Indian Paintings, Folk Dances & Carnatic Music

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  • RAJESH NAYAK

    CONTENTS

    1. PAINTINGS OF INDIA

    2. FOLK DANCES OF WHOLE INDIA

    3. CARNATIC MUSIC

  • RAJESH NAYAK

    Cave Paintings in India

    Cave paintings of India date back to the prehistoric times. The finest examples of these paintings comprise of

    the murals of Ajanta, Ellora, Bagh, Sittanavasal, etc, which reflect an emphasis on naturalism. Ancient cave

    paintings of India serve as a window to our ancestors, who used to inhabit these caves. In the following lines,

    we have provided more information on the ancient Indian rock paintings:

    Ajanta Paintings

    Ajanta caves are located at a distance of approximately 100 km from the city of Aurangabad. Most of the

    paintings seen in the Ajanta Caves, date back to the period of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. The themes of

    most of these paintings revolve around the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. This includes the Jataka stories

    related to the various lives and incarnations of Buddha. Calligraphic lines characterize these paintings, which

    can be classified into portraits, narrative illustrations and ornamental decoration.

    Ellora Paintings

    Ellora caves are nestled amidst the Chamadari Hills, lying approximately 18 miles to the northeast of

    Aurangabad city. Paintings can be found in five caves. However, all of them are today preserved only in the

    Kailasa temple. The rock paintings of Ellora were painted in two different series. The first series, which were

    done when the caves were carved, revolve around Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The second series,

    painted centuries later, illustrate procession of Shaiva holy men, Apsaras, etc.

    Bagh Paintings

    Bagh caves, situated on the banks of the Bagh River, have been excavated on the rock face of a lofty hill. The

    wall paintings of these caves date back to period between 5th and 7th century. These paintings represent the

    mast exquisite traditions of Indian art form.

    Sittanavasal Paintings

    Sittanavasal is the site of an ancient Jain Monastery, located at a distance of around 58 km from Trichy. The

    monastery is known for housing some of the most exquisite frescoes in a rock cave. Most of these cave

    paintings are based on the Pandyan period of the 9th century. The themes of these paintings include animals,

    fish, ducks, people collecting lotuses from a pond, two dancing figures, etc. Apart from that, one can also find

    inscriptions dating back to the 9th and 10th century. The ceiling of the Ardhamandapam is adorned with

    murals from the 7th century.

    Madhubani Painting

    Madhubani painting originated in a small village, known as Maithili, of the Bihar state of India. Initially, the

    womenfolk of the village drew the paintings on the walls of their home, as an illustration of their thoughts,

    hopes and dreams. With time, the paintings started becoming a part of festivities and special events, like

    marriage. Slowly and gradually, the Madhubani painting of India crossed the traditional boundaries and started

    reaching connoisseurs of art, both at the national as well as the international level.

    The traditional base of freshly plastered mud wall of huts has now been replaced by cloth, handmade paper and

    canvas. Since the paintings have been confined to a limited geographical range, the themes as well as the style

    are, more or less, the same. Indian Maithili paintings make use of three-dimensional images and the colors that

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    are used are derived mainly from plants. The themes on which these paintings are based include nature and

    mythological events. The first reference to the Maithili painting of Bihar dates back to the time of Ramayana,

    when King Janaka ordered the paintings to be created for his daughter, Sita's, wedding.

    Themes of Maithili Paintings

    Themes of the Maithili painting of Bihar revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva,

    Durga and Saraswati. The natural themes that are used include the Sun, the Moon and the religious plants like

    tulsi. One can also find paintings based on scenes from the royal courts and social events, like weddings. If any

    empty space is left after painting the main theme, it is filled up with the motifs of flowers, animals and birds or

    geometric designs.

    Making Madhubani Paintings

    The brush used for Madhubani paintings of Bihar was made of cotton, wrapped around a bamboo stick. The

    artists prepare the colors that are used for the paintings. Black color is made by adding soot to cow dung;

    yellow from combining turmeric (or pollen or lime) with the milk of banyan leaves; blue from indigo; red from

    the kusam flower juice or red sandalwood; green from the leaves of the wood apple tree; white from rice

    powder and orange from palasha flowers. There is no shading in the application of colors. A double line is

    drawn for outlines and the gap is filled with either cross or straight tiny lines. The linear Maithili paintings do

    not even require application of colors; only the outlines are drawn.

    Miniature Painting

    Miniatures paintings are beautiful handmade paintings, which are quite colorful but small in size. The highlight

    of these paintings is the intricate and delicate brushwork, which lends them a unique identity. The colors are

    handmade, from minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, pure gold and silver. The most

    common theme of the Miniature painting of India comprises of the Ragas i.e., the musical codes of Indian

    classical music. There were a number of miniature schools in the country, including those of Mughals, Rajputs

    and the Deccan. History of Miniature Painting in India

    The evolution of Indian Miniatures paintings started in the Western Himalayas, around the 17th century. These

    paintings were highly influenced by the mural paintings that originated during the later half of the 18th

    century. During the time of the Mughals, Muslim kings of the Deccan and Malwa as well as the Hindu Rajas of

    Rajasthan, this art flourished to quite an extent. Infact, the Mughals were responsible for introducing Persian

    tradition in the Miniature paintings of India. The credit for western influence can be ascribed to the Muslim

    kings.

