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Kirtan

kirtan in Puri

Kirtan is the congregational chanting of God's Holy Names. Usually there is a leader who sings solo the name or phrase, then the participants repeat in unison. The most traditional form of Kirtan is done with just the mrdanga , kartals and the harmonium. A gift of the Bhakti yoga and Sri Chaitabya Mahaprabhu in particular, Kirtan is a daily affair in the life of most people in Orissa. It is done with the purpose of worshiping Lord Shiva or Vishnu.The practice involves devotees congregating at the place of worship. The leader of the group or Gayak begins the song with a line of the song. The entire group follows next repeating the same with uninterrupted precision followed by the beats of mrdanga and cymbals. The songs are repetitive and lyrical.

Practiced in most temples and villages along the coastal Orissa, Kirtans are more of a spiritual practice that opens the devotee or the performer to the highest state of his being with singing as the medium. It is basically an ecstatic meditation in which the participant/the singer celebrate the divine qualities of existence by chanting Lords name.