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Shree Rama Leela – The Folk Drama Theater of Odisha Which Promotes Hinduism #Odisha #FolkDance by Laxmi Narayan Pattnaik

           Rama Leela, a very popular theatrical performance of Odisha as elsewhere in India, being religious in character retains all its religious significance. The theme of the performance is derived from Ramayana . In some places the performers use masks and there are others who do not use them.

On the basis of availability of vast mass of Rama literature in palmleaf manuscripts, iconography representation of Rama andhis associates on the temple walls, presence of Hanuman images in various sacred places, the popularity of Ramayana in folk and sophisticated society, give a clear indication of continuity of the tradition of Ramalila. Lanka Podi is also a Part of Ramalila Folk Dance , which is celebrated in Daspalla , Nayagarh .

                     The form of performance as we notice in the coastal belt of Odisha, is as old as other folk performances. Of course, in the present day performance many other items of Jatra have been incorporated to gain a mass appeal.

                 Rama is one of the many popular figures and deities in Hinduism. Most of the details about the life of Shree-Rama come from the “Ramayan” a great Indian epic. Rama is known as “Maryada Purusottam” an inspirational figure to people across the Indian sub-continent. Shree-Ramaleela is a folk theatre performed across the country in numerous local languages. In Odisha, this festival is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March-April), sukla-paksha navami, the day of Rama’s birthday. This is a culture of Odisha in the social and religious life of people.

                        Mangalajodi is an olden village under Tangi block in Khurda district, where some rites and rituals which reflect the importance of Rama katha. On the eve of the “Shree-Rama Nvami” festival, the people of this village performed the story of Ramayan. Shree-Ramaleela folk theatre consisted in seven parts (Sata Kanda) of “Ramayan” and has been the subject of art, culture, music and dances etc. Wood masks of Banara sena and Asura sena use by the actors of the folk theatre to perform the story of Shree-Ramaleela. “Agnee Parikshya and Ramavisheka Utschab” is the last day play of Shree-Ramaleela folk theatre.

 Shree-Ramaleela folk theatre is a most important aspect, not only in village Mangalajodi but also in Odisha cultures and re interpreted many categories of people in their local imagination.

                                                                                                                              (Article written by, Laxmi Narayan Pattnaik,Mangalajodi, Khordha)