    Schools of Miniature Painting

    The different schools of the Miniature paintings of India include:

    Pala School

    Orissa School

    Jain School

    Mughal School

    Rajasthani School

    Nepali School

    These schools were the products of hothouse cultivation that was practiced over generations. The earliest

    instances of the Indian Miniature painting are those related to the Pala School and date back to the 11th

    century. This school emphasized on the symbolic use of color in the paintings, which was taken from tantric

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    ritual. The other characteristics of the Pala School include the use of a skillful and graceful line, modeling

    forms by delicate and expressive variation of pressure, use of natural color for painting human skin, etc

    The Jain School of Miniature paintings laid great emphasis on style. The unique features of this school include

    strong pure colors, stylish figures of ladies, heavy gold outlines, diminution of dress to angular segments,

    enlarged eyes and square-shaped hands. One can see the influence of Jain miniature paintings on Rajasthani

    and Mughal paintings also.

    Mughal Painting

    Mughal painting reflects an exclusive combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles. As the name suggests,

    these paintings evolved as well as developed during the rule of Mughal Emperors in India, between 16th to

    19th century. The Mughal paintings of India revolved around themes, like battles, court scenes, receptions,

    legendary stories, hunting scenes, wildlife, portraits, etc. The Victoria and Albert Museums of London house a

    large and impressive collection of Mughal paintings.

    History of Mughal Painting

    Indian Mughal paintings originated during the rule of Mughal Emperor, Humayun (1530-1540). When he came

    back to India from the exile, he also brought along two excellent Persian artists, Mir-Sayyid Ali and Abd-us-

    samad. With time, their art got influenced by the local styles and gradually; it gave rise to the Mughal painting

    of India. The earliest example of the Mughal style is the Tutinama ('Tales of a Parrot') Painting, now in the

    Cleveland Museum of Art. Then, there is the 'Princess of the House of Timur', a painting redone numerous

    times.

    Growth of Mughal Painting

    Mughal paintings of India developed as well as prospered under the rule of Mughal Emperors, Akbar, Jahangir

    and Shah Jahan.

    Under Akbar

    Mughal painting experienced large-scale growth under the reign of Emperor Akbar. During that time, hundreds

    of artists used to paint under the direction of the two Persian artists. Since the Emperor was fond of tales, one

    can see the paintings mainly being based on the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Persian epics. Mughal paintings

    also started illustrating an enhanced naturalism, with animal tales, landscape, portraits, etc.

    Under Jahangir

    Emperor Jahangir reigned from 1605 to 1627 and extended great support to various art forms, especially

    paintings. This period saw more and more refinement in brushwork, along with the use of much lighter and

    subdued colors. The main themes of the Mughal paintings revolved around the events from Jahangir's own life,

    along with portraits, birds, flowers, animals, etc. One of the most popular examples of Mughal paintings of this

    time include the pictorial illustrations of the Jehangir-nama, the biography of Emperor Jahangir.

    Under Shah Jahan

    The grace and refinement of the Jahangir period was seen at the time of Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658).

    However, the sensitivity of the paintings was replaced by coldness and rigidity. The themes of that time

    revolved around musical parties, lovers on terraces and gardens, ascetics gathered around a fire, etc.

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    Decline of Mughal Painting

    The trend that was seen during the time of Shah Jahan was also found under the rule of Aurangzeb (1658-

    1707). However, the emperor did not pay too much attention on the growth of the Mughal paintings. Still, the

    art form continued to survive with the support received from its other patrons. However, gradually, because of

    diminishing support, a declining trend set in. The time of Muhammad Shah, (1719-1748), did experience a

    brief revival of the Mughal paintings. Nonetheless, with the arrival of Shah Alam II (1759-1806), the art

    almost became extinct and another school of painting, known as Rajput paintings, started evolving.

    Mysore Paintings

    Mysore Painting is a form of classical South Indian painting, which evolved in the Mysore city of Karnataka.

    During that time, Mysore was under the reign of the Wodeyars and it was under their patronage that this school

    of painting reached its zenith. Quite similar to the Tanjore Paintings, Mysore Paintings of India make use of

    thinner gold leaves and require much more hard work. The most popular themes of these paintings include

    Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. The grace, beauty and intricacy of Indian

    Mysore Paintings leave the onlookers mesmerized.

    History of Mysore Paintings

    It was under the rule of Raja Krishna Raja Wodeyar that the popularity of the Mysore School of painting

    reached its highest point. However, after the Raja expired in 1868, the artists started scattering and the school

    reached the point of total extinction. The year 1875 saw the establishment of Jagan Mohan Palace and

    Chitrakala School and along with it, the revival of the Mysore Painting of India. Late Sri Siddalingeswara

    Swamiji and late Sri Y. Subramanya Raju also contributed to this exquisite art form.

    Centers of Mysore Paintings

    Indian Mysore School of paintings exists in Mysore, Bangalore, Narasipura, Tumkur, Sravanabelagola and

    Nanjangud.

