Dashavatar is a popular theatre tradition form from Maharashtra and Goa. The term 'Dashavatar' refers to the ten incarnations of Hindu God 'Lord Vishnu'. The theatre tradition actually is an artform with a history of eight hundred years.
It is performed during the annual festival of the village deity in the temple premises after midnight, without any technical props. The Dashavatar performance comprises two sessions, the 'poorva-ranga' (the initial session) and the 'uttar-ranga' (the latter session). The 'poorva-ranga' is the preliminary presentation that precedes the performance proper. The 'poorva-ranga' is the story about the killing of the demon Shankhasur. This act also includes the characters of Lord Ganesha, Riddhi, Siddhi, a Brahmin, Sharada (the goddess of learning), Brahmadev and Lord Vishnu. The 'uttar-ranga', known as 'akhyan' is considered to be the main performance based on Hindu mythological tales, highlighting one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The performance uses bright make-up and costumes. It is accompanied by three musical instruments: a paddle harmonium, tabla and zanj (cymbals).
Source IGNCA Inventory of ICH, Janapada Sampada Division, IGNCA
Contributed by Aditya, CEE Ahmedabad