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Showing posts with label HISTORY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HISTORY. Show all posts

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Coins in Ancient & Medieval India: Gupta Age Coin

Coins in Ancient & Medieval India



The word Coin is procured from the Latin word Cuneus. It is believed that the first recorded use of coin was in China & Greece around 700 BC, and in India in the 6th century BC.

The study of coins and medallions = Numismatics.

Coins Issued in Gupta Age:

  • The Gupta age (319 AD-550 AD) marked a period of a great Hindu revival.

  • The Gupta coins were made of gold, although they issued silver and copper coins too.

  • Silver coins were issued only after Chandragupta II overthrew the Western Satraps.


  • On one side of these coins, the king can be found standing and making oblations before an altar, playing the veena, performing Ashvamedha, riding a horse or an elephant, slaying a lion or a tiger or a rhinoceros with a sword or bow, or sitting on a couch.

  • On the other side was the Goddess Lakshmi seated on a throne or a lotus seal, or the figure of the queen herself.

  • The inscriptions on the coins were all in Sanskrit (Brahmi script) for the first time in the history of coins.

  • Gupta rulers issued coins depicting the emperors not only in martial activities like hunting lions/tigers, posing with weapons, etc. but also in leisurely activities like playing the Veena, with the reverse side of the coin having images of Goddesses Lakshmi, Durga, Ganga, Garuda, and Kartikeya.
Fig: King & Goddess Lakshmi




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Coins in Ancient & Medieval India: Indo-Greek Coins

Coins in Ancient & Medieval India



The word Coin is procured from the Latin word Cuneus. It is believed that the first recorded use of coin was in China & Greece around 700 BC, and in India in the 6th century BC.

The study of coins and medallions = Numismatics.


Indo-Greek Coins:


  • Indo-Greeks introduced the fashion of showing the head of the ruler on the coins.

  • The legends on their Indian coins were mentioned in two languages- in Greek on one side and in Kharosthi on the other side of the coin.

  • The Greek gods & goddesses commonly shown on the Indo-Greek coins were Zeus, Hercules, Apollo, and Pallas Athene.


These coins are significant because;
  • They carried detailed information about the issuing monarch, the year of issue, and sometimes an image of the reigning king.

  • Coins were made of silver, copper, nickel, and lead

  • The coins of the Greek kings in India were bilingual, i.e., written in Greek on the front side and in Pali language (in Kharosthi script) on the back.

Later, Indo-Greek Kushan kings introduced the Greek custom of engraving portrait heads on the coins. Kushan coins were adorned with a helmeted bust of the king on one side, and the king's favorite deity on the reverse. The coins issued by Kanishka employed only Greek characters.


The substantial coinage of the Kushan Empire also influenced a large number of tribes, dynasties, and kingdoms, which began issuing their own coins.

Fig: Kushan Period Coin




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Coins in Ancient & Medieval India: Punch Marked Coins

Coins in Ancient & Medieval India



The word Coin is procured from the Latin word Cuneus. It is believed that the first recorded use of coin was in China & Greece around 700 BC, and in India in the 6th century BC.

The study of coins and medallions = Numismatics.


Punch Marked Coins:


  • One of the five marks or symbols incused on a single side and were termed as 'Punch Marked' coins. 

  • Panini's Ashtadhyayi cites that to make punch-marked coins, metallic pieces were stamped with symbols. Each unit was called 'Ratti' weighing 0.11 gram.

  • The first trace of this coin was available between the 6th & 2nd century BC.


The following two classifications are available:


Punch marked coins issued by various Mahajanapadas:

  • The first Indian punch-marked coins called Puranas, Krishnapadas, or Pana were minted in the 6th century BC by the various Janapadas and Mahajanapadas of the Gangetic Plain.

  • These coins had irregular shapes, standard weight and were made up of silver with different markings like Saurashtra had a humped bull, Dakshin Panchala had a Swastika and Magadha had generally five symbols.

  • Magadhan punch-marked coins became the most transmitted coins in South Asia.