    Making Mysore Paintings

    A number of steps are involved in the process of producing a Mysore painting. The first step requires the artist

    to make a preliminary sketch of the image on the base, which comprises of a cartridge paper pasted on a

    wooden base. Thereafter, he makes a paste of zinc oxide and Arabic gum, known as 'gesso paste'. This paste is

    used to give a slightly raised effect of carving to those parts of the painting that require embellishments and is

    allowed to dry. Then, gold foil is pasted onto the surface. The rest of the painting is prepared with the help of

    watercolors. After the painting is fully dried, it is covered with a thin paper and rubbed lightly with a smooth

    soft stone.

    In the traditional Mysore paintings, all the inputs were made by the artists, including brushes, paints, board,

    gold foil, etc. Instead of the poster colors and watercolors of today, vegetable and mineral colors were used.

    Even the base was formed of paper, wood, wall and cloth, rather than the sole cartridge paper base used now.

    The sketches were made with the help of charcoal, which was prepared by burning tamarind twigs in an iron

    tube. The brushes were made of different materials, like squirrel hair, camel hair, goat hair, etc.

    Pahari Paintings

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    Pahari painting is the name given to Rajput paintings, made in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir states

    of India. These paintings developed and flourished during the period of 17th to 19th century. Indian Pahari

    paintings have been done mostly in miniature forms.

    Styles of Pahari Paintings Pahari paintings of India can be divided into two distinct categories, on the basis of their geographical range,

    namely:

    Basohli and Kulu Style (Influenced by Chaurpanchasika style)

    Guler and Kangra Style (Based on cooler colors and refinement)

    History of Pahari Painting Pahari paintings have been widely influenced by the Rajput paintings, because of the family relations of the

    Pahari Rajas with royal court at Rajasthan. One can also see strong influence of the Gujarat and Deccan

    paintings. With the emergence of Bhakti movement, new themes for Indian Pahari paintings came into

    practice. The Shaiva-Shakta themes were supplemented by argot poetry and folk songs of Lord Krishna and

    Lord Rama. At the same time, the themes of the paintings revolved around love and devotion also. There was

    also illustration of great epics, puranas, etc. The depiction of Devi Mahatmya manuscript painted at Kangra, in

    1552, has been much acclaimed.

    Types of Pahari Paintings

    Basohli Paintings The town of Basohli is situated on the bank of the Ravi River in Himachal. This town has produced splendid

    Devi series, magnificent series of the manifestations of the Supreme Goddess. Apart from that, it is also known

    for the magnificent depiction of the Rasamanjari text. Artist Devidasa painted it under the patronage of Raja

    Kirpal Pal. Gita Govinda of 1730 is also believed to have Basohli origin. Geometrical patterns, bright colors

    and glossy enamel characterize Basohli paintings.

    Bilaspur Paintings Bilaspur town of Himachal witnessed the growth of the Pahari paintings around the mid-17th century. Apart

    from the illustrations of the Bhagavata Purana, Ramayana and Ragamala series, artists also made paintings on

    rumal (coverlets) for rituals and ceremonies.

    Chamba Paintings Chamba paintings are quite similar in appearance to Mughal style of paintings, with strong influences of

    Deccan and Gujarat style also. The late 17th century witnessed Chamba paintings of Himachal being

    dominated by Basohli style, which ultimately gave way to Guler painting tradition.

    Garhwal Paintings Garhwal Paintings originated in Himachal and were first dominated by the Mughal style. Later, it started

    reflecting the cruder version of Kangra traditions.

    Guler Kangra Style Paintings The nature Guler Kangra style of Himachal developed somewhere around the year 1800. It was a more

    naturalized version of painting, with visible difference in the treatment of eyes and modeling of the face.

    Landscapes were also commonly used as themes. Along with that, this style also accentuated the elegance and

    grace of the Indian women.

    Jammu Paintings Jammu paintings of the late 18th and early 19th century bear a striking similarity to the Kangra style. Shangri

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    Ramayana of the late 17th and early 18th century was produced in Jammu itself.

    Jasrota Paintings Jasrota paintings are mainly found in Jammu and Kashmir and revolve around court scenes, events from the

    life of the kings, allegorical scenes, etc.

    Kulu Paintings The paintings of Kulu style include a Bhagavata Purana, two Madhumalati manuscripts, etc.

    Mandi Paintings Mandi, situated in Himachal, witnessed the evolution of a new style under Raja Sidh Sen (1684-1727). During

    that time, the portraits depicted the ruler as a massive figure with overstated huge heads, hands and feet. Other

    works were characterized by geometric compositions and delicate naturalistic details.

    Mankot Paintings Mankot paintings of Jammu and Kashmir bear a resemblance to the Basohli type, with vivid colors and bold

    subjects. In the mid-17th century, portraitures became a common theme. With time, the emphasis shifted to

    naturalism and subdued colors.

    Nurpur Paintings Nurpur paintings of Himachal Pradesh usually employ bright colors and flat backgrounds. However, in the

    later periods, the dazzling colors were replaced by muted ones.

