of my 100 colleagues. I feel very proud and happy to be a part of such a “Bhooto Na Bhavishati” kind of an event.

— Prashant Patil, Co-ordinator, Kasaba Bawada


By Gurudev’s grace, we got a chance to show our talent to perform Dhangar Dhol at such a grand event so we are very thankful to Art of Living Foundation. We came to experience how true is the concept of Vasudhaiva Kudumbakam came to know about art and culture of 155 countries. Through this event, Gurudev has given our 1000 Dhangari Dhol performers to perform for the world peace. We were truly amazed to be a part of such a huge and grand event. Gurudev has done this job to bring simple people like us on this global platform. Once again, we are very much thankful to Gurudev and the whole Art of Living Foundation.

— Biru Oma Pujari, Dholwadak


Gurudev has given us such a global platform to our Dhangar Community and we are very thankful. We are highly amazed to experience this event.  Even in our seven generations, we have not experienced such a grand event. We are very honoured to be a part of such a huge and grand event of this World Culture Festival. We and even our next generations will always feel very proud and honoured for it.

–Agnu Lavate, Dholwadak, Ichalkaranji




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