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Updated: July 27, 2012 14:37 IST

Fishermen have a whale of a time!

K. R. DeepakG. S. Subrahmanyam
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Carnival time with fisherfolk performing a folk dance as part of the Muthyalamma Jatara late on Wednesday night in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak
The Hindu
Carnival time with fisherfolk performing a folk dance as part of the Muthyalamma Jatara late on Wednesday night in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak

Gaiety and fervour mark nine-day Muthyalamma jatara

A riot of colour with jugglers, pantomimes, dancers on the road and on tableaux mingling with people in their Sunday best, begs to describe the gaiety at the carnival organised on the concluding day of the nine-day festival of the temple of Muthyalamma of Pedajalaripeta on Wednesday night.

The festive spirit was in abundance and the fisherfolk of all ages, from babes in arms to grand daddies and grand moms, from the village thronged to watch the bawdy recording dance as much as they encouraged the spirited folk dances. The respect for their source of livelihood was evident in the way everyone stepped forward to touch and pay obeisance to models of ships and boats that formed a part of the procession.

The traditional celebration was organised by the fisherfolk of Pedajalaripeta on the Lawson Bay, funded by the returns from their one day’s catch. The Muthyalamma Jatara is traditionally high budget one and this time total expenditure must have been Rs. 12 lakh, a villager said.

The procession was led by jugglers twirling lighted sticks in intricate stick play that drew the attention of the passersby who stopped to watch. However, some of the boorish insensitive bikers and car drivers rudely interrupted the carnival with their honking in an attempt to break through the procession crossing the road.


Each tableau represented a theme and was taken up by a group of youth from the fisherfolk habitation on the Lawson Bay. Following the jugglers, the pairs of men dressed up as tigers and women confronting them formed an interesting interlude. Then was the tableau carrying Lord Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman and Lord Shiva and Parvati. Next there was a group of youth from the village who had a tableau with Lord Yama and Chitragupta being entertained by a group of bawdy recording dance performers swinging to the latest tunes.

This was followed by a group that gave an excellent display of rhythmic dance. Narrating the tale of Krishna and the milkmaids of Brindavan, the dancers stepped in perfect unison like true professionals unmindful of being barefoot on an uneven road. The dancers were not only dressed up but also moved like clockwork toys totally expressionless. This was followed by tableaux featuring ships and boats and then a group of youth walked under a fishing net held up by others. Last in the line was the idol of Goddess Durga glittering in the moving spotlights. The entire procession returned to the Muthyalamma temple late in the early hours of Thursday. In the total absence of the police, the organisers dealt with the inebriated revellers firmly and also dealt with the traffic that was disrupted in some stretches of the thoroughfare.

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