    Rajput Painting

    Rajput painting originated in the royal states of Rajasthan, somewhere around the late 16th and early 17th

    century. The Mughals ruled almost all the princely states of Rajasthan at that time and because of this; most of

    the schools of Rajput Painting in India reflect strong Mughal influence. Each of the Rajput kingdoms evolved a

    distinctive style. However, similarities and common features can still be found in the paintings of different

    territories.

    One can also observe the dominance of Chaurapanchasika group style in Indian Rajasthani Paintings. The main

    themes around which Rajasthani Paintings of India revolved include the Great epics of Ramayana and the

    Mahabharata, the life of Lord Krishna, landscapes and humans. Rajput paintings of India were also done on the

    walls of palaces, inner chambers of the forts, havelis, etc. Colors used for the painting were derived from

    minerals, plant sources, conch shells, precious stones, gold and silver, etc.

    Schools of Rajput Painting Starting from the 16th century, when the Rajput Painting originated, numerous schools emerged, including:

    Bikaner School

    Bundi-Kota Kalam School

    Jaipur School

    Kishengarh School

    Marwar School

    Mewar School

    Raagamala School

    Amber and Jaipur The paintings of Amber and Jaipur show strong Mughal influence. However, at the same time, the bold

    compositions and use of abstractions reflected regional characteristics. The 18th and early 19th century saw

    Rajput paintings illustrating episodes from the life of Krishna. The other popular themes of the 19th century

    were Ragamala and devotional subjects.

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    Bikaner Rajasthani paintings of Bikaner were also based on Mughal tradition. Apart from the Mughal style, the

    paintings of Bikaner also reflect marked influence of Deccan paintings. During the late 18th century, the city

    started showing conservative Rajput styles with smoothness and abstractions. However, they were devoid of

    any pomposity and flamboyance.

    Bundi Rajput paintings started originating in Bundi around the late 16th century and reflected heavy Mughal

    influence. Wall paintings, dating back to the reign of Rao Ratan Singh (1607-1631), are good examples of

    Bundi style of paintings. The time of Rao Chattar Sal (1631-1658) and Bhao Singh (1658-1681) saw great

    emphasis on court scenes as themes. Other themes include those based on the lives of nobles, lovers and ladies.

    Kota Kota paintings look very natural in their appearance and are calligraphic in their execution. The reign of Jagat

    Singh (1658-1684) saw vivacious colors and bold lines being used in portraitures. With the arrival of Arjun

    Singh (1720-1723), the painting started depicting males with a long hooked nose. 18th century was also the

    time for hunting scenes, Ragamalas, and portraits as the themes. Ram Singh II (1827-1866) ordered the

    depiction of worship, hunting, darbar and processions in paintings.

    Kishangarh Kishangarh style of painting was basically a fusion of Mughal and regional style. The most common theme of

    this style consisted of the depiction of the love between Krishna and Radha. Other popular themes included the

    poetry of Sawant Singh, Shahnama and court scenes, etc. Kishangarh School is best known for its Bani Thani

    paintings. With the demise of Savant Singh and his leading painters, this school lost its glory and started

    breaking down.

    Malwa One of the most conservative Rajput Painting Schools of the 17th century, Malwa was highly influenced by

    Chaurpanchasika style. The emphasis was laid on strong colors and bold lines. At times, one can also observe a

    remote Mughal influence on these paintings.

    Marwar The earliest example of the Rajasthani paintings of Marwar is that of Ragamala, which was painted in Pali in

    1623. In the 18th century, the most common themes included, the portraitures of nobles on horses and darbar

    scenes. With the arrival of artists like Dalchand, Marwar paintings also started reflecting Mughal influence.

    Mewar Mewar school of Rajput paintings concentrated on its conservative style, trying to avoid the dominance of the

    Mughals. The earliest example of the Mewar School is that of Chawand Ragamala, dating back to 1605. One

    can observe heavy similarity with the Chaurapanchasika style, especially the flatness, the bright colors, and

    even common motifs. Towards the end of the 17th century and the early 18th century, Mewar style saw revival

    and late 18th century again witnessed its decline. From mid 19th century to mid 20th century, it continued as a

    court art.

    Tanjore Paintings

    Tanjore Painting is one of the most popular forms of classical South Indian painting. It is the native art form of

    Thanjavur (also known as Tanjore) city of Tamil Nadu. The dense composition, surface richness and vibrant

    colors of Indian Thanjavur Paintings distinguish them from the other types of paintings. Then, there are

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    embellishments of semi-precious stones, pearls and glass pieces that further add to their appeal. The relief

    work gives them a three dimensional effect. Tanjore Painting of India originated during the 16th century, under

    the reign of the Cholas.

    Maratha princes, Nayakas, Rajus communities of Tanjore and Trichi and Naidus of Madurai also patronized

    Indian Thanjavur Paintings from 16th to 18th century. Most of these paintings revolve around the theme of

    Hindu Gods and Goddesses, along with saints. The main figure is always painted at the center of the painting.

    Since Tanjore paintings are mainly done on solid wood planks, they are locally known as 'Palagai Padam'

    (palagai meaning wooden plank and padam meaning picture).

