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The historical blend of both modern and ancient is creative best is best identified with Togalu Gombeyaata,  a puppet show unique to the state of Karnataka, India. ‘ Togalu Gombeyaata’ translates to ‘a play of leather dolls’ in the ancient language of Kannada.

This leather art form has an interesting blend of shadows and music which makes it livable in theatres.  The puppets used in Togalu Gombeyaata are goat hide and deer skin.

It has unique characteristic of transparency that absorbs colours , such as vegetable dyes of red, blue, green and black adding life to this art of storytelling. For puppets representing human and animal figures, the head and limbs are joined in such a way that they can be moved easily.The maximum size of the puppet is 4 x 3 feet and the minimum is 6 x 3 inches.

The puppeteers of the small leather puppet theatre performers use Kannada language and in a box stage manipulator sits behind the screen, raise the puppets held in their hands. During the performance men, women, children, the whole community of the artiste, take part. The puppet shows in this particular art form traces it’s origin to Rashtrakutas, Pallavas, Kadambas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas and Kothapur kingdoms in south.

In Karnataka there are two major varieties in the leather puppet shows, depending on the size of the puppets.

Chikka Togalu Gombeyaata

The small puppets players have their own mobile stage measures 9 feet and 5 feet.

Leather puppets demonstrating the war between the PandavaArjuna and his son Babruvahana                              

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leather_puppets_of_Karnataka.jpg

Dodda Togalu Gombeyaata

The average dimensions of the leather puppet stage 12 feet in length, 6 feet in width.

An Elephant Puppet

Image Source: http://seltmann.manasvi.eu/images/25300_201007140356b.jpg

A Boar Puppet

Image Source: http://seltmann.manasvi.eu/images/25300_201007140379.jpg

Each variety shows several regional variations in the style of music, craftsmanship, stage technique and manipulation.

The visible portion in front where a white screen tied up. Behind the screen the manipulator sits and manipulates the epic characters from behind the screen. Behind the curtain the hands of the manipulators remain unseen. On front of the stage the puppeteers’ family or associate sits and give chorus and exchange dialogue with drum beater. In the projected light sources the leather puppets shadow appears with beautiful colour.

 

Related image

A still from Ramayana in Togalu Gombeyaata

Image Source: http://indulge.newindianexpress.com/shadow-play-3/section/51889

Even as television, radio and movies remain our first choice to entertainment , this sheer execution of creativity and hard work by puppeteers fulfils one’s connect roots in easiest way possible.

Here is a sample video of spectacular art form :

YouTube Videos:

Togalu Gombeyaata Part 1

Togalu Gombeyaata Part 2

Now that this ancient art form is no longer restricted to Dravidian states alone, do find time to catch hold of amazing performances in nearest festival near you. Follow Nazariya to know about the upcoming performances.


Author: Noah Unathraj

Image Source: http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/02510/14TH_KINNERA_2510681e.jpg

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”, quoted the famous French artist Edgar Degas. Yes indeed in my perspective art is something more imaginative, profound and absorbing to the human soul. It frees out mind and body from the busy mauhauul of everyday life and looking up to something which is delightful and engrossing in a heartfelt manner. Art is the involuntary susceptibility that an insaan feels in a warm way. India is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” unity in diversity hence has engulfed emulsions of many art forms and has become the hunting ground for souls of peoples engrossed in art. Today I am to present you something of an art which has lost its prominence 4 centuries ago. Though it has not totally died down precisely, it has almost been on the verge of extinct but has some time ago resurged back to life by none other than Mister Darshanam Mogilaiah the one of the very few survivors of this extricated instrument titled “The Kinnera” (a string instrument).

