Puppet Forms in India; Notes for UPSC Art and Culture

Some scholars believe that the puppetry art tradition is more than thousands of years old. One finds its reference in many folk tales, ballads, and sometimes even in folk songs. This article will talk about the various puppet forms in India.

Almost all types of puppets are found in India. Puppetry throughout the ages has held an important place in traditional entertainment. Like traditional theatre, themes for puppet theatre are mostly based on epics and legends. Puppets from different parts of the country have their own identity. Regional styles of painting and sculpture are reflected in them.

Learn in detail about the Forms of String Puppets in India at the linked article.

Aspirants would find this topic very helpful in the IAS Exam and questions based on the same may be asked in the upcoming UPSC CSE prelims.

What are the different types of puppets used in India?

There are 4 major different types of puppets used in India. The types of puppets and the respective states where it is used are given below:

  • Glove Puppets – 3 different types
    1. PavaKoothu – Kerala
    2. Sakhi Kundhei Nata – Orissa 
    3. Beni Putul – Bengal

Read in detail about the Glove Puppet Forms in India at the linked article.

  • Rod Puppets – 3 different types
    1. Putul Nach – West Bengal
    2. Kathi Kandhe – Orissa
    3. Yampuri – Bihar

Refer to the linked article to know more about the Rod Puppet Forms in India.

  • Shadow Puppets – 6 different types
    1. Tholu Bommalata – Andhra Pradesh
    2. Togalu Gombeyata – Karnataka
    3. Tolpavakoothu – Kerala
    4. Chamadyache Bahulya – Maharashtra
    5. Ravanachhaya – Orissa
    6. Thol Bommalattam – Tamil Nadu
  • String Puppets – 6 different types
    1. Putal Nach – Assam
    2. Gombeyatta – Karnataka
    3. Kalasutri Bahulya – Maharashtra
    4. Gopalila Kundhei – Orissa
    5. Kathputli – Rajasthan
    6. Bommalattam – Tamil Nadu

Learn more on how you can tackle Art and Culture for the UPSC Exam, by visiting the linked article.

UPSC 2021

What do you mean by a Puppet?

A doll or a figure controlled by a person so that it appears to be moving on its own is called a puppet.

Why is Puppetry Art Dying?

There are various reasons for it.

  1. Lack of patronage in the modern age.
  2. Competition from Electronic media, which is a preferred mode of entertainment. People find it more appealing to watch mythological stories of Ramayan and Mahabharata on electronic media rather than in Puppetry.
  3. Puppetry Art is usually confined to only devotional and mythological stories.
  4. With changing times, Puppetry does not take up modern social issues.
  5. Puppetry lacks modernization in terms of script, lighting, sound and other stage effects.

Who made the first Puppets?

Puppetry as an art form is believed to be more than 3000 years old. The earliest puppets probably originated in Egypt. Puppets made of ivory and clay were discovered in tombs. Even ancient Greek Scholars like Aristotle and Plato had mentioned Puppets as early as 422 B.C.

Puppet Forms in India:- Download PDF Here

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