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             Puppets - Rajasthan


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Introduction of Puppets

Kathputli is a string puppet performance and is an ancient and well-known form of folk entertainment. A Kathputli basically means a puppet made of wood. Kathputli dance and performance is one of the major tourist attractions of Rajasthan. The string puppets of Rajasthan are famous as kathputhlis in the local language and the main centres where they are prepared are Jaipur and Jodhpur. The Bhatt community makes these puppets as well as performs with them from village to village during the dry season when cultivation is not possible.

The puppets are usually two feet in height having a wooden head with a huge nose and large eyes. The rest of the body is prepared of colourful and bright pieces of cloth and stuffed clothes which also allow for free movement. Unless they are horse riders, the puppets have no legs but are covered with a long pleated skirt. The puppet has a long thread for the head which reaches the manipulator and then joins the middle";" the threads from the two hands of the puppet are tied to the hands of the manipulator.

The costumes are regional and traditional while the themes that are performed turn around Rajasthani historical tales or local traditions. A few characters and items like the court dancer, stunt horse rider, and snake charmer, are a necessary.The puppeteers who make these puppets and perform with them belong to the traveling Bhatt communities who have been performing for thousands of years.

These string puppets are generally prepared from mango wood and are without hands and legs. Long Skirts cover the lower half of the puppet and is not attached to the strings. The hands are filled with cloth and cotton. The wooden face is hand painted with large eyes and other decorations are added to the face and the neck. While the upper portion of the female puppet is dressed in the choli and odhni, the male puppets are dresses in achkan and long kurtas, taking motivation from the Rajput Dressing Style. The vivid colors- green, orange, blue, and yellow- add to the attraction and inducement of the kathputli dance. These colorful puppets can be seen on all tourist destinations and be used as ornamental pieces to decorate your houses. They are cost effective and make excellent gifts.

Puppet Shows

Puppetry is a very old and popular form of folk entertainment. India has a mixed and rich heritage in puppetry. Puppetry is considered as the most significant of all dramatic forms. In India, puppet troupes are found in states like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka. The paper puppets and string puppets are famous in Rajasthan. Andhra Pradesh is well-known for Shadow puppets.Working the edge between entertainment and education, puppets can both teach and persuade Puppets have been a flexible means of communication artistic expression, and instruction for 2,000 years. Their innovative potential is just waiting to be used to help communities grow and change.

There are different types of puppetry shows in India. Some are glove puppets, some are rod puppets, some puppetry shows use string and rod puppets and last but not the least is the shadow puppets. Puppetry is more famous as a rural folk art than it is in urban areas however nowadays puppetry is getting its due appreciation in the cities too. Puppetry shows generally show different episodes from the well-known Indian epics of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. Since puppets are characters and not people puppet shows can be used to extend social message on responsive issues like family planning, and female literacy.

Medium of Entertain and Education

Puppets can work the edge between entertainment and information. They line up along with drama, drumming, storytelling, and dance as art forms that can also teach and persuade. The entertainment comes first. It draws us in, and once we have lost ourselves in the world the puppets create, we accept the message without even realizing that we are learning. Lessons learned in this way are more likely to learn and remember and it becomes part of knowledge. Puppets are equally at home in cities and villages. They can perform in the street or in local theatres and convey messages on immunization, sanitation or nutrition with humour and style.

Puppet shows are among the most effective means of communicating health messages, Puppet research in India confirms this thing. The puppets are becoming more successful in country after country as puppeteers are discovering new messages and new audiences. Those who join hands with puppets today are signing up with a winning and fast-growing universal movement.


Puppetry in Rajasthan

The puppets in Rajasthan are one of the well-known sources of amusement in the state. The art of puppetry is practiced by a society of agricultural laborers of Rajasthan. Known as the Bhats, these people have been connected with Rajasthani string puppetry to carry forward their traditional profession. Originally they belong, to the Nagaur area in the Marwar region, they travel all over the country to show their talent. Also known by the name of the "kathputliwalas", they usually perform the puppet shows during the late evenings.

There are a number of wooden dummy dolls in the puppet shows that are dressed up in bright and color clothes. These puppets are attached with strings that the puppeteer uses to move them around. A small stage is set up with the help of a small bed that is laid by length. The puppeteer turns his puppets over a line attached to the upper legs of the beds. The beds are enclosed with sheets in order to hide the puppeteer from the view of the public. He moves the jointed arms of the puppets with the help of strings connected to each of them.

A small stage is set for the show where puppeteers show puppetry & tell the story. In the presentation, music or narrative song plays a vital role as the whole performance is based upon the narrative song. The puppets are fixed on stage. It describes historic stories, replay tales of love, and contain much shouting and high-pitched sound as the puppet turn around circularly and move excitedly at the time of performance. Sometimes, the puppeteer makes use of different sound effects to attain the actuality impact & give a worth amusement. The puppeteer shows all his skills to make puppets dance on his tunes. Loud beats on the dholak (a kind of drum) declare the starting of the puppet show. There is shouting and whistling by the puppeteers throughout the show. The shows, generally lasts for about one hour.The Puppet show are enjoyed by people belonging to all the age groups. The show of Kathputli of Rajasthan is performed during fairs and festival occasions.


                               Puppets of Rajasthan                                   Rajasthani Puppets
                                  Rajasthani Puppets                                  Puppets of Rajasthan
                             Rajasthani Dolls                                Puppets of Rajasthan

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