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Updated by Nivedita Ramakrishnan on Aug 24, 2014
Headline for 10 Indian Folk Arts
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10 Indian Folk Arts

Local artistic forms of all countries are perhaps the most exquisite customs ever! Here are a few from India which are absolutely brilliant, whose roots are as pure as a folk art could be.

Dollu Kunitha

"Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka accompanied by singing. It provides both spectacular variety and complexity of skills in the process of demonstration."


"Karakattam ( Tamil: karakam (water pot dance)) is an ancient folk dance of Tamil Nadu performed in praise of the rain goddess Mariamman. The performers balance the water pot on their head very beautifully."


"The dance has its origins in southern Tamil Nadu and is primarily performed in Madurai district, Tirunelveli district and Tiruchirapalli district.[2] It was traditionally a dance where a few men would stand in a row and perform rhythmic steps to the musical accompaniment, with the number of dancers increasing; over the past ten years women have also started performing this dance."

Poikkal Kuthirai Aattam

"The dancer bears the dummy figure of a horse's body on his/her hips. This is made of light-weighted materials and the cloth at the sides swings to and fro covering the legs of the dancer. The dancer dons wooden legs which sound like the hooves of the horse."

Villu Paatu

"Villu Paatu or 'Bow Song' as translated in English, also known as Villadichampattu and Villuppattu is an ancient form of musical story-telling where narration is interspersed with music, art of South Kerala and Kanyakumari district and in Thovalai of Tamil Nadu."


"Yakshagana is a theater form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form. This theater style, resembling Western opera, is mainly found in the coastal districts and the Malenadu region of India. Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn."


"Kolattam is an ancient village art. This is mentioned in Kanchipuram as 'Cheivaikiyar Kolattam', which proves its antiquity. This is performed by women only, with two sticks held in each hand, beaten to make a rhythmic sound. Pinnal Kolattam is danced with ropes which the women hold in their hands, the other of which are tied to a tall pole. With planned steps, the women skip over each other, which forms intricate lace-like patterns in the ropes."


"Kathakali is a stylized classical Indian dance- drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion."


"Kamsale is a unique folk art performed by the devotees of God Mahadeshwara. The artists in the Kamsale group vary from three to eight. If the Kamsale is accompanied by songs, the number of artists will be from 8 to 12."




"Kummi is a folk dance, popular in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India, danced mostly by Tamil women in circle. In some places, it is very simple, with rhythmic clapping. In other places dancers imitate various harvesting activities."