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Once all-male, now women Kuchipudi dancers outnumber men



Once all-male

Amaravati, March 7 : It was only in the early 1900s that women were allowed to perform Kuchipudi, the medieval classical dance form that originated in the eponymous village in Andhra Pradesh. Now, women outnumber men both in teaching and learning, and have taken up the task of infusing a new lease of life into the art — including through digital means.

About an hour-and-a-half’s drive from this new Andhra Pradesh capital, through lush paddy fields and mounds of gleaming red chillies spread out under the hard sun, Kuchipudi village in Krishna district at first seems nondescript.

There is no buzz about the 6,117 performers creating a new Guinness World Record for the largest Kuchipudi dance. Neither is there the larger-than-life aura that one would associate with a classical entity that has touched the shores of the US, the UK, Africa and many others.

But step inside the Sri Siddhendra Yogi Kuchipudi Kala Peetham, and you will have stepped back in time, what with photographs of the maestros who helped shape the dance-drama format of Kuchipudi and faint sounds of talam (beats) accompanying young disciples.

“Initially, it was only men who performed. Vedanta Lakshmi Narayana Sastri in the early 1900s introduced it among women. He also started the trend of solo choreography. Up until then it was an ensemble performance. Besides, it was strictly restricted to the Brahmin community and Sastri opened it up to other communities. Now it is mostly women who are into it,” Anupama, a final year Master of Performing Arts student at the institute, told IANS.

The Kala Peetham is an institute affiliated to the Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University and is named after the dance form’s founding father, Siddhendra Yogi.

“This year, we plan to float an exclusive platform on social media to popularise Kuchipudi. The effort will be to showcase the village and the institute as the point of origin of the dance, which many do not know is named after a village,” said Anupama.

The new building of the century-old institute stands on a 600-acre plot gifted by the then Nawab of Golconda, Abdul Hassan Tahnisha, to the villagers in the 17th century, after he was moved by a performance. His only condition was that the tradition should be carried on.

And survived it has, despite vicissitudes of migration, loss of patronage and shrinking family size.

There are around 13 families in the village and all of them are dedicated to Kuchipudi.

“Earlier, there used to be more families. Siddhendra Yogi brought all families engaged in the dance drama to the village and the village’s name, which means small (‘kuchi’) village in Telugu, gradually got aligned to the dance,” Anupama explained after a nourishing traditional meal of rice, curd and vegetables that is served to the 100-odd students of the institute who come from across the state and the country.

Elaborating on its genesis at a time when Vaishnavism and the Bhakti movement were sweeping the region, Anupama said the dance form has an intimate connection with Lord Krishna.

Siddhendra Yogi’s play “Bhama Kalapam” — the story of Satyabhama, the charming but jealous wife of Krishna — is a crown jewel of the dance.

“Men used to dress up as women and enact the role of Satyabhama. The steps and mudras as well as the style of dressing and make-up are rooted in Natya Shastra, the oldest surviving text on stagecraft in the world. One’s calibre is mapped from the way one portrays Satyabhama,” noted Anupama.

This is where Kuchipudi differs from the other comparatively better-off classical sister forms like Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak.

It is all about the act, or “abhinaya”.

“Kuchipudi has four aspects: vachika (speaking or narration), aahaarya (costumes or vastra), aangika (postures) and abhinay or expressions. The dancer or danseuse narrates the dialogues or shlokas and, therefore, the focus is more on the expressions and acting. Mridangam, harmonium and violin are the key accompaniments, and a pair of vocalists keeps the narration rolling. A ‘sutradhar’ is also involved in the storytelling,” said Anupama and her classmates.

There is an a new earnestness about revitalising Kuchipudi, with the state government sanctioning Rs 100 crore for the promotion of both the dance form and the village.

“There was a slack period where employment was hard to find. Now the Chandrababu Naidu government has planned to include Kuchipudi in the school curriculum and recruit teachers. The village also is being developed as a prominent tourism destination,” said an enthusiastic Anupama, hoping the associated woodcraft and weaving industry will also be revived.

However, Anupama and her batchmates are resolute on one thing: the dance has to stay pure.

(Sahana Ghosh was in Amravati at the invitation of the Amaravati Global Music and Dance Festival’s organisers. She can be contacted at [email protected])


When is Kartik Purnima? Know date, significance and more

Kartik Purnima 2020: Purnima means the full moon day and the full moon that falls on Kartik month is known as Kartik Purnima. This day is celebrated on the 15th lunar day of the month Kartik and it generally falls in the month of November.