  • They were mentioned in the Manusmriti and Buddhist Jataka stories and lasted three centuries longer in the South than in the North.
Fig: Magadha coin (five symbols)


Punch marked coins during Mauryan Period (322-185 BC):

  • Chanakya, Prime Minister to the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya, mentioned the minting of punch-marked coins such as Rupyarupa (silver), Suvarnarupa (gold), Tamrarupa (copper), and Sisarupa (lead) in his Arthashstra treaties.


  • The coin contained an average of 50-54 grains of silver and 32 rattis in weight and was termed as Karshapanas.
Fig: Mauryan Karshapana


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Saturday, December 26, 2020

Festivals of North-East India

Festivals of North-East India

SIKKIM:

Saga Dawa (Triple Blessed Festival):

  • It is substantially celebrated in the Buddhist communities existing in the state of Sikkim.

  • It is celebrated on the full moon day that descends in the middle of the Tibetan lunar month called the Saga Dawa.


  • This descends between May and June and this month is called Saga Dawa or the 'Month of merits'.

  • The festival is celebrated to memorialize the birth, enlightenment, and death (parinirvana) of Buddha.


  • People also spread the Gompas of the monastery and chant mantras, recite the religious texts and turn the prayer wheels.

Around the month of Saga Dawa, the community of Buddhists has to follow three teachings of Buddhism:
  • Generosity (dana)
  • Morality (sila)
  • Meditation or good feelings (bhavana)
Fig: Saga Dawa



Losoong Festival:


  • It is solemnized all across Sikkim during December every year. 

  • The paramount profession in the State of Sikkim is agriculture and it is the celebration of the harvest season by the farmers and other occupational communities.

  • Traditionally, it is regarded to be the festival of the Bhutia tribe but nowadays even the Lepchas celebrate it with alike stamina and delight.

  • The idiosyncratic point of the festival is that people drink the locally brewed wine, called Chaang, as part of the celebration.

  • They also get together to accomplish traditional dances like the Cham dance, and the Black hat dance at the monasteries.

  • The spirit also reviews the warrior sentiments (opinions) of the Sikkimese community through the archery festivals, etc. 
Fig: Losoong Festival




ASSAM:

Bihu Festival:

  • Rangoli or Bohang Bihu (falls on Assamese New Year in April),
  • Kongali or Kati Bihu remarked in October, and 
  • Bhogali or Magh Bihu was remarked in January. 

Rangoli Bihu is the cardinal among the three and it coincides with Assamese New Year. Songs and dances are the main charismata during Bihu.


Bohang Bihu is one of the most admired festivals of Assam. Although the Assamese honor Bihu thrice a year, the Bohnag Bihu is the most predicted one.


The festival of Bihu is traditionally secured to the changing seasons and harvests


The celebrations range from one week to almost a month depending on the communities and tribe's commitment (decision).
  • On the First Day of the festival, cows, and bulls that are the backbone of the community are bathed and fed. The decorum (ceremony) is called the 'Gora Bihu'.

  • The Second Day is the main day of the celebrations that Initiate Bihu, as people greet one another and they exchange Gamosa (a handwoven cotton towel) with their relatives.

  •  All the houses make ready Pitha or a traditional dish made of rice powder, flour, sesame, coconut, and jaggery.

  • They also arrange stages where men and women from all communities come together to perform the Bihu dance. 
Fig: Bihu



Ambubachi Mela:

  • It is confined at the Kamakhya temple of the Guwahati in the State of Assam.

  • The celebration falls in June and is one of the outstanding festivals in North-East India, so much so that it has been categorized as the 'Mahakumbh of the East'.

  • The festival has been kindred with richness rituals and many devotees come to seek the blessing of a child from the Goddess.

  • The temple has chased controversy because of the alleged tantric activities conducted during this mela.

  • During the festival, the patron Goddess Kamakhya is said to be undergoing her annual menstrual cycle. Hence, the temple remains closed for three days.
Fig: Ambubachi Mela



Majuli Festival:

  • This is one of the contemporary festivals held at Majuli in the State of Assam.

  • The festival is arranged in November, as it is the best time considering the rotating climatic conditions in Assam.

  • The Department for Culture of Assam organizes numerous events during the festival like seminars that pinnacle the traditional history and eminence of Assam.

