Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Andhra Pradesh



Gorava or blankets. The priests among Kurubas are known as Goravas. They dedicate one male member to the god Srisaila Mallikarjuna when he grows up he is initiated into the Moilara cult by a Ganachari and trained in the lore Kuruba or Kuruma is a sub caste of shepherds who tend sheep and weave wool ritualistic music and dance by a senior Gorava.  During the festivals and Kalyanotsavas of their family deities Goravayyalu present their ritualistic dance with great fanfare. During the other days they move from one place to another singing the ballads of Mallanna and other Saiva panegyrics, beg alms and bless the devotees.

They put on a long black coat made out of sheep wool with white strips, a big triangular jar cap made out of bear's skin.  One upper cloth hanging from both shoulders, another cloth serving as a waist band. A bag made of deer skin containing the sacred turmeric called Bandaru to be offered to the devotees, a brass cup tied to the waist for drinking milk or pancamritam.  They wear strings of cowries around their necks, tie jingling bells to their ankles. They hold a damaru in the right hand and a flute in the left hand.

They play these instruments when they dance.  While dancing they move in circles and jump forward and backward like fighting rams.  They bark at each other like fighting dogs.  They call themselves faithful dogs of god. Mallari or Mailaru.  They drink milk or Pancamritam contained in the brass cups placed on the ground like dogs kneeling on the ground without holding the cups with their hands.  The remnants are shared by devotees as prasadam when they perform this ritual dance in the temple precincts they pierce their cheeks, calf wrist with iron pikes and blued as offering to the deity and beat themselves with big hunters called veratallu. This dance is purely ritualistic performed during religious occasions.