Classical Dances of India- Odissi

Classical dance forms of India are an important part of the art and culture segment of the UPSC syllabus. In this article, you will read about the dance form Odissi for the IAS exam.

Aspirants can find information on the structure and other important details related to the IAS Exam, in the linked article.


Odissi - Indian Classical Dance

Odissi Artist

Odissi is a classical India dance form and it originates from the state of Odisha. It is a sensuous and lyrical dance form. Considered a dance of love, it touches on the human and the divine aspects of life. It also touches on the subtleties of life, as well as the mundane.

Odissi can be traced back to a dance style called the Odhra Magadha. This is mentioned as the southeastern style of classical dance, and one of the many varieties of dance in the Natya Shastra.

There is 2nd-century archaeological evidence of Odissi in the caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri near the city of Bhubaneswar. There is evidence of the continuing tradition of this dance form from the second to the tenth century AD in the form of Buddhist sculptures, Nataraja, tantric images, celestial dancers and musicians in ancient Shaivite temples.

Odissi is a very stylized Indian dance and to some degree depends on the established Natya Shastra and the Abhinaya Darpana.

Odissi nearly takes after the principles set around the Natya Shastra. Outward appearances, hand signals and body developments are utilized to propose a specific feeling, a feeling or one of the nine rasas.

The procedures of development are worked around the two essential stances of the Chowk and the Tribhanga. The chowk is a position emulating a square – an exceptionally manly position with the heaviness of the body similarly adjusted. The tribhanga is an extremely feminine position where the body is diverted at the neck, middle and the knees.


The female artists wear brilliantly hued sari typically made of neighbourhood silk decorated with conventional and nearby plans.

Instruments and Music

The one of a kind element of this dance form is that it fuses Indian ragas, both from south and north that demonstrate the exchange of ideas and execution expressions between the two sections of India.

The melodic instruments incorporate tabla, pakhawaj, harmonium, cymbals, violin, woodwind, sitar and Swarmandal.


Candidates can find the general pattern of the UPSC Exams by visiting the UPSC Syllabus 2020 page.

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