  • The festival is organized on a huge scale in an open area or Namghar. The tribal dishes of Majuli and Assam are exhibited and put on sale.


  • Some famous artists are also invited to showcase their art and public collaborations.

  • The local patron deity is also invoked during the opening and closing etiquettes (ceremony).

  • Various dances and singing competitions are organized for the entertainment of the gala.
Fig: Majuli Festival



NAGALAND:

Hornbill Festival:

  • It is one of the notable festivals celebrated in Nagaland.

  • It is a 10 days festival that launches on 1st December every year.

  • All the major Naga tribes attend this festival and assemble at the Kisma Heritage Village.

  • All the tribes showcase their talent and cultural vividness through costumes, weapons, bows & arrows, and headgears of the clans.

  • This is also a good community to escort all the tribes together and for the younger generation.
Fig: Hornbill Festival



Moatsu Mong Festival:

  • It is celebrated by the Ao tribe of Nagaland in the first week of May after sowing is done.

  • The festival furnishes them a period of amusement and refreshment after the stressful work of clearing fields, burning jungles, sowing seeds, etc.

  • It is pronounced by songs and dances. A part of the commemoration is Sangpangtu where a big fire is lit and women and men sit around it.
Fig: Moatsu Mong Festival 



Yemshe Festival:

  • It is a harvest festival celebrated predominantly by the Pochuri tribe.

  • Catching of frogs is prohibited during this festival. It is acknowledged in September.
Fig: Yemshe Festival


Lui-Ngai-Ni Festival:

  • Almost all the branches of the Naga tribes celebrate this festival.

  • It is celebrated all over Nagaland and in some of the Naga populated parts of Manipur State too.

  • It has delighted as the mark for the seed-sowing season.

  • The festival escorts the agricultural branches of Naga tribes closer to the non-agricultural based communities of Nagas.

  • The festival is glared by a huge amount of celebration and pomp (rituals) & show.

  • It is a festival to bring communities closer and escalate the message of peace & harmony.
Fig: Lui-Ngai-Ni Festival




MANIPUR:

Cheiraoba Festival:

  • This festival is celebrated all across the State of Manipur, as it is the New Year according to the Manipuri tribes.

  • It is celebrated in April (it means the first day of the month Sajibu).

  • The festival is also correlated to the domestic deity called Sanamahi worshipped by the Meitei tribe.

  • The festival is usually administered in the temple of Sanamahi but every household cleans, buys new utensils, and new clothes for the family members.
Fig: Cheiraoba Foods



Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra):

  • The festival of Kang Chingba is one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated in the State of Manipur.

  • It is similar to the 'Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra' and draws many antecedents from the same.

  • It is a 10 days long festival that is celebrated in July every year.

  • The Yatra begins from the very famous holy temple of Sri Govindjee situated in Imphal.

  • The idols carved of wood and laboriously decorated are carted around in massive chariots that are called 'Kang'

  • These deities are then carried to another temple and people dance through the night to celebrate the journey.
Fig: Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra)




TRIPURA:

Kharchi Puja:


  • While it began as a festival of the royal family of Tripura, currently even the common household celebrate this festival.

  • It is celebrated for over a week and takes place in July.

  • The festival is celebrated in the honor of Earth and to worship 14 other deities.

  • Each year thousands of people trek to this temple in Agartala so that can pay adoration to the deities.
Fig: Kharchi Puja




MEGHALAYA:

Wangala Festival (The 100 Drums Festival):

  • The dominant of Garo Tribe primarily is Meghalaya.

  • The festival indicates the beginning of winter and is celebrated as a nod to the post-harvest season.

  • The festival is celebrated in the honor of 'Saljong', a local deity who is considered to be generous. He is supposed to be the force behind the good things that happen to the community. This festival is a thanksgiving for him.

  • Drums, flutes, and other orchestras instruments are played to create a festive ambiance. 

  • It is also known as the '100 Drums Wangala Festival' as loud drum noises herald the beginning of the festival.

  • The day is also set apart by the wonderful costumes worn by the participants.

  • An extraordinary feature is the feathered head-gear that is worn by everyone celebrating the festival and also reflects their clan's color.
Fig: Wangala Festival





ARUNACHAL PRADESH:

Apatani Tribe:

  • The Apatani tribe that reside in Arunachal Pradesh primarily celebrate the festival.