    Making of Tanjore Painting

    Of the numerous steps involved in the making of a Tanjore Painting, the first involves drawing of the

    preliminary sketch of the image on the base. The base is made up of a cloth, which is pasted over a wooden

    base. The second step consists of mixing chalk powder or zinc oxide with water-soluble adhesive and applying

    it on the base. Thereafter, the drawing is made and ornamented with cut glass, pearls and even semi-precious

    stones. Laces or threads may also be used to decorate the painting. To further augment the effect, wafer thin

    sheets of gold are pasted in relief on some parts of the painting, while the other parts are painted in bright

    colors.

    Folk Dances of Central India

    Gaur Dance Gaur dance is a popular folk dance of Madhya Pradesh dances. Gaur dance is popular in the Sing Marias or

    Tallaguda Marias of South Bastar. Men put head-dresses with stringed 'cowries' and plumes of peacock

    feathers and make their way to the dancing ground. Women ornamented with brass fillets and bead necklaces

    with their tattooed bodies also join the gathering. The men beat the drums, tossing the horns and feathers of

    their head-gears to the rising tempo that gives the dance a wilder touch.

    Muria Dances The Muria tribals of North Bastar area are trained in all types of their community dances. At the start of dance

    sequences they begin with an invocation to the phallic deity of their tribe and the founder of the Ghotul

    institution. The site chosen for the dance is near the Ghotul compound. During marriages, the Muria boys and

    girls perform Har Endanna dance. Their Hulki dance is the most beautiful of all the dances while the Karsana

    dance is performed for fun and enjoyment. In the Hulki dance, boys move in a circular fashion while the girls

    make their way through them.

    Saila Dance Saila dance is performed by the young boys of Chattisgarh during the post harvest time. Saila is a stick-dance

    and is popular among the people of Sarguja, Chhindwara and Betul districts. In this region the Saila dance is

    also known as Danda Nach or Dandar Pate. Saila dance comprises over half a dozen varieties The Saila dance

    often comes out with many variations and much buffoonery. Sometimes the dancers form a circle, each

    standing on one leg and supporting himself by holding on to the man in front. Then they all hop together round

    and round.

    Karma Dance The Karma dance is very popular among the Gonds and the Baigas of Chhattisgarh and the Oraons of Madhya

    Pradesh. The Karma dance is associated with the fertility cult and is related to the Karma festival that falls in

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    the month of August. The Karma dance symbolizes coming of green branches in tress during the spring season.

    There are other variants of the Karma. The songs associated with these variants differ with each pattern.

    Kaksar Dance Kaksar dance is performed during the festival period. It is popular among the Abhujmarias of Bastar. Kaksar

    dance is performed in hope of reaping a rich harvest. To invoke the blessings of the deity, young boys and girls

    perform Kaksar (a group dance). Boys put on a peculiar costume of a long white robe while girls are clad in all

    their finery. The Kaksar dance presents a unique opportunity to boys and girls to choose their life partners.

    Folk Dances Of East India

    Chhau (Bihar) Chhau is a popular folk dance of Bihar. Since masks form an important feature of this dance it is called

    'Chhau', which means mask. All the Chhau performers hold swords and shields while performing. The stages

    are decorated and brightly lit by torches, lanterns and flickering oil lamps. The musical instruments used are

    the Dhol (a cylindrical drum), Nagara (a huge drum) and Shehnai (reed pipes). The Chhau dance is performed

    by men and boys. Chhau dance is full of energy and strength. It is interesting to note that the entire body of the

    dancer is engaged as a single unit. This body language of the dancer has to be poetic and powerful.

    Brita Dance (West Bengal) Brita dance is one of the most popular folk dances of Bengal. Usually the barren women of the region perform

    the Brita dance to invoke the blessings of the Gods so that their wishes are fulfilled. Traditionally this dance is

    performed after a person recovers from a contagious disease like small pox.

    Kali Naach is yet another popular folk dance of the region. The Kali dance is performed to invoke the blessings

    of Goddess Kali. While performing the Kali Naach, the performers wear a mask, purified by mantras and

    dances to the accompaniment of a sword.

    Dalkhai (Orissa) 'Dalkhai' dance is a popular folk dance among the women folks the tribal people of Sambalpur, Orissa. Dalkhai

    Dance is performed during the time of festivals. In the Dalkhai dance the men usually play the musical

    instruments. Chaiti Ghora is a dummy horse version of the Dalkhai dance and is popular in the fishing

    communities. The performers of this dance style are generally men.

    Goti Puas (Orissa) Goti Pua is yet another popular folk dance of east India (Orissa). The credit of popularizing this folk dance

    largely goes to Ramchandradeva, the Raja of Khurda, (Orissa). He was an enlightened ruler and a great patron

    of art and culture. It was due to his initiatives that the tradition of Goti Pua (boy dancers) began. It is

    interesting to note that the Odissi dance evolved from a curious amalgamation of both mahari and goti pua

    dance styles.

    Usually a Goti Pua performance is ably supported by a set of three musicians, who play the pakhawaj, cymbals

    and harmonium. The boys do the singing themselves, though at times the group has an additional singer. A goti

    pua dance performance usually commences with Bhumi Pranam (acknowledgment to Mother Earth) and wraps

    up with Bidahi Sangeet, a farewell song and dance item. The whole Goti Pua performance lasts around three

    hours.

