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CITY GUIDE

Arts



Tappeta Gundlu

Tappeta gundlu is a folk dance confined to the coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Vishakhapatnam. This was originally performed by cowherds and shepherds as a ritualistic dance propitiating the rain god and their favourite deity Gangamma. While dancing they sing devotional songs on Sri Krishna, Dasavataras and on goddess Gangamma besides other folk songs and narratives. Tappeta or gundlu is a small percussion instrument in the shape of a drum hanging on the chest and tied to the sides and neck of the players. A troupe consisting of  eight to sixteen artistes sing and dance in circles beating with their hands the drums tied to their chests. The players tie jingling bells to their ankles. They put on tight knickers stitched with jingling bells all over.  They tie colourful clothes around their waists and long loin clothes hanging up to their feet in front as well as at the back resembling two tails.  

This dance requires skill and muscle power. The artistes exhibit rare skills in acrobatics while dancing. The drum beats, the sounds of jingling bells tied to their ankles and the sounds of the bells stitched to their shorts blend harmoniously with the different gaits and steps of the artistes. Their repertoire constitutes twenty to thirty gatibhedas. The dance, styles along with a variety of songs composed in consonance with the dance styles. All dancers sing pallavi of a song or a narrative following their troupe leader. While dancing, the artistes, eight in a group, stand one above the other on the thighs and shoulders in the shape of a gopuram or a tree with its branches hanging. They lie down and move like the hands of a clock. They stand one above the other on an earthen pot with tumblers full of water on their heads. They whirl fast and fall down with a heavy thud.  They come out of their dancing circle and exhibit shoulder and limb movements as in the Bhangra dance of  Punjab.  The beating of drums, dancing and singing always goes on.