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Ghanta Patua

The Ghanta Patua dance is a popular folk dance from the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) from the Eastern part of India. It is a very peculiar performing art for folk as it combines aspects like acrobatics, Yoga, difficult time signatures and dramatic effects.

The time in the cusp of March and April comes the Chaitra month of the Indian Lunar calendar. During this time, the goddess of motherhood, who is called by many names and worshiped in many forms, is specifically celebrated all over Odisha. The Ghanta Patua dance is performed during this time by the men from the community of the same name. This is a community of temple servants, many subgroups serving at different temples honoring different deities. They are usually considered a lower caste and stay at the temples except during the festival of the goddess, when they form small teams of four or five people and flood the streets of almost every village, city and town in the state. Over the period of the month, they perform the Ghanta Patua dances in the streets and collect food grains and money as alms from their patrons.

Dance Form

One may call the Ghanta Patua extremely acrobatic, almost Yogic. The lead dancer is a man who is dressed like a woman, all in black clothes and carrying a decorated ‘Ghata’ or an earthen pot on his head. A long wire is then suspended across two poles over which the lead dancer is balanced, who in turn balances the vessel on his head and at the same time performing impossible postures and stances. The accompanying men plat the music with varying tempo and rhythm with odd timing. No songs are sung during the performance. After the performance, the leader distributes the holy red color of vermillion among the audiences as the Mother goddess’s blessing and the audience give him money or food, as they see fit.

Musical Instruments

The name Ghanta Patua comes from the chief instrument that is the sound of the dance music:

Ghanta: It is a brass bell that is used in temples all over India that produces a ringing sound.

Dhol: This popular instrument in Indian folk art is the South Indian vresion that has a higher bass range.


The Ghanta Patua is an integral part of the lives of the people of Odisha. It also serves the role of a unique cultural heritage of the people in addition to it still being popular form of entertainment in the rural areas.


The Ghanta Patua does not have any standard forms of variations. It is practically same all over the state.

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