    Folk Dances Of North East India

    Bihu (Assam) Bihu is a popular folk dance of Assam is called Bihu. The Bihu dance is an integral part of the Bihu festival of

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    Assam. The Bihu festival is celebrated in mid-April, during the harvesting time and lasts for about a month.

    Young men and girls perform the Bihu dance together to the accompaniment of drums and pipes. Love forms

    the subject matter of the songs that are sung during the performance. The dances are performed in circles or

    parallel rows.

    The Zemis, Zeliangs and several other tribes of Assam have a number of folk dances. Most of these folk

    dances are performed during the harvest period. Similarly, the Naga tribals too have their harvest dances and

    celebrations. "Khamba Lim" is one such folk dance and is performed by two groups of men and women who

    stand in two rows. Another popular Naga folk dance is "Akhu".

    Hajgiri (Tripura) Hajgiri is a famous folk dance of Tripura. Hajgiri dance is performed by young girls who display a series of

    balancing skills and instruments of their kind. In Tripura dances are a part of people's efforts and ceremony to

    appease the goddess Lakshmi. It is to ensure good harvest. Tribal people of Tripura and other adjoining states

    make use of the compounds of their own houses as dancing grounds during main festivals.

    Nongkrem (Meghalaya) 'Nongkrem' is an important folkdance of Meghalaya. The Khasis tribe of Meghalaya also celebrates the

    ripening of paddy for threshing, by dances and songs.

    Dhol-Cholom (Manipur) One of the instruments that dominate Manipuri dances is the drum. Dhol Cholom, a drum dance is one of the

    dances performed during Holi in Manipur. The Thang-ta dance of Manipur was an evolved from the martial

    arts drills promoted by the kings of Manipur. The dance is exciting and is performed by young men holding

    swords and shields.

    In Arunachal Pradesh, many dance and songs are performed, based on the stories of Buddha. The performers

    of these folk dances wear masks of demons or animals, inspired from Buddha stories. Most of these folk

    dances are performed in Buddhist monasteries during festivals.

    Folk Dances Of North India

    Dumhal (Jammu & Kashmir) Dumhal is a popular dance of Kashmir. This dance is performed with long colorful robes, tall conical caps

    (studded with beads and shells). Dumhal dance is accompanied by songs which the performers themselves

    sing. It is supported by drums. There is an interesting tradition associated with Dumhal dance where the

    performers of this dance place a banner into the ground at a fixed location and they begin to men dance around

    this banner.

    Hikat (Himachal Pradesh) Hikat is a popular dance of Himachal Pradesh, performed by women. The Hikat dance is performed in pairs

    and the participants extend their arms to the front, holding each other's wrists. The dancers keep their bodies

    inclined back and make round of the same place.

    In the Kulu valley of Himachal Pradesh Dussehra is celebrated with great grandeur and splendor. Singing and

    dancing form an important part of this festivity. Here, there are dances for different occasions and collectively

    all dances are called Natio.

    Namagen (Himachal Pradesh) Namagen is a dance performance usually held during autumnal hue celebrations. The most prominent dance

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    amongst these is the Gaddis. In this dance the costumes are largely woolen.

    Hurka Baul (Uttaranchal) Some of the seasonal folk dances of Uttaranchal are Jhumeila, the Chaufula of Garhwal and the Hurka Baul of

    Kumaon. The Hurka Baul dance is performed during the cultivation of paddy and maize. The name of the

    dance is derived from Hurka, the drum which is the only musical accompaniment and baul, the song. In the

    Hurka Baul dance the singer narrates the story of battles and heroic deeds, the performers enter from two

    opposite sides and enact the stories in a series of crisp movements. The rural folk form two rows and move

    backwards in harmony, while responding to the tunes of the song and the rhythm of the players.

    Chholiya is yet another famous folk dance of Kumaon, Uttaranchal. The Chholiya dance is performed during

    marriages. As the procession of marriage proceeds to the bride's house, the male dancers, armed with swords

    and shields, dance animatedly.

    Bhangra (Punjab) Bhangra is one of the most popular and energetic dances of India. Bhangra is performed by men folks during

    Baisakhi. It is among the most energetic and captivating dances of India and includes tricks and athletic feats.

    During the Bhangra performance the drummer is surrounded by men dressed in lungis and turbans. Luddi is

    yet another folk dance of the Punjab, performed by men folk. Luddi is performed to celebrate victory. In the

    Luddi dance the try to copy the movement of a snake's head.

    The dance performed by the women folk of Punjab is called the 'Gidha'. In the Gidha dance a woman or a pair

    of women dance while the others surrounding her clap in rhythm. The Gidha dance is performed during the

    festival of Teeyan to welcome the monsoons (rains). This dance also includes a step when women go round

    and round with feet planted at one place. Jhoomer is a dance of graceful pace. This dance is also performed in a

    circle. Dancers dance around a single drummer standing in the centre.

    Dhamyal (Haryana) Dhamyal or Dhup is one of the most popular folk dances of Haryana. Dhamyal dance is performed either by

    men alone or with women. A circular drum (Dhup) is played lightly by the male dancers. The spring season is

    a time of celebration in Haryana. The celebration is done usually after the work in the fields has been done.

