Dances of Puri

Dances of Puri form an integral part of the folk culture of Puri. The ancient culture of Puri has some of the most expressive forms of dance such as Odissi, Mahari, etc.


Odissi, one of the classical dances of Orissa, is said to have originated in the temples of Orissa. The temples of Puri is said to have a separate enclosure, known as Nata Mandira, for the development of the dance forms. Odissi is a classical dance that is based on the day-to-day activities of the people of Orissa. The theme of the Odissi dance of Puri is the