Orissa News

Ghoda Nacha: Dummy Horse Dance of Orissa

Ghoda Nacha: The dummy horse dance form of Orissa

Chaitighoda Nacha (Horse dance in the month of Chitra) is a folk dance of Orissa connected with the Sakti cult of coastal regions and confined to the people of Kaibarta(fishermen) community only. This festival is observed for eight days by the Kaibartas in the month of Chaitra from the full moon day of Vaisakha in honor of their caste deity Vasuli Devi which is a goddess possessing the head of horse.

A well-decorated horse head is attached to the trunk built of bamboos. A man enters through the hole kept for the purpose behind its neck. He holds the reins of the horse and dances. The horse moves forward and backward along with the man. He dances to the tune of Dhola and Mahuri accompanied by the songs composed by the local poets. The dancing party consists of two dancers, one male and one female (a male in female attire), a drummer and a piper. The Kaibarta song of Achutananda Das, (one of the poets of Pancha Sakha group flourished in the 16th century) is believed to be only religious text of the Kaibartas.

The Goddess Vasuli who is also the ruling deity of the Kaibarta community, is held in high esteem .Here it may be mentioned that the shrines of Goddess Vasuli are spread across Orissa, but is considered to be the oldest in Puri where the King of Puri has set out land for regular worship of the deity. Vasuli Devi in many places is taken to be one of the manifestations of the Durga and one of sixty-four Yoginis. The horse dance is very popular and attracts a large audience. The performing group consists of three main characters- Rauta, Rautani and the horse dancer, besides the drummer and the piper. The songs rendered in the shows consist of the mythological episodes. Rautani is Rauta's co-dancer and co-singer