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
INTACH Chitrakala Parishath Art Conservation Centre (ICKPAC), Bangalore, is currently involved in the conservation of 300-year-old mural paintings in Tamil Nadu. These paintings reportedly dating back to the Nayaka period are on the ceiling of the Devasiriya Mandapam, also called the thousand-pillared hall, in the Sri Thiyagarajaswami Temple at Tiruvarur, about 60 kms from Thanjavur. These vibrant paintings depict the legend of Muchkunda Chola 'the monkey-faced king', who is said to be responsible in bringing the idol of Lord Thiyagaraja to Tiruvarur.
Observed in December-January, the Dhanu Yatra of Bargarh in western Odisha is an 11 day theatre festival. Dhanu Yatra is the theatrical presentation of Krishna Leela enacted to bring the old myth alive on locations from the marriage of Devaki with Vasudeva till the death of Kansa as described in the scriptures. The entire town transforms itself into Mathura, and the episodes from the marriage of Devaki and Vasudev, the birth, growing up of Krishna and the slaying of Kans are enacted on various stages in the town, making it probably the world's largest open air theatre. The entire town participates in the festival.
Chhattisgarh, a centrally located State of India is popularly known as 'Rice Bowl' of India; not only because of the high production of rice in the State but also because of over 20,000 rice varieties recorded in the region. It boasts of its traditional heritage of farming communities through selection and adaptation to a variety of soil, water and micro-ecosystems conditions including predators.
Ghadwas are the crafts persons involved in casting bronze casting articles. These craftspersons are scattered all over the region. Jharas of Raigarh, Malars of Sarguja, Swarnakaras of Tikamgarh are the other tribals engaged in this art.
The Women folk of Chhatisgarh craft doll toys which are generally hollow and does not involve use of any tools. Whistle toys resembling the period of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, are very popular amongst the locals and tourists. Figures of birds, animals, dogs, deer, etc are specially designed for the children and have a wheel as a attachment to these toys.
Contributed by: CEE Central
In Meghalaya, an ingenious system of tapping of stream and springwater by using bamboo pipes to irrigate plantations is widely prevalent. It is so perfected that about 18-20 litres of water entering the bamboo pipe system per minute gets transported over several hundred metres and finally gets reduced to 20-80 drops per minute at the site of the plant. The tribal farmers of Khasi and Jaintia hills use the 200-year-old system.
Duffmuttu is an art form practiced by the Muslims of the Malabar region of Kerala, as part of their social events, festivals and religious occasions.
Durga Puja was originally a festival which was celebrated at home; in fact, some families still continue to celebrate it that way. Earlier it was celebrated with much solemnity with great respect to tradition. Today, the emphasis is more on the size and presentation of the puja mandap; the mandap takes the form of exotic structures like the Versailles Palace or a tribal cottage