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Culture of Andhra Pradesh

Dances of Andhra Pradesh


Kuchipudi, one of the four classical dance forms of natya shastra, owes its name and existence to a small village on the Krishna belt in Andhra Pradesh called Kuchipudi. It is a consequent result of the Bhakti Andolan during the 6th century. In the 7th century, Siddhendra Yogi, one of the Kuchipudi's original exponents, took a group of village boys and trained them, to present a dance-drama and purposely elevated this dance-drama performance which became a tradition. The exponents of this dance need to be well versed in dance, mime, music and song. Apart from being a good dancer and an actor, he/she needs to have fine knowledge of the languages like Sanskrit and Telugu.

Kuchipudi is played under the night sky on makeshift ramps. The main role played in these dance dramas is the choreographer who keeps the whole show under a tight grip and infuses a continuity by his showmanship. Its fast paced nature has propelled this dance form into renowned art drama.

Andhra Natyam 

Andhra Natyam is an ancient lasya dance tradition performed by female dance artistes of Andhra Pradesh for the last two thousand years in Bouddha Aaramas, Temples, Courts of Maharajahs and in public places for the common people. This art is the spiritual expression of the Telugu people and another unique dance form of this state. Nava Janaardana Parijatam is an episode from the divine life of Lord Krishna, the Blue God and his spouse Satyabhama.


'Tholubommalata', a shadow puppetry theatre is a fascinating folk art. Ornamentally painted leather puppets locally referred to as �Tholubommalu� take the form of mythological characters from the two renowned epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The inanimate characters are handled with bamboo sticks against a magnificent lamplit background.


This is the dance of Lord Shiva, who outraged at the humiliation meted out to Sati Devi, his first wife, picked a relic out of his Jata-Jhuta (hair) and created Veerabadhra. The Veeramusti community which claims to be the descendents of Veerabadhra, perform this vigorous dance with instruments like Thambura, Soolam, Dolu, Thasha and Veernam usually at Draksharamam in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. This place is believed to be Dakshawatika, the birth place of Veerabhadra.

Butta Bommalu

The dance of Masks. A typical folk dance form, popular in Tanuku of West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. Butta Bommalu which literally means Basket toys are made of woodhusk, dry grass and cow dung. Each dancer wears a different mask over the head and shoulders enlarging the scope of the performer and dances to a nonverbal rhythm which adds colour to the movements.


The Dappu, a percussion instrument made of goat skin and wood, is a tambourine-like drum which is when played with sticks creates a rhythm that�s softened only by the sound of ankle bells that the 16-20 dancers wear. Part of a Telangana custom which sees the Dappu dancers at the front of any procession, whether it be for Jataras, Festivals or Marriages, this is truly a celebration of the percussion powers of dance.

Chindu Bhagawatham

The dance of Colours and Costumes. This lively art form hails from Nizamabad district. The performers in colourful make up and costumes dance to the musical patterns set by Cymbals, Tabla and Harmonium. Mythological themes are usually enacted and the audience is mostly rural. The applause is however universal.

Tappeta Gullu

The dance of the Rain God. Popular in Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram districts, this is a devotional dance which invokes the Rain God with its vigour, rhythm and tempo. Also performed during festivals, the dance sees 15 � 20 vibrant artists with drums around their necks creating mesmerising beats and heart stopping acrobatics.


This dance is associated with daily tasks like harvesting, planting, sowing, etc. and belongs to the Banjaras, a semi-nomadic tribe seen all over Andhra Pradesh. The Lambadi is performed by the Costumes embroidered with glass beads and mirrors, ornate jewellery, ivory bangles, brass anklets and a natural rhythm makes this dance a colourful exposition of joy which is the highlight of many an occasion.


The dance of the Balancing Pots. The folk festival of Bonalu in the Telangana region brings with it a celebration of colourfully dressed female dancers balancing pots (Bonalu), stepping to the rhythmic beats and tunes in praise of the village deity Mahankali. Male dancers called Potharajus follow the female dancers to the temple lashing whips and emerald margosa leaves tied around their waists adding colour to the roaring trumpets and pulsating percussion.


This tribal dance form of the Hill Tribes sees 15-20 women forming a chain and dancing to the beats of instruments like Mori, Thuduma and Dappu that are played by members. They dance in praise of their local deity.It is generally performed in the local fairs and festivals in Viskhapatnam district. Women attired in typical tribal dresses and ornaments.

