The Lepcha tribal, community of Sikkim performs an interesting dance called Kat-gnok-lok, literally meaning dance of the swans. The dance is related to the migration of swans from warm plains to the cooler Himalayan regions when summer approaches and return to the plains when winter comes. These migratory birds indicate to the Lepchas when to sow the seeds and when to harvest the crops. Therefore, a legend has been inspired by the swans. It tells the story of the sojourn of a group of migratory swans led by Gnonpo Geubu and his wife Jhum Thi. When the Lepchas see that the swans have started migrating to the cooler regions in February/ March, they begin their sowing, and when the swans return to the plains in October/November, they know that the time has come for harvesting the crops. The legend tells how the group of migratory swans had to undergo lots of suffering while heading for the cooler regions and how finally they found comfort and food. The legend inspires the Lepchas to bear courageously the difficult days hoping for a comfortable future. The day the Lepchas sight a migratory swan, they perform the Kar-gnok-lok dance in which they suggestively depict the aspects of human life in which one has to struggle hard to attain peaceful, prosperous and happy life. The dance is performed by young boys and girls, attired in colorful costumes, on various happy occasions. The dance is accompanied by songs and instrumental music provided by Tingdar, the drum; Palit, the bamboo flute; Tambak, the plucked string instrument; Satsang, the bowed string instrument; and Romu, the cymbals.
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