Puppets of India: Putala Nach from Assam

in Module
Published on: 25 October 2016

The string puppetry of Assam is called Putala Nach and is performed in three areas with distinct characteristics. In Lower Assam, the form is known as Putala-Bhoariya and influenced by the popular folk form Bhoariya. In some areas of Lower Assam, the puppetry is influenced by another folk form, Bhaona, and is also known as Putala-Bhaona. The 15th-century social reformer and saint-poet Sankaradev used various performing arts to spread Vaishnavism, and fused many folk forms, one of them being puppetry. The second place is Majuli island (Upper Assam), where small wooden puppets are used, in the style of the Ankia Nat form developed by Sankaradev. The third area is Kalaigaon of Darrang district (North Assam) where puppeteers use Bangla, Assamese and Karbi songs in their performances and borrow largely from the mobile theatre of Assam (Bhraymaman) in terms of themes and costumes.