    Folk Dances of South India

    Padayani (Kerala) Padayani is one of the most colorful and popular dances of Southern Kerala. Padayani is associated with the

    festival of certain temples, called Padayani or Paddeni. Such temples are in Alleppey, Quilon, Pathanamthitta

    and Kottayam districts. The main Kolams (huge masks) displayed in Padayani are Bhairavi (Kali), Kalan (god

    of death), Yakshi (fairy) and Pakshi (bird).

    Padayani involves a series of divine and semi divine imitation, putting Kolams of different shapes and colors.

    In the performance of Padayani, dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists play an important role. The actors

    or dancers wear Kolams that are huge headgears, with many projections and devices and a mask for the face or

    a chest piece to cover the breast and abdomen of the performer.

    Kummi (Tamil Nadu) Kummi is a popular folk dance of Tamil Nadu. Kummi dance is performed by tribal women during festivals.

    Kummi is a simple folk dance where dancers form circles and clap in rhythmic way.

    Kolattam

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    'Kollattam' or the stick dance is one of the most popular dances of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Kolattam

    is derived from Kol (a small stick) and Attam (play). It is also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu. Kolattam

    dance is a combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music and is performed during local village

    festivals. Kolattam is known by different names in different states of India. The Kolattam group consists of

    dancers in the range of 8 to 40. The stick, used in the Kolattam dance, provides the main rhythm.

    Perini The Perini Thandavam is a male dance of the warriors. As a part of tradition, the warriors performed this

    dominant dance in front of the idol of Nataraja or Lord Shiva, before leaving for the battlefield. This is popular

    in some parts of Andhra Pradesh state. In earlier times the rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty patronized this form

    of dance. The Perini dance is performed to the accompaniment of the beat of the drums.

    Thapetta Gullu (Andhra Pradesh) Thapetta Gullu is a folk dance form of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh. In the Thapetta Gullu dance more

    than ten persons participate. The participants or performers sing songs in the praise of local goddess. While

    performing the Thapetta Gullu dance, the dancers use drums, hanging around their necks. The dancers wear

    tinkling bells around their waist.

    Folk Dances Of South West India

    Dollu Kunitha (Karnataka) Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka state. In the Dollu Kanitha dance, large drums are

    adorned with colored clothes and hang around the necks of men. The songs used in this dance usually have

    religious and battle fervor. The main emphasis is on quick and light movement of the feet and legs. The Dollu

    Kunitha dance forms a part of the ritualistic dances of the Dodavas of Karnataka.

    Ghode Modni (Goa) The culture of Goa bears strong European influence as it was ruled by the Portuguese for many years. Ghode

    Modni dance portrays the brave deeds of the Goan warriors. In the Ghode Modni (dummy horse presentation)

    dance the delightfully dressed dancers perform dances, armed with swords. During the Ghode Modni

    celebrations people are in a mood for fun and frolic. Elaborate parades and spectacular processions are taken

    out, accompanied by dances of boys and girls.

    Lava Dance of Minicoy (Lakshadweep) Lava dance is a colorful and energetic dance of the Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep. During the Lava dance

    performance the dancers are dressed in multi-hued costumes and a headgear. They also carry a drum. The

    dancers perform to the rhythmic beats of drums and songs.

    Tarangmel (Goa) Tarangmel is an energetic and youthful dance of Goa. The Tarangmel dance is usually performed during

    Dussehra and Holi celebrations. During Dussehra and Holi, the energetic young girls and boys throng the

    streets in colorful group with flags and streamers (tarang). This gathering of young people is an invitation to

    everyone to join in the festive spirit. The musical instruments used during Tarangmel are 'romut', 'dhol' and

    'tasha'.

    Folk Dances Of West India

    Dandiya (Rajasthan)

    Dandiya is a popular folk dance of Rajasthan. Dressed in colorful costumes the performers play skillfully with

    big sticks in their hands. Dandiya dance is accompanied by the musical instrument called the 'Meddale' played

    by the drummer in the centre.

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    The Bhil tribal of Rajasthan perform a variety of dances. All these folk dances correspond to the agricultural

    cycle. The Ghumer dance, Raika and Jhoria are some examples of this type of dance. The Gher dance is a

    favorite and popular dance of the Mina tribe who are similar to the Bhils while Valar is typical dance of the

    Garasias of Rajasthan.

    Tera Tali (Rajasthan) Tera Tali is another famous folk dance of Rajasthan. It is performed by two or three women of the 'Kamar'

    tribe. The women folk sit on the ground while performing the Tera Tali which is an elaborate ritual with many

    other rituals in it. An interesting part of the Tera Tali dance is tying of metal cymbals (Manjiras) to different

    parts of the body, mostly on the legs. The Tera Tali dancers hold cymbals in their hands and strike them in a

    rhythmic manner. On many occasions the women clasp a sword in between their teeth and balance a decorative

    pot on their head.