Mars moon Phobos

Purnima means the full moon day and the full moon that falls on Kartik month is known as Kartik Purnima. This day is celebrated on the 15th lunar day of the month Kartik and it generally falls in the month of November. It is also known as Tripuri Purnima or Tripurari Purnima and is one of the most significant days in the traditional calendar.

Kartik Purnima will fall on November 30, 2020, and coincidentally it will fall with the lunar eclipse or Chandra Grahan this year. Here we have compiled everything about this day, from date to tithi and significance:

Kartik Purnima will be observed on November 30 this year.

What is the Kartik Purnima 2020 tithi?

The Kartik Purnima Tithi will begin at 12:47 PM on Nov 29, 2020, and Purnima tithi will end at 02:59 PM on Nov 30, 2020.

Significance of Kartik Purnima 2020:

According to Hindu mythology, this festival is one of the important and ancient festivals of India. Usually, devotees take a bath in the Ganga river on this day and this day is known as Kartik Snana. On this day, Lord Shiva killed a trio of Asura brothers who was known as Tipurasura, and Lord Shiva took the avatar of Tipurari to kill them

After killing them, Lord Shiva restored peace, and thus after that Devas celebrated Diwali on this day to celebrate the victory of Lord Shiva over the evil.

On this day, a grand mela is held at Pushkar. The fair begins on Prabodhini Ekadashi, and it falls a week or so before Kartik Purnima. Kartik Purnima is also the last day to perform Tulsi Vivah.

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Vaikuntha Chaturdashi: Date, timings, significance, and rituals of the puja

This year, Vaikuntha Chaturdashi falls on November 28.



Vaikuntha Ekadashi

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi is observed one day before Kartik Purnima. The Hindu month of Kartik, which concurs with the Gregorian month of October/November has myriad festivals and significant days.

This Chatiurdashi which falls on the Shukla Paksha is considered sacred for both the devotees of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva as both the deities are worshipped on the same day.

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi 2020 Date:

This year, Vaikuntha Chaturdashi falls on November 28.

  • Chaturdashi Tithi Begins – 10:21 AM on Nov 28, 2020
  • Chaturdashi Tithi Ends – 12:47 PM on Nov 29, 2020

Significance of Vaikuntha Chaturdashi:

Lord Shiva was impressed and appeared in front of him. Lord Shiva then said that Kartik Shukla Chaturdashi will be known as Kartik Baikunth Chaudas. Lord Shiva offered the Sudarshan Chakra to Lord Vishnu on this very day. On this day, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva said that the doors of heaven will be opened. A person fasting on this day would secure his place in heaven.

Rituals of Vaikuntha Chaturdashi:

Certain rituals should be followed to worship Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu should be worshipped with flowers, lamps, sandalwood etc. Devotees should recite Bhagavad Gita and Shri Sukta and offer Lotus flower for the puja. It is believed that those who worship Lord Vishnu and listen to the story on this day, get relief from all sufferings of life. Worshipping Lord Vishnu with a mantra and storm path on this day takes a person to Baikunth Dham after his death.

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Guru Nanak Jayanti: history, significance and all you need to know

Guru Nanak Jayanti: Guru Nanak Jayanti also known as Gurpurab is an auspicious occasion for the followers of the religion of Sikhism.



Guru Nanak Jayanti

Guru Nanak Jayanti also known as Gurpurab is an auspicious occasion for the followers of the religion of Sikhism. This day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

This day is observed on the day of Kartik Poornima, which is the fifteenth lunar day in the month of Kartika according to the Hindu calendar. According to Gregorian calendar, this day falls in the month of November. This year it will be the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and will be celebrated on Monday, November 30.

History of Guru Nanak Jayanti:

Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate and honor the life of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib, Punjab. It is said that his birth was a mark of divinity.

He was a firm believer in One God and he also had faith that an individual can connect to God through his prayers. He never followed the religion that made people do sacrifices. All the teaching of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is in the sacred book Guru Granth Sahib.

This day is celebrated for three days and two days prior to Guru Nanak Jayanti, prayer and Akhand Paths are conducted at the Gurudwaras.

A procession known as Nagarkirtan is organized. The procession is led by five men, referred to as the Panj Pyare, holding the Sikh triangular flag, Nishan Sahib.

The main day of Gurpurab begins with the morning hymns, that is followed by the prayers and kathas that are performed in the praise of the guru. Later, langar is followed by a night prayer session that is conducted at Gurudwaras.

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