By Kiran Das
The centuries old Vaisnava Dance Tradition of Sri Jagannath Puri
Gotipua, the Oriya etymon of which literally means âGotiâ = âsingleâ & âPuaâ = âBoyâ. As the name indicates this sacred dance is performed only by boys dressed up as girls.
The amazing history of this dance dates up to the time of Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
Since many centuries as a customary practice in the Chandan Yatra festival of Puri, the Supreme Lord Sri Jagannath would always go out on procession along with His supreme devotee Lord Shiva in between the assembly of demigods. And at that time, as a tradition, the Devadasis of the Sri Mandir would also come to dance before Lord Jagannath for His pleasure.
When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (who was Lord Jagannath himself assuming the form of His devotee) saw this, He desired them (the Devadasis) to dance in front of Lord Shiva as well, during the entire occasion, but unfortunately the priests objected to it. They objected because the Devadasis were females and by nature they could not maintain purity continually for a period of 21 days, especially since Lord Shiva was among those demigods.
Hence Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as an alternative advised the King of Puri to bring in small boys for the purpose. He said — let the boys dance instead of girls, since boys were pure in all respects.
That was when, for the first time, the King of Puri ordered his subjects to set up gymnasiums for training Gotipuas (or small dancing boys).
Normally the Gotipuas dress up them selves as girls to sing and dance in the rhythm of ancient classical vaisnava music meant for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord Jagannath. Their songs depict various stories from the great historical puranas as well as the Rasa leela pastimes of the Lord with the Gopis in Vrindavan.
This dance form historically represents the magnificence of the most glorious vaisnava culture of Orissa.
It was flourishing strongly during the medieval period and had spread as a great part of the rich temple culture of Puri. They were earlier sponsored by the feudal land lords in the remote rural areas of Orissa, but slowly later after the decline of feudalism, the temples, monasteries, gymnasiums and feudal zamindars could no longer sponsor this tradition anymore.
The tradition was almost dead during the last century. But now providentially it has once again been revived and is slowly regaining its forgotten vitality for the pleasure and services of the Supreme Lord Jagannath.
Baba Gorekhnath Gotipua Dance association is now making an attempt to revive this lost dance tradition of Jagannath Puri.
The dance has similarities with Odissi (In fact, it is the original dance form from where todayâs Odissi had originated) performed by male Children dressed up as beautiful girls. These children are acrobats. And the (Bandha Nrtya) acrobatic dance is its greatest attraction.
It’s worth watchingâŠâŠâŠa wonderful classical entertainment for all.
You can watch the video Documentary below:
This group is ready to come and perform abroad during festive occasions.
For more information, please contact
Baba Ghoreknath Gotipua dance associationâ
Kiran Das (Managing Director): Mob.Ph.No: +91 9937524954,
Email add: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com