  • Currently, more and more tribes have started observing the rituals of the Dree festival

  • It is one of the biggest celebrations held in the Ziro valley.

  • During the festival, people offer prayers and offerings to four main Gods: Tamu, Metti, Medvr, Danyi, and Mepin.

  • These offerings are given to pray for a good and plentiful harvest.

  • People gather around the valley and perform traditional dances.

  • One of the most unique points of this festival is that cucumber is distributed to all the attendees as a symbol of a good harvest.
Fig: Apatani Festival 


Losar Festival:

  • It falls on the first day of the lunar calendar and is quite popular in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • It is mainly celebrated by the Monpa tribe who practice agriculture and animal husbandry and follow Buddism.

  • Losar is a three-day festival and is celebrated with great pomp and show at Tawang.
Fig: Losar Festival


Khan Festival:

  • It is a religious festival celebrated by the Miji tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The festival is significant because it brings together people from every background irrespective of their caste and faith to celebrate it.

  • During this, the priest ties a piece of wool in the neck of all the participants, and the thread is considered sacred.
Fig: Miji Tribes












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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Sattriya

Sattriya Dance

Sattriya dance in modern-form was established by the Vaishnava Saint Sankaradeva in the 15th century AD in Assam

The art form derives its name from the Vaishnava monasteries known as 'Sattara', where it was primarily practiced. It finds mention in the ancient text 'Natya Shashtra' of sage Bharat Muni. It is inspired by the Bhakti Movement.

Some of the hallmarks of the Sattriya dance include:

  • The dance form was an amalgamation of various dance forms prevalent in Assam, mainly Ojapali and Devdasi.

  • The focus of the Sattriya recitals is to own the devotional outlook of dance and narrates mythological stories of Vishnu.


  • The dance is generally performed in the group by male monks known as 'Bhoktas' as part of their daily rituals or even on festivals.

  • Khol (drum), Cymbals (Manjira), and Flute from the major escorting Implements of this dance form. The songs are the composition by Shankaradeva known as 'Borgeets'.


  • Costumes are worn by male dancers- 'Dhoti' and 'Paguri = turban'. While females wear traditional Assamese jewelry, 'Ghuri' and 'Chador' made in Pat Silk. Waistline cloth is worn by both men and women.

  • In modern times, Sattriya dance has matured into two separate streams- the Gayan-Bhayanar Nach and the Kharmanar Nach.

  • Ankia Naat: It is a type of Sattriya, it involves play or musical-drama. It was originally written in an Assamese-Maithili mix language called Brajavali. Another related form is 'Bhaona', which is based on stories of Lord Krishna.
Fig: Sattriya dance




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Indian Classical Dance Form- Kathak

Kathak Dance

Finding its origins from the Ras Leela of Brajbhoomi, Kathak is the traditional dance form of Uttar Pradesh. 

Kathak procured its name from the 'Kathika' or the story-tellers who recited verses from the folk tales, with gestures and music.

During the Mughal era, the dance degenerated into a lascivious style and branched off into court dance. It was also determined by Persian costumes and styles of dancing. The classical style of Kathak was resuscitated by Lady Leela Sokhey in the 20th century.


Some of the hallmarks of Kathak are:

An important attribute of Kathak is the development of different gharanas as it is based on the Hindustani style of music:

  • Lucknow: Reached its pinnacle under the rule of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. It puts more importance on expression and grace.

  • Jaipur: Initiated by Bhanuji, it emphasized fluency, speed, and long rhythmic patterns.

  • Raigarh: It developed under the encouragement of Raja Chakradhar Singh. It is idiosyncratic in its emphasis on percussion music.

  • Banaras: It developed under Janakiprasad. It sees greater use of floor and lays special emphasis on symmetry.

Kathak dance form is characterized by the use of serpentine footwork and pirouettes.


The element of a Kathak recital are:

  • Ananda or the introductory item through which the dancer set to foot into the stage.


  • Todas and Rukdas are small pieces of fast rhythm.