A  re-known artiste of the Telangana state, in fact the one person in the country playing the 12-step kinnera, hailing from Ayusaolni kunta village of the Mahabubnagar district in Telangana state. He belongs to a low esteemed family where his forefathers have dedicated their lives in an urge to empower and boost up the spirits of the people to take part in freedom struggle against the British by playing the instrument and singing patriot songs in synch. The “Dakkali” tribe has put in their flesh and soul for design and working of the instrument, has actively participated in the freedom movement. “Dakkali” have been a Chenchu race breed and brought up through odds and slavery right from the start by the landlords and the upper caste people in the society and hence in order to revolt against them have invented the device to unite the people of all the lower caste in their society and have struggled for their freedom and fought their way out.   

Kinnera is a stringed instrument like Desi Veena, has 12 steps which is able to produce 12 different tunes with the 2 strings that are mounted on them. The instrument uses bamboo for the neck, dried and hollowed gourds for resonators, human hair or animal nerves for strings and pangolin scales for frets which are fixed using honey-wax. According to Adivasi studies state that the Chenchus have lost the instrument half century ago when the gourd used for resonator became extinct in this region. This has come into lime light while researching about Panduga Sayanna a Telangana fighter. The dakkali singers sang in his praise using “Kinnera”.  It has almost taken 3 years to trail out and explore this history through the help of Dakkali Pochaiah.

Darshanam Mogilaiah

Image Source: http://cdn.deccanchronicle.com/sites/default/files/Moghulayya_0.jpg

Darshanam Mogilaiah aged 65 has been the forerunner of this instrument now. He belongs to “Madiga Mastin” tribe which is a sub-caste of community. He has been a master of this art and 5th generation artiste in the family which has been playing the “Kinnera”. He is skilled at frolicking the 12 step music singing mostly in praise of Meera Saab who according to a legend, lived during the Wanaparthy Samsthan 400 years ago in Mahabubnagar. Meera Saab, a Robinhood-type do-gooder, used to rob the rich and feed the poor. His ancestors constructed the kinnera with 8 steps or more, Mogilaiah is the only one to build up to 12 steps to produce different tunes with the 2 strings. He uses dried fruit, coconuts or dried horns positioned at 12 places on the instrument, helping generate a different type of music. The ‘twelve frets’ of the Kinnera are made of ‘bull horn’, who have been his treasure which are permanent while the others when worn out can be replaced. He speaks “The Chiluka (parrot) is also a very important element of my Kinnera as it starts dancing along with me in many of my rhythmic songs.” He says people must recognize the sacrifice being made to protect the heritage of the local songs and rising voice on social issues through his family tradition.

With times and advent of electronic instruments, it’s on the wane- perhaps extinct. He is perhaps among the few living bards who can play the instrument and perform. This enthralling singing in hand with the instrument is an experience to live up. He just doesn’t want to be recognized as a performer of this wonderful instrument, but preserve the art of it. Through his endeavors he has received a fillip in the form of Dasari Ranga, a research scholar of Osmania University, who is doing a thesis on “Karshaka Geetalu” (folk songs of agricultural workers) has arranged a program to showcase the art resulting in authorities of Telugu University and University oh Hyderabad (UoH) for introducing a course on kinnera folk art for which Mogilaiah could be an instructor.    

Music is the entity which binds a person together irrespective of his caste, creed and color. Even though its origin is from the flock flare it has found out its way through and has been an important criterion in enhancing and encouraging the morale of the people even at hardships, thought dead has risen out now in order to re-mesmerize back the people and showcase its versatility on the world stage and give the while a wider perspective of so many such art forms which are there lying underneath waiting for an opportunity for them to be resurged back to life.    


India is a nation which holds a cultural hub which is beyond comparison and it stands with its remarkable harmony and colours of different cultures and traditions. However, the history of India is one another topic which draws out attention and when it comes to preserving the history and exhibiting it, we Indians take pride in it like no other. There are numerous cultural museums in our country which attracts people from all over the world. Out of so many we present before you a few unique and exquisite cultural museums of India.