Crafts of Andhra Pradesh

Banjara Needle Crafts

This art form belongs to the nomads and gypsies of Andhra Pradesh. The embroidery of this form is live and vibrant. Banjaras in Andhra Pradesh display their colorful lifestyle through their exuberant clothes.

Bidri Craft

This craft belongs to the the city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. It basically involves silver inlay on metal, which is very exquisite. There are many legends related to its entry and exit into the country and then to Andhra Pradesh.

Bronze Castings

The famous bronze idols were based on the verses from the Shilpashastra. These verses were called dhyana. These verses instruct the craftsmen about the physical measurements, proportions, description of the deity, characteristics, symbolism and above all, aesthetics.

Budithi Brassware

The Budithi Brassware originated from a small village called Budithi in central Srikakulam, a district in Andhra Pradesh. This place is famous for creating beautiful shapes out of alloys. These shapes are also available in modern as well as antique style.

Durgi Stone Craft

The famous Durgi stone craft originated in the Durgi. It is situated 10 Kms from Macherla in Andhra Pradesh. There is a school of sculpture and stone carving located here, which imparts this ancient skill. Some of the masterpieces of Durgi Stone Craft is found at the Nagarjunakonda museum.

Kondapalli Toys

The famous Kondapalli toys are made of softwood, known as Tella Poniki. These toys are also made up of sawdust, tamarind seed powder, enamel gums and watercolors. After the toy is carved on the wood, a paste made of tamarind, wood and sawdust is applied for giving further shapes and attaching limbs etc., to the toy. This art form belongs to the Kondapalli district of Andhra Pradesh.

Lacquer Ware

The Lacquer craft is widely found in Etikoppaka in Andhra Pradesh. This place is one of the major centers of this craft. The Lacquer craft involves the application of lacquer on wood in pleasing shades to create a distinguishing appeal.

Nirmal Arts - Paintings & Toys

The Nirmal art is generally found in the Nirmal town, Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh. Here, many craftsmen known as Nakash reside. They are involved in Niramal arts, in which scenes from the Hindu epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana are painted.

Veena Manufacturing

At Bobbili in Andhra Pradesh, the oldest musical instrument, Saraswati Veena is manufactured. This instrument is even mentioned in almost all ancient texts. It is an integral part of Carnatic music, famous all over the world for its melody and harmony.


The handlooms of Andhra Pradesh are of excellent quality. It is also famous for its fine saris all over the world. Every region of the state has its own style and weave.

Chirala Textiles

The textiles of Chirala are quite famous. The Chirala textile is made by using a large quantity of oil, which is used in preparing yarn for weaving. After the fabric is ready, it is wrapped with wax & clay before being dyed in selected colors .

Dharmavaram Saris

The Dharmavaram in Andhra Pradesh is famous for silk saris all over the world. These saris are specially worn on functions. They have simple, plain borders without much contrast. The borders of these saris are commonly broad having brocaded gold patterns. The borders also have butta and the pallus of the saris have exclusive designs.

Eluru Carpets

The Eluru in Andhra Pradesh is famous for its woolen pile carpet industry. This art from was brought to India by the Persians who migrated to Andhra Pradesh during the Muhammaddin regime. Later, they developed the carpet industry here.

Gadwal Saris

Gadwal located in Andhra Pradesh is famous all over the world for its beautiful saris. The body of the Sari is cotton whereas the border and pallu are in silk. The cotton and silk fabrics are woven separately and then attached together.

Ikat Weaving Handlooms

This is a skill that requires a lot of intricacy. It is a style of weaving, where the yarn is randomly dyed in natural zigzag or geometric patterns. The Ikat weaving originated in Nalgonda district of andhra Pradesh. This internationally acclaimed weaving form, is now practiced mainly in Puttapaka, Pochampalli and Chautuppal villages of Andhra Pradesh.

Mangalagiri Sarees

The Mangalagiri saris and dress materials are made from Mangalgiri cotton, which is quite popular here. Mangalagiri, located 12 Kms from Vijayawada is also an important pilgrimage center in Andhra Pradesh.

Uppada Sarees Handlooms

The Uppada saris are produced in Uppada, a beach town located 20 kms from Kakinada. It is famous for attractively designed cotton saris. At Peddapuram, 20 kms from Kakinada one can buy delicately designed silk saris created by local artisans.


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