[Prelims Spotlight] Indian heritage and Culture

Different forms of traditional theatre


  • It is a traditional theatre form of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • Kutch and Kathiawar are the main centres of this theatre form.
  • It is a synthesis of devotional and romantic sentiments.
  • It consists of dance to narrate series of small plays known as Vesha or Swanga.
  • It is accompanied by semi-classical music.
  • Bhungal, tabla, pakhaawaj, rabaah, sarangi, manjeera etc.


  • Nautanki is popular in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is an offshoot of Swang.
  • It is mentioned in Abu Fazl’s Ain-e-Akbari.
  • The theme is based on historical, social and folk tales, delivered through dance and music.
  • Kanpur, Lucknow, and Hathras are the most popular centres of this theatre form.
  • Dialogues are delivered in a lyrical fashion accompanied by drum beats called Nagara.



  • It is a theatre form popular in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It depicts the legends of Lord Krishna.
  • In this theatre form, dialogues are in pros combined with songs and scenes from the pranks of Krishna.

Bhand Pather

  • It is a traditional theatre form of Kashmir.
  • It consists of unique combinations of dance, drama, and acting.
  • Surnai, Nagara, and dhol are the instruments used in this theatre form.
  • It is mainly performed by the farming community, reflecting their ideas and way of living.


  • It is a popular theatre form of Punjab and Haryana.
  • It is mainly a musical drama sung through verses.
  • Ektara, Harmonium, Sarangi, Dholak, and Kharta are the instruments used in it.
  • Rohtak and Haathras are the two important style in this theatre form.


  • Maach is a theatre form of the region of Malwa in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The term Maach is used for the stage as well as the play.
  • It is based on mythological themes and later romantic folks tales were also included.
  • Songs are given importance between the dialogues in this theatre form.
  • Dialogues in this form are called Bol and Ryhm in narration is termed as Vanag.
  • Tune of the theatre is known as Rangat.

Ankia Naat

  • It is a theatre form present in the state of Assam.
  • It was started by Shankaradeva and his disciple Mahadeva in the 16th century A.D.
  • Cultural glimpses of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Mathura, and Brindavan can be seen this theatre form.
  • The narration begins with a story in Sanskrit and later switch to Brajboli or Assamese.
  • the narrator called as Suthradhar is accompanied by a group of musicians known as Gayan-Bayan Mandali who play the ‘Khol’ and cymbals.
  • Use of Masks to depict special expression is one of the unique features of this theatre form.


  • It is the most developed theatre form of Konkan and Goa.
  • The ten incarnation of Lord Vishnu– the god of preservation and creativity are personified by the performers.
  • Apart from makeup, performers wear a mask of wood and papier mache.


  • It is a folk theatre form of Kerala.
  • It came into existence in the 17th century under the patronage of Calicut king Manavada.
  • It narrates the birth, childhood pranks and various deeds depicting victory of good over evil by Sri Krishna.
  • It is performed for eight consecutive days.
  • Different plays are Avataram, Kaliamandana, Rasa Krida, Kamasavadha, Swayamvaram, Bhanayudham, Vivida Vadham, and Swargarohana.


  • It is the oldest theatre form popular in Karnataka.
  • It emerged in the Vijayanagara empire and was performed by Jakkula Varu community.
  • It is a descriptive dance drama.
  • It is presented from dusk to dawn.
  • The stories are drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata and other epics from both Hindu and Jain tradition.


  • Therukooth is a popular folk drama of Tamil Nadu.
  • Therukooth means “street play”.
  • It is performed during the annual temple festival of Mariamman(Rain God) for a rich harvest.
  • It plays various themes and one the theme is based on Draupathi in Hindu epic Mahabharata.
  • It is a combination of song, music, dance, and drama.
  • Harmonium, drums, and cymbals are the instrument used in it.


  • It is Sanskritic theatre tradition of Kerala.
  • Chakyaar(actor), Nambiar(instrumentalist) and Nangyaar( those taking woman’s role) are the main characters of Koodiyattam.
  • The main protagonists are Suthradhar(narrator) and the Vidushak(jesters). Dialogues are delivered by Vidushak alone.
  • Hand gestures and eye movements are the features of this theatre form.

Villu Paatu

  • It is a musical theatre popular in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Villu Paatu means bow-song.
  • In this, using a bow-shaped instrument, the stories of Ramayana are narrated.


  • Mudiyettu is a traditional folk theatre of Kerala.
  • It is performed in the month of Vrichigam. ie November-December.
  • It is performed only in Kali Temple as a presentation to Goddess.
  • It is a part of Bhadrakali cult. It depicts the triumph of Goddess Bhadrakali over the asura Darika.
  • Mudiyettu is performed by Marar and Karuppu community.
  • Shiva, Narada, Darika, Danavendra, Bhadrakali, Kooli, and Koimbidar are the seven charaters of Mudiyettu.
  • In 2010, Mudiyettu was inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity after Koodiyattam

Some of the other important theatre forms are Kala of Vaishnaite tradition, Bhuta in Karnataka, Daskathia in Odisha, Garodas in Gujarat, Jatras in Eastern India, Kariyila in Himachal Pradesh, Powda in Maharashtra, Burra Katha in Andhra Pradesh, Bayalata in Karnataka and Kuruvanji in Tamil Nadu.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
User Avatar
neha manhas
4 years ago

Thank you !


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥💥Smash Ethics by AIR 48, Ethics Topper 133 marks.
This is default text for notification bar