  • Jugalbandi is the main charisma of the Kathak recital which shows a competitive play between the dancer and the tabla player.

  •  Padhant is a special feature in which the dancer recites complicated bols and Illustrates them.

  • Tarana is similar to thillana, which comprises of pure rhythmic movements.


  • Gat bhaav is a dance without any music or chanting (chorus). This is used to outline different mythological episodes.

Kathak is generally accompanied by dhrupad music. Tarana, thumris, and ghazals were also introduced during the Mughal period.



Fig: Kathak Dance






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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Odissi

Odissi Dance

The caves of Udayagiri-Khandagiri furnish some of the earliest examples of Odissi dance.

The dance derives from the 'Odra nritya' mentioned in Natya Shastra. It was primarily practiced by the 'Maharshi' and patronized by the Jain King Kheravela.

With the emergence of Vaishnavism in the region, the Mahari system became defunct. Instead, young boys were enlisted and dressed as females to continue the art form. They came to be known as 'Gotipuas'. Another form of this art, 'Nartala' continued to be practiced at the royal courts.

In the mid-20th century, Odissi acquired International applaud due to the efforts of Charles Fabri and Indrani Rahman


Some of the features of Odissi dance are:


  • The tribhanga postures, i.e. the three-bended form of the body are innate to the Odissi dance form. Also, the 'Chowk' posture with hands spread out Illustrates masculinity.

  • During the dance, the lower body remains largely static and there is the movement of the torso (upper arm). Hand gestures play a vital role to convey expressions during the Nritya part.

  • Odissi dance form is eccentric in its representation of gracefulness, sensuality, and beauty. The dancers create serpentine geometrical shapes and patterns with the body. Hence is known as 'mobile sculpture'.

  • Odissi dance is escorted by Hindustani classical music and instruments generally used are Manjira (Cymbals), Pakhawaj (Drums), Sitar, Flute, etc.


  • The libretto (lyrics) of Gita Govinda, written by Jayadeva, is used along with compositions of some local poets.

  • The woman dancer wears an elaborate hair-style, silver jewelry, a long necklace, etc.


The elements of the Odissi dance form include:

  • Mangalacharan or the emergence where a flower is offered to mother earth.

  • Batu nritya comprising of the dance. It has the Tribhanga and the Chowk postures.

  • Pallavi which includes the facial pronouncement and the representation of the song.

  • Tharijham consisting of pure dance before the conclusion.

  • The concluding item is of two types: (1.) Moksha - it includes joyous movements signifying liberation. (2.) Trikhanda Majura - it is another way of concluding, in which the performer takes leave from the Gods, the audience, and the stage.


Famous proponents: Gur Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra, Sonal Mansingh, Sharon Lowen (USA), Anadani Dasi (Argentina).
Fig: Tribhanga stance (Odissi)



Fig: Odissi Dance







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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Manipuri

Manipuri Dance

Manipuri dance form finds its fairy-tale emergence in the heavenly dance of Shiva and Parvati in the valley of Manipur along with the local 'Gandharvas'. 

The dance gained prestige with the advent of Vaishnavism in the 15th century. Krishna became the dominant theme of this dance form. It is performed generally by females.

In modern times, Raja Bhag Chandra of Manipur in the 18th century tried to save Manipuri dance. Rabindranath Tagore brought back the dance form into the limelight when he introduced it in Shantiniketan, West Bengal.


Some of the attributes of Manipuri dance are as follows:


  • The faces are shielded with a thin veil and facial expression is of lesser importance.


  • The dance integrates both Tandava and Lasya, emphasis is laid on the latter.

  • The female wears unique long skirts. The focus is mainly on relax and gracious movements of hand and knee positions.

  • Nagabandha mudra, in which the body is coupled through curves in the shape of 'eight = 8' is an important posture in Manipuri dance form.

  • Ras Leela = Radha Krishna's love story is a recurring theme of the Manipuri dance recital.

  • The drum - pung - is a complex element of the recital. Flute, Karthal = wooden clapper, dhol, etc, also, accompany the music. The composition of Jayadeva and Chandidas is used extensively.


Famous proponents: Jhaveri sister - Nayana, Suvarna, Ranjana, and Darsana, Guru Bipin Singha, N Madhavi Devi, etc.


