Leather puppets


This is a shadow puppet of Bangarakka, a comic character from Tholu Bommalaata, shadow puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India.  Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Bangarakka, a female comic, and her husband Ketigadu are popular jesters best known for their witty and humorous dialogues during the performance of… Read more »

Tholu Bommalaata

The Sarmaya guide to the shadow puppetry traditions that peaked during the reign of the Vijayanagara empire in southern India

Comic Relief

To balance the solemnity of narrating episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Tholu artists like to bring in some laughs with the help of these trusty sidekicks

Tholu Bommalaata

A Tholu Bommalaata performer pours their whole person into not telling, but showing you a story. Their hands cut, cure and craft the leather puppets. Their strong voices send the epics soaring into the night air. Every muscle in their body, from the arms working the figures to the toes beating out a rhythm on… Read more »