Bay Island Driftwood Museum – Kottayam

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A museum exhibiting an exclusive collection of superior quality driftwood articles of immensely high artistic value, prepared through a rare and innovative modern art form, is operating at the picturesque village of Kumarakon in Kottayam. Being the only driftwood museum in India, The Bay Island Driftwood Museum has been certified by The India Book of Records in 2013. Story goes that long ago a school teacher Raji Punnoose (curator and proprietor) picked up the habit of randomly collecting driftwood pieces brought by the sea to the shore. With each cyclone the sea brought along ancient trees and roots and left behind its loot on the shores. These pieces were gathered, cleaned and shaped to give them creative forms – birds, fish, and animals. This process of developing the plundered goods brought in by the Bay of Bengal is on display at this museum for us to see.

The Limca Book of Records has certified that Bay Island Museum as the only drift wood museum that showcases objects which have been painstakingly recovered  and collected from the Andaman seas and beaches by Raji Punnoose. The museum is today managed by a trust to ensure its perpetuity. Recognising its potential as a special interest tourist destination, the state government awarded it the ‘Most Innovative Tourism Project’ prize in 2004. Even though tourists many not exactly be making a beeline for the museum, the recent status of Kumarakom as an incubator for the state’s responsible tourism initiatives is good news. Since it opened its doors in 2001, tourists from close to 100 countries have visited the museum till date. The entry fee of Rs 50 is ploughed back into local area development as well as charity.

The government ruling that nobody can take into custody stuff brought in by the sea following the 2004 Tsunami means that the Bay Island Museum will remain one of a kind only. The museum is a perfect example of how a passion became an obsession and all those efforts given into this came out to be something which is unique and nothing in the world can match with it.

Address Chakranpadi, Vayitharamattom, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563

Contact 0481 252 6223

Opening Hours 10AM-5PM

Website http://www.bayislandmuseum.com/


Anokhi Museum of Hand Painting – Jaipur

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Critics called it ‘a little gem of a museum’; this interesting museum in a restored haveli documents the art of hand-block printing, from old traditions to contemporary design displaying a varied selection of block printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects – all chosen to provide an in-depth look into the complexity of this ancient tradition.

Like crafts worldwide, the block printing industry faces serious challenges trying to keep pace with modern manufacturing. The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing addresses this fragile situation primarily through education. Dedicated to the art of block printing, AMHP strives to inform both textile specialists and general public alike; but more importantly, the artisans themselves are encouraged to visit and view their craft in a unique and inspirational way. Whilst block Printing and Textile heaven these two are the epitome of grabbing attention of the visitors all around the world. Apart from interpreting, preserving and collecting the Rajasthani art of block painting, one can also observe a huge variety of textiles in the three storeyed museum, complete with elaborate explanations of the make, meaning, quality and speciality of the fabric and its print. One of the biggest attractions in the museum/art gallery is the on-site demonstration of block printing, which holds a high fascination factor for adults and children alike.  

Besides this the place also organises film programs in its auditorium, where documentaries about the rare art of block printing are showcased. If you feel inspired, you can also enrol for a 2 day workshop where you work alongside the skilled artisans on your own project, learning to make blocks and printed fabrics! For those who might be unaware, Anokhi is a brand with many stores across the globe, known for reviving the arts of our past. Also, the building in which this museum is currently was painfully restored by Anokhi’s founders in 1989, for which they were awarded the UNESCO prize for ‘Cultural Conservation’.

Ergo, Anokhi holds a massive fascination among people of age and background. It is a zealous initiative in order to protect the heritage of Rajasthan’s legacy.

Address  Anokhi Haveli, Near Badrinath Temple, Kheri Gate, Amber, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302028

Contact 0141 253 0226

Opening Hours 10:30AM-5PM

Website http://www.anokhi.com/museum/home.html


Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi (IGNCA)

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A premier government-funded arts organization in India, IGNCA is an autonomous institution under the Union Ministry of Culture. It was established in the memory of Indira Gandhi, the late Indian Prime Minister. Launched on 19 November 1985 by the late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi at a function where the symbolism of the components was clearly articulated at different levels. The elements – fire, water, earth, sky and vegetation – were brought together. Five rocks from five major rivers – Sindhu (Indus), GangaKaveri,Mahanadi and the Narmada (where the most ancient ammonite fossils are found) were composed into sculptural forms. These remain at the site as reminders of the antiquity of Indian culture and the sacredness of her rivers and rocks.

