Folk Dance of Tamil Nadu – Karagattam Karagam

Karagattam Karagam is a folk dance with musical accompaniment. Balancing a water pot on the head the dancer performs. Traditionally, the villagers in praise of the rain goddess Mari Amman and river goddess, Gangai Amman, performed this dance with water pots balanced on their heads. In Sangam literature, this dance is mentioned as Kudakoothu. This dance has two parts, the Aatta Karagam and the Shakti Karagam. More often it is danced with decorated pots on the head and is known as Aatta Karagam and this symbolises joy and merriment. Aatta Karagam is performed only in temples, while the Shakti Karagam is mainly entertainment. Karagattam is one of the more popular rural dances today. Earlier it was performed only with accompaniment of the Naiyandi Melam but now it includes songs also.

The Karagam was once performed for mulaipari ceremony. The dancer carried a pot of sprouted grains on his/her head and danced, balancing it through intricate steps and body/arm movements. Today, the pots have transformed from mud pots to bronzeware and even stainless steel pots. The pots are placed one on top on the other, ranging in size to resemble a narrow triangle and they are decorated with flowers, and topped by a paper parrot. The parrot rotates as the dancer moves and swerves. This dance is very popular all over State, though it is said tohave begun in Thanjavur. Most Karagam artistes hail from Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Thirunelveli, Pattukottai and Salem. An individual or two persons can perform this dance. Both male and female performers participate and acrobatics similar to that of a circus are included. They range from dancing on a rolling block of wood, to going up and down a ladder, and the more intricate and absorbing feats like threading a needle while bending backwards with the pots still resting on the head and many others.

Leave a Comment