Other States

Bid to preserve ‘Lankapodi Jatra’

Efforts are on to preserve ‘Lankapodi Jatra’, the unique tribal folk theatre of Kandhamal district in Odisha in which 150-year-old heavy wooden masks are still being used.

Folk theatre researcher and former secretary of Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, Manmath Kumar Satpathy with support of Central government, is documenting and keeping alive this unique folk tradition.

It may be noted that this colourful mask related folk theatre form of Odisha, which is on the verge of extinction, is being visually documented for the first time by Kendriya Sangeet Natak Akademi.

This 180-year-old folk theatre form is enacted from evening till morning for 14 days from the day of Sri Ram Navami. Villagers contribute for its enactments and over 20,000 tribals participate in it.

This year this folk theatre ended on April 13. An 18-member team from Kendriya Sangeet Natak Akademi has shot more than 64 hours of raw video recording, said Mr Satpathy.

Mr Satpathy had pressed upon Kendriya Sangeet Natak Akademi to document this unique folk theatre for archival value. This mask-based folk theatre of Bisipada village had started as a tribal tradition in 1835. As per historians, colourful but wooden masks were used in this folk theatre for the first time in 1850. These masks are being used till now. Over 70 types of wooden masks are used. Except for the characters of Ram, Laxman and Sita, all other characters use these colourful masks. The lyrical script written on 180- year-old palm leaves is sung along with traditional music and the characters inside the masks enact the scenes without delivering any dialogues.

Although ‘Lankapodi Jatra’ retells the story of Ramayana, it ends with burning of Lanka by Hanuman. The large set erected for the folk theatre is burnt down on the last day of its enactment. After it the rest of the story of the Ramayana is read out in ritualistic manner, said Mr Satpathy.



‘Lankapodi Jatra’ retells the story of Ramayana, it ends with burning of Lanka by Hanuman. The large set erected for the folk theatre is burnt down on the last day of its enactment




Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 5:18:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bid-to-preserve-lankapodi-jatra/article7441779.ece

Next Story