It’s a centre encompassing the study and experience of all the arts—each form with its own integrity, yet within a dimension of mutual interdependence, interrelated with nature, social structure and cosmology. The arts are here understood to comprise the fields of creative and critical literature, written and oral; the visual arts, ranging from architecture, sculpture, painting and graphics to general material culture, photography and film; the performing IGNCA; and all else in fairs, festivals and lifestyle that has an artistic dimension. In its initial stages the Centre will focus attention on India; it will later expand its horizons to other civilizations and cultures. Through diverse programmes of research, publication, training, creative activities and performance, the IGNCA seeks to place the arts within the context of the natural and human environment. The fundamental approach of the Centre is all its work will be both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.

Since, Art is an inevitable part of human nature, and perhaps the only activity that propagates free expression of thoughts in its purest form and IGNCA exclusively sets up for the preservation and promotion of art in the country.

Address   Mansingh Road, Opposite Of Raksha Bhawan, New Delhi, Delhi 110001

Contact 098148 85236

Opening Hours 8AM-6PM

Website http://ignca.nic.in/


Purani Haveli The Nizam’s Museum – Hyderabad

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Located in the Purani Haveli, Nizam’s Museum is a place worth visiting. Boasting of a rich collection of memoirs, gifts, souvenirs from all over the world, it was created on the wish of last and the seventh Nizam, Asaf Jah VII, the museum showcases a glimpse into the lives of Nizams, who have ruled the city from 19th to 20th century, commencing a high rate of development. Nizam Museum is entailed of a wide range of rare souvenirs and intricately designed mementos. The major attraction here is the golden, wooden throne, which was used during the silver jubilee celebrations of the Last Nizam. There is also a gold model of the pavilion. Diamond inlaid gold Tiffin-box, paintings of Mir Osman Ali Khan, wooden writing box covered with mother-of-pearl, daggers studded with diamond and gold, caskets, etc., are a few popular items on display. An exclusively designed silver perfume bottles, a gift from the Raja of Palvancha is also an admirable piece of art. For car lovers, there are vintage cars such as 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard and a Jaguar Mark V on display.

Another prominent feature is the wardrobe of sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Mahbub Ali Khan. The wardrobe, an entity in itself, is 176 feet long and has two levels. It is made up of Burma teak, one of the finest. The sixth Nizam, is said to have never repeated his clothes, which were given to other after being worn once by him. Hence a section for afore mentioned has been created and another section is of the wardrobe, costumes of other men, women and children of Hyderabad have been highlighted.

Thus, the Nizam’s museum is one extraordinary museum which takes us all the way to lifestyles of the Nizams. We have so far heard the stories of their luxury and sophistication but this museum engages us into imagining the life of the people who once used to live here and were accustomed to the life the museum so far displays. I bet it must be breath-taking.

Address Purani Haveli, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002

Contact 040 2452 1029

Opening Hours 10AM-5PM

Website http://www.hehnmh.com/

 


Therefore, these cultural museums out numerous others in India showcase the history and the unique culture and lifestyles of people who have lived and done so much in the and for the country. It’s a must to visit these museums and explore all that it has to offer us. The exposure of cultures and traditions of India that these museums gives us would definitely leave us spellbound and it would generate a new love and respect in our heart for our nation.

The mega diversity of India and its culture and traditions has drawn attraction from all over the world and will keep doing so. However the job of preserving and presenting the history of some extraordinary and exquisite culture of India has been done by copious museums in India. So far the blog talks about four unique and very interesting cultural museums of India which are for sure to leave you spell bound.