Kathputli Rajasthan is one of the most popular performing arts of Rajasthan. A traditional folk dance, Kathputli is a puppet dance based on popular legends and performed by skilled puppeteers. Such is the popularity of the puppet-playing tradition in Rajasthan that the name of Kathputli Dance itself evokes images of Rajasthan and its folklores.
Indianholiday offers detailed information on Kathputli Rajasthan and other performing arts of Rajasthan, India.
The word ‘Kathputli’ means ‘puppet’ and a tradition of pupeteering has long existed in Rajasthan, India. In ancient days, puppeteers were known to travel across vast regions through various villages in order to entertain people. Through puppet plays, these puppeteers narrated stories of legendary heroes or historic events. Thus, these puppet shows not only provided entertainment, they also spread awareness among the viewers.
In Kathputli Dance in Rajasthan India, the puppeteer narrates the stories through soulful ballads. Kathputli Rajasthan features puppet plays based on popular legends being performed by skilful puppeteers. Various types of puppets or Kathputlis are used during the Kathputli Traditional Dance in Rajasthan. These include Glove Puppets, String Puppets, Rod Puppets and Shadow Puppets.
In a string-puppet dance, the puppets are strung on the stage for the performance. The puppeteer displays his skills in maneuvering the strings and making the puppets act and dance. He is accompanied by a woman, usually his wife, who plays the dholak or drum and sings the ballad.
During Kathputli Rajasthan, tales of romance and valor are told with movements of string puppets. Rajasthan Kathputli Dance is performed during fairs and festive occasions. For a performance, a small stage is set where the puppeteers would show puppetry and narrate the stories. Music or ballads form an integral part of Kathputli Rajasthan as the entire performance is based on the ballad. Sometimes, the puppeteer accompanies the ballads with various sound effects to the give the show a greater impact. Kathputli Rajasthan features historic anecdotes, tales of love, and includes a lot of screeching and high-pitched sounds as the puppets twist and bend to the tunes of the puppeteer at the time of performance.