Puppetry

Brahma

This shadow puppet of Lord Brahma is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Brahma is one of the Holy Trinity in the Hindu Pantheon. Here he is depicted with three visible heads and four arms holding the scriptures in one hand. He also wears a yellow… Read more »

Matsya Vallabha

This shadow puppet of Matsya Vallabha is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Matsya Vallabha in Valmiki’s Ramayana is the son of Hanuman. When Hanuman was flying across the sea after burning Lanka with his tail, a drop of sweat fell into the water which was… Read more »

Lankadhipati Ravana

This shadow puppet of Ravana is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. In Valmiki’s Ramayana, Ravana is portrayed as an opposition to Rama; the evil against the good. Ravana is a devout worshipper of Shiva. Apart from his physical characteristics, he is said to possess in-depth… Read more »

Ganapathi

This shadow puppet of Lord Ganesha is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Every Tholu Bomalaata performance starts with offering a prayer to Lord Ganesha asking for his blessings. He is an important deity in the Hindu Pantheon and is regarded as the remover of obstacles… Read more »

Bangarakka

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

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 »

Tholu Bommalaata: Dog-Lion Hybrid

This is a figure used in Tholu Bommalaata performances, Andhra’s shadow-puppetry tradition. The figure here is a hybrid with the head of a dog, complete with a leash around the neck, and the limbs and the lower body of a tiger or a lion. Except for the more recognisable forms, say of gods and goddesses,… Read more »

Tholu Bommalata: Hanuman and Lankini

Tholu Bommalata tradition of shadow puppetry dates back to 12th century Andhra Pradesh; in Telugu, tholu is hide or leather and bommalata means ‘dance of the dolls’. Gleaming through the screen in night-long performances, these puppets are used to narrate stories from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Tholu Bommalata performances often weave bits of popular… Read more »

A Play of Shadows

Witness a magical storytelling performance of Tholubommalaata and let your imagination take flight as the evening light suffuses the stage and the colourful leather puppets are seized with a fierce energy