Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Andhra Pradesh


Garaka Dance (Vessel Dance)   

Garaga means a pot or vessel. The dance performed with a vessel on the head is known as Garaganrityam.  This is very popular in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. This dance was performed as a ritual by Asadis during propitiating ceremonies of village goddesses. In Andhra this is popular in the coastal districts and the border districts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

In olden days the priest in trance known as Ganachary used to dance without any make up for himself, with a decorated earthen pot on his head in-front of the temple of a village goddess or along with her retinue in procession to the beats of Dappu.  It is a strong percussion instruments. In course of time the Garaga dance has acquired many attractive adjuncts in make up and dance styles. Brass vessels covered with colourful cloths, decorated with vermilion and turmeric are held on the heads by the artistes when they dance.  The mouth of the brass vessel is covered with a five hooded serpent made in brass or bronze.  The dancers put on colourful clothes and hold a bunch of margosa leaves symbolic of Shakti worship.  The adept Dappu players produce varying beats in Trisara, caturasra and other gatis and the garaga dancers dance and produce the same sounds with the jingling bells tied to their ankles.  The artistes maintain the balance of the vessels on their heads by without moving their heads though their bodies and limbs move very fast.  They have introduced many nuances and acrobatics in their dance styles for attracting the spectators. They lie down on their bellies and pick up coins and sticks with their lips.  They stand facing each other on one leg and make a knot with each others leg and dance to the drum beats. They also play kolatam striking at each others stick.  All these while maintaining the balance of the vessels on their heads.