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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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. MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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. MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK '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. MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH NAYAK 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 MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightRAJESH 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. MonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlightMonuHighlight

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