Dhangari Gaja is performed by Dhangars of
Sholapur district of Maharashtra.
The Dhangars are shepherds who rear sheep and goats to make their living.
All year long they take their herds to green pastures for grazing and become one with nature. Inspired by the surrounding green pastures and evergreen trees they compose poetry. The poetry is in a form called 'Ovi' which is made up of couplets. Sometimes fantastical stories are also told through this form. Tales of the birth of their God "Biruba" are found in simple and earthy lines.
Once in every year the Dhangars return home to honour their God 'Biruba'. They spend their time with their families and beloved ones. The Dhangari Gaja Dance is performed to please their God for His blessings.
Dhangars dance in traditional Marathi dresses - Dhoti, Angarakha and Pheta with colourful handkerchiefs. Dancers move around a group of drum players.