Bhagavata Mela: My Tryst with Tradition
By Indumati Raman
Indus Source Books, Mumbai, 2018
ISBN: 978-93-85509-08-7, Price 1200
As graphically described by the author at the outset, deep in the interior of Thanjavur district lies a small village, Melattur, redolent with traditions of rituals, dance, music and theatre. The male Brahmin priests of the local temple of Sri Varadaraja Perumal perform classical dance of Bhagavata Mela to pure Carnatic music, enacting various divine stories of Vishnu. The dance's unique feature is that all artistes are male, including the dancers for female roles, keeping alive a 500-year-old heritage carried across generations.
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