This film is part of Free

Devil Dancers of Sikkim

Hear the Lama band, see the sacred dances: welcome to Sikkim, in the shadow of the Himalayas.

Travelogue 1934 9 mins


The Maharaja and Maharani of 1930s Sikkim approved of and take part in this ethnographic documentary about their 'strange,' 'magic' culture, found on the pilgrim's route to Tibet. Though the awed English narrator admits his 'devil dance' tag is sensationalist, he dismisses the faith the dance represents. The musical instruments are indigenous, the sound recorded on location, until the contrasting credits, with their thrilling, 'Orientalist' tone.

This was one of a number of films made for the Gaumont-British travelogue series titled Secrets of India (a title probably intended to capitalise of the success of the same company's Secrets of Nature). Preti Taneja