Fig: Manipuri Dance (Raas-Leela)
Fig: Nagabandha Mudra





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Monday, December 21, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Mohiniattam

Mohiniattam

Mohiniattam or the Dance of a magician, 'Mohini' = beautiful woman & 'attam' =  dance, is originally a solo dance performance by women that was further developed by Vadivelu in the 19th century and gained notability under the rulers of Travancore in the present State of Kerala.

The patronage of Swathi Thirunal (the Travancore ruler in the 19th century) is notable. After it had fallen to obscurity (twilight), the famous Malayali poet V.N.Menon revived it along with Kalyani Amma.


Some of the features of Mohiniattam are:

  •  Mohiniattam combines the grace and elegance of Bharatnatyam with the rigor of Kathakali. There is a marked absence of amazing footsteps and the footwork is gentle.

  • Mohiniattam generally describes the story of the feminine dance of Vishnu.

  • It has its own Nritta and Nritya features like that of other classical dances.

  • The Lasya aspect (beauty & grace) of dance is dominant in a Mohiniattam recital. Hence, it is mainly performed by female dancers.


  • The costume is of exceptional significance in Mohiniattam, with white and off-white being the principal colors and the presence of gold-colored brocade designs. There is no elaborate facial make-up. The dancer wears a leather strap with bells (Ghungroo) on her ankles.


  • 'Atavakul or Atavus' is a collection of 40 basic dance movements.

  • Musical instruments used are cymbals (chime), veena, drums, flute, etc.

Famous proponents: Sunanda Nair, Kalamandalam Keshemavathy, Madhuri Amma, Jayaprabha Menon, etc.

Fig: Mohiniattam






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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi

In the first instance performed by the group of actors going from village to village, known as Kusselavas, Kuchipudi derives its name from the village Kusselavapuri or Kuchelapuram in Andhra Pradesh.

In the 17th century, Siddhendra Yogi ratified and systematized the tradition. He authorized "Bhama Kalapam" and many other plays.

With the exposure of Vaishnavism, the dance form became a monopoly of the male Brahmins and began to be performed at temples. Stories of Bhagvat Purana became a central theme of the recitals, and the dancers came to be known as Bhagvathalus. The dance form gained greatness under the patronage of the Vijayanagar and Golconda rulers

However, it endured confined to the villages and remained obscure till the advent of the 20th century, when Balasaraswati and Ragini Devi revived this dance form. Lakshminarayan Sastri, in the early 20th century, brought in new practices such as solo recitals and female participation.


Some of the features of Kuchipudi dance are:

  • Most of the Kuchipudi recitals are based on stories of Bhagwata Purana but have an earthly theme. There is a predominance of Shringara ras.
  • Each vital character introduces itself on the stage with a "daaru", which is a small composition of dance and song, specifically choreographed for the revelation of each character. 
  • In a Kuchipudi recital, the dancer may Integrate the role of a singer into himself/herself as well. Hence, it becomes a dance-drama performance.
  • Both Lasya and Tandava elements are paramount in the Kuchipudi dance form.
  • Apart from the group the executions, there are some popular solo elements in Kuchipudi as well.
  • A Kuchipudi recital is generally escorted by Carnatic music. Violin and Mridgangam being the principal instruments. The recital is in the Telugu language.

The dance involves all three components of the classical dancers: Nritta, Natya, and Nritya. It is similar to Bharatnatyam but has its own attributes.


The performance has:

  • Sollakath or Patakshara: The Nritta part, where the movement (gesture) of the body is made.
  • Kavutvams: The Nritya part involves extensive acrobatics. It may also be performed as Nritta.

Apart from group performances, there are some admirable solo elements in Kuchipudi as well. Some of them are:
  • Tarangam: The dancer represents with his/her feet on the edges of a brass plate and balancing a pot of water on the head or a set of diyas.
  • Jala Chitra Nrityam: In this element, the dancer draws a picture on the floor with his or her toes while dancing.

Famous exponents: Radha Reddy, Raja Reddy, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Indrani Rahman, etc.

Fig: Kuchipudi (Tarangam) 
 

Fig: Kuchipudi


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