    Dindi And Kala Dindi and Kala are devotional dances of Maharashtra. In these dances the playful attitude of Lord Krishna is

    presented. Dindi is a small drum. The musicians, comprising 'Mridangam' player and a vocalist, stand in the

    center and give the dancers the necessary musical background. Men and women folk perform the dance on the

    rhythmic music. This dance is usually performed on the Ekadashi day in the Hindu month of Kartik.

    Garba Garba is the leading dance of women in Gujarat. The Garba dance is associated with the fertility cult. The

    Garba dance is performed throughout nine nights of Navaratri, an autumn festival. Women folk come out into

    the open and with perforated earthen pots holding lighted lambs poised on the head sing, clap and dance a

    simple, circular dance, in honor of the Goddess Amba. When men also dance by singing and clapping the

    dance is known as Garbi.

    Tippani is a popular folk dance of Saurashtra. Tippani is performed by women laborers in parts of Saurashtra.

    The Dhangari Gaja Dance is performed by Dhangars of Maharashtra to please their God for blessings. The

    Dhangari Gaja dance is performed in the traditional Marathi dresses - Dhoti, Angarakha and Pheta,

    accompanied by colorful handkerchiefs. Dancers move around a group of drum players.

    Koli (Maharashtra) The Koli dance derives its name from the Koli tribe of Maharashtra. The dances of Kolis incorporate all

    elements of their surroundings. The Koli dance is performed by both men and women - divided into two

    groups. The main story of the dance is enacted by the smaller group of men and women. In this dance the

    Kolin or fisherwoman makes advances to the Kolis or fishermen.

    National Symbol of India

    The National Emblem of India has been taken from the Sarnath Lion capital erected by Ashoka. The national

    emblem of India was adapted by the Government of India on 26th January1950. In the National emblem only

    three lions are visible and the fourth one is hidden from the view. All the lions are mounted on an abacus. At

    the centre of the Abacus, there is a Chakra (wheel) which symbolizes the Dharma Chakra (Eternal wheel of

    law).

    There is a bull, a galloping horse, an elephant and a lion, separated by intervening wheels over a bell shaped

    lotus. The word Satyameva Jayate (truth alone triumphs) have been inscribed in Devanagari script. The

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  • RAJESH NAYAK

    National emblem of India is the official seal of the President of India and Central and State Governments. The

    National emblem is used only for official purposes and commands highest respect and loyalty. It is also a

    symbol of independent India's identity and sovereignty.

    National Calendar of India

    The national calendar of India is based on the Saka Era with Chaitra as its first month and a normal year of 365

    days. The national calendar of India was adopted on March 22nd 1957. Dates of the Indian national calendar

    have a permanent correspondence with the Gregorian calendar dates- 1 Chaitra falling on 22 March normally

    and on 21 March in leap year.

    The national Calendar of India is used along with the Gregorian calendar for the following official purposes-

    (i) Gazette of India, (ii) news broadcast by All India Radio, (iii) calendars issued by the Government of India

    and (iv) Government communications addressed to the members of the public.

    Carnatic Music

    Carnatic music or Carnatic sangeet is the south Indian classical music. Carnatic music has a rich history and

    tradition and is one of the gems of world music. Carnatic Sangeet has developed in the south Indian states of

    Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. These states are known for their strong presentation of

    Dravidian culture. Purandardas (1480-1564) is considered to be the father of Carnatic music. To him goes the

    credit of codification of the method of Carnatic music. He is also credited with creation of several thousand

    songs. Another great name associated with Carnatic music is that of Venkat Mukhi Swami. He is regarded as

    the grand theorist of Carnatic music. He also developed "Melankara", the system for classifying south Indian

    ragas.

    It was in the 18th century that Carnatic music acquired its present form. This was the period that saw the

    "trinity" of Carnatic music; Thyagaraja, Shamashastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar compile their famous

    compositions. Numerous other musicians and composers have also enriched the tradition of Carnatic music.

    Some other notable Carnatic music exponents are Papanasam Shivan, Gopala Krishna Bharati, Swati Tirunal,

    Mysore Vasudevachar, Narayan Tirtha, Uttukadu Venkatasubbair, Arunagiri Nathar and Annamacharya.

    In Carnatic music there is a very highly developed theoretical system. It is based upon a complex system of

    Ragam (Raga) and Thalam (Tala). Raga is basically the scale and the seven notes of this scale are Sa Re Ga

    Ma Pa Dha and Ni. Though unlike a simple scale there are definite melodic restrictions and compulsions. The

    Ragams are classified into various modes. These modes are referred to as mela, which are 72 in number. The

    Tala (thalam) is the rhythmic foundation of the Carnatic music.

    There are a number of sections to the Carnatic performance. Varanam is a composition usually played at the

    beginning of a recital. It literally means a description. Varanam is made of two parts- the Purvanga or the first

    half and the Uttaranga or the second half. The kritis are fixed compositions in the rag. They have well

    identified composers and do not allow much scope for variation. The "Alapana" offers a way to unfold the

    Ragam to the audience and at the same time allows the artist substantial scope for creativeness. Ragam is a free

    melodic improvisation played without mridangam accompaniment. Tanam is yet another style of melodic

    improvisation in free rhythm. Pallavi is short pre- composed melodic theme with words and set to one cycle of

    tala.

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