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String Puppet

Jama Masjid - Delhi

Famous String Puppet Show in Delhi

Puppetry is an ancient form of visual art that involves the manipulation of various kinds of puppets. It is believed that puppetry evolved around 30,000 years B.C ago. Puppetry shows which are perfomed in the various parts of the world has one thing in common. They involves storytelling and performed mostly during any rituals or any celebrations such as carnival.

Of late, puppetry has developed as a strong medium of mass communication. This traditional art form is very useful in spreading knowledge about various vital issues which are difficult to spread through inter personal communication. Within the limitu of small budget and resorces , this traditional form odf art can create magic and can handle a complex issue in a simple manner. It is the least restricted art and does not bother about form, design, color and movement.
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History Of Puppetry In India
India has a rich tradition of puppetry. It is beleived that around 5th century B.C puppetry art has evolved in India. Most puppetry involves storytelling and performed mostly during any rituals or any celebrations such as carnival. Most of the earlier puppetry shows includes the stories related to great Indian rulers, princes and heroes and also some political satire. Even some religious stories from Ramayana and Mahabharta are also performed through puppetry in India, mostly in the Southern Indian states. Previously, useful messages of Panchatantra are also conveyed with the help of puppetry.

Forms of Puppet
Many Indian states has a strong hold over this ancient form of entertainment. For instance, Rajasthan, Orissa,West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. All these states used different types of forms of puppetry. There are mainly five different forms of puppetry that are available in India.

Shadow Puppet
Orissa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are some of the Indian states which are famous for their shadow puppet shows. In these shows, flat puppets which are cutout of leather, are operated against the backside of a tightly stretched white cloth screen with a light behind it. This light helps the audiences to see the shadow of the puppets on the screen. Traditional shadow puppets are 2-dimensional and are made of animal skin. The puppets are treated to make translucent and attached with split bamboo or cane sticks, vertically to the puppet for handling and manipulation. The puppets are pressed against the screen and manipulated for the performance.

String Puppet
Kathputli Show in Rajasthan, String Puppets or marionettes are another form of puppets that are available in India. These String Puppets has jointed body and limbs which allow them to move. String Puppets are made of wood, or wire, or cloth stuffed with cotton, rags or saw dust. Puppeteers manipulate these puppets with two to five Strings which are normally tied to their fingers. They manipulate these puppets by operating the control as well as by loosening or pulling the relevant String. String Puppets still survives in Rajasthan, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

String-Rod Puppet
String-rod Puppets are basically belongs to the TamilNadu and Karnataka. This form of puppetry uses both String and rod to manipulate the puppets. Since traditional String Puppets are very heavy to handle, so, two rods are attached to the hands of the puppets for additional manipulation.

Glove Puppet
The glove or sleeve or hand or palm puppets all are same. The glove puppets are small figure having head and arms with a long skirt as part of its costume. The puppeteer wears the puppet like a glove and fits the index finger into the hollow head of the puppet. The middle finger and the thumb fit into the two hollow hands of the puppet. With the help of index finger, middle finger and thumb finger, glove puppets comes alive. One puppeteer can manipulate two puppets in his two hands at a time. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Kerala are famous all over India for the glove puppet shows.

Rod Puppet
Rod Puppet Show As the name suggests, rod puppets are supported and manipulated by rods of various types and sizes. Rod puppets are considered as the extension of glove puppets. In rod puppets, the action of the rods are covered in many ways. The main holding rod which supports the puppet may be concealed by the robe or costume of the puppet. The action rods are connected to the hands of the puppet and manipulated by the puppeteer to show action. Till date, rod puppet shows are prevalent in the states of West Bengal and Orissa.
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Puppetry in Rajasthan
Beside its alluring monuments of royal era, Rajasthan is also famous for its colorful puppet shows which is locally known as Kathputli ka khela. In accordance to its name, wooden puppets are mainly used in Rajasthan. According to a legend, puppetry art has emerged in Rajasthan during the reign of Raja Vikramaditya of Ujjain. The first play was made on the life and achievements of the king Vikramaditya.

Traditional puppeteers, known as Kathputlis or putli-wallahs, originally belongs to Bhat community of Naguar area of Marwar region in Rajasthan. They are basically agricultural laborers who emerged in the 19th century, travels from one village to another and performs stories with the help of String Puppets along with the beats of dholak and local folk music. These shows are mostly performed during the late evenings.

Gradually, the demand for kathputlis has reduced a lot. Although, some regions of Rajasthan such as Lunicha, Kuchaman and Khakholi, on the eastern boundary of the great Thar Desert, still very well maintains the lively tradition of kathputli.

Myths For Puppet Shows
In the ancient time, people used to believed that puppet shows are an useful medium to get rid off evil spirits. Also they assumed that these shows will bring rain and prosperity in the lives of the villagers.

Occasion for puppet shows
No festival or fair or social gathering in Rajasthan is completed without puppet shows. These puppet shows are really very charming and have the ability to mesmerize you by their simplicity. If you want to view some colorful puppet shows than you must try to attend some famous fairs or festivals of Rajasthan like Pushkar Fair, Desert Fair or Summer festival or Teej Festival etc.

Tourist Spots where Puppet Shows are organised
String Puppet Kathputli Show in Rajasthan , Today, this rich heritage of Rajasthan is on the verge of extinction due to emergence of other forms of entertainment. Of late, Rajasthan government has realized the importance of this dying art form and has taken some valuable measures to revive puppetry in the state. The government has opened many puppetry theaters in the state and also it organizes puppet shows on the regular basis in the country side of the state.

Even several luxurious heritage hotels of Rajasthan also organises some spectacular puppetry shows in their premises to provide a slice of Rajasthani folklore to its guests. Another famous tourist spot in Rajasthan where you can witness a splendid show of puppetry is Chowkhi Dhani.

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Nearby Cities
Khajuraho, Varanasi, Haridwar, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mathura

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