Traditions & Practices

Traditions & Practices
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Madhubani Painting

Madhubani Painting, also referred to as Mithila Art (as it flourishes in the Mithila region of Bihar), is characterized by line drawings filled in by bright colours and contrasts or patterns. This style of painting has been traditionally done by the women of the region, though today men are also involved to meet the demand.

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Mahari Dance originated in the temples of Odisha. History provides ample evidence of the 'Devadasi' cult in Odisha. The dance form that was being practiced by these Devdasis in the ancient times was called Mahari. The word "Mahari" in fact is formed by combining two words Maha and Nari that literally means great women. These Devadasis were considered sacred and were to perform only for the Lord Jagganath.

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Mata Ni Pachedi

Shri Manubhai Chitara and his family has been following this tradition of making the Mata ni Pachedi for more than 10 decades. The style of this artwork is drawn from the Kalamkari paintings. The method involves drawing on a cotton cloth with a stick made from the date plant with natural dyes. The motifs are drawn from Hindu goddesses and the cloth is made to hang behind the holy idol of the goddess. Today this is a showpiece that is found in many an art lovers home. The cloth is something that is offered as a token of gratitude to the goddess by those who seek her blessings especially during Navratri.

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Margamkali is a folk art performed by the Syrian Christian community of Kerala (especially the Knanaya sect), particularly in Kottayam and Thrissur districts. The word margam means path or religion. The theme of the margamkali performance is the activities and travels of Mar Thoma (St Thomas) in the Malabar region and his martyrdom.

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Mobile Biodiversity Festival

On 14th January 2011, women from 70 villages where the Deccan Development Society (DDS) works, vowed to guard their traditional wealth of biodiversity farming. This was at the 13th Annual Biodiversity Festival organised by DDS - a festival organised to celebrate the return of local seeds into active farming systems and a time for the farmers of the Deccan dryland region to celebrate their food systems, seed sovereignty and rich biodiversity. The Festival not only symbolises the celebration of the agri-biodiversity of the region but also the way the poor and the women have retrieved their dignity and autonomy.

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Mizo Bamboo Dance

The bamboo dance performed in Mizoram is called so as bamboo is used in this dance both for making music as well as for the steps of the dance. The dancer moves by stepping alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of horizontal bamboos, held against the ground by people sitting face to face on either sides. While two persons sit on either end holding the bamboo and tapping it open and close in rhythmic beats, a row of dancers move between and out of the bamboo. The bamboos placed horizontally, are supported by two bases, one at each end. When clapped, they produce a sharp sound which forms the rhythm of the dance and also indicates the timing of the dance. The dancer steps in and out to the beats of the bamboos. The patterns and steppings of the dance have many variations. Sometimes the steps are made in imitation of the movements of birds and sometimes the swaying of trees.


Contributed by: Prarthana, CEE Ahmedabad


Mudiyettu is a 'ritual theatre' and dance drama performed in the four districts of Kerala, which earlier belonged to the princely state of Travancore and Cochin. It is associated with the Marar and Kuruppu communities of the area. Mudiyettu is a ritual theatre form of Kerala based on the mythological tale of the battle between Goddess Kali and Darika, an evil king. It is a community ritual in which the entire village participates. The ritual-theatre dance event that also involves drawings on the temple floor as well as chants and music.

Source IGNCA Inventory of ICH, Janapada Sampada Division, IGNCA

Contributed by Aditya, CEE Ahmedabad

Musukha Dannai

Musukha Dannai is a wooden art sculpture, made out of Saitan wood (known as Chitona in Bodo) with fine curvatures and skilled handwork. Found in Kokrajhar distruct in the Gossaigaon Tehsil of Assam, the sculpture was crafted in 1992. The wooden sculpture depicts the famous traditional folklore namely "Sandwa Baudiya" based on Bodo tradition and culture.

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