Orissa is as famous for its cultural activities as it is for its many travel destinations, temples and monuments and natural resources. A Tour to Orissa is rewarding in ways more than one. Most of the Performing arts of Orissa have a history that dates back considerably. Some of them are ritualistic in essence while others follow the folklore; still others are dance forms that were practiced by the warlords of this region. Art and Crafts of Orissa on the whole have carved a niche for itself in the world forum. The Puppet Dance of Orissa is a case in point.
Puppet Dance in Orissa
Puppet Dance or Puppetry is performed in many parts of Orissa. In Orissa they are mainly referred to as Kandhei or Sakhi Nata. It is a clever assimilation of dance and drama which adapts characters and stories from the mythology. It is a very old performing art. However not much is known about its origin. Puppet making is a typical folk art of Orissa. The dolls are painted bright and dressed meticulously representing the various characters that they will be made to enact. Another specialized form of Puppet Dance form is the Shadow plays. These are categorized into hand puppets, string puppets and rod puppets. More specifically they are known as (Kundhei-nacha) which is shadow puppetry, Kathi Kundhei which is Rod puppetry and Gopalila kundhei which is string puppetry.
Some of the places in Orissa where Puppet Dance is prevalent are Tarikund in Cuttack, Odasa, Keonjhar, Ganjam etc. With the accompaniments of songs, dialogues and Dholaks, Puppet shows are a major success in Orissa and elsewhere.