Famous String Puppet Show in DelhiIntroduction
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.
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
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.
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
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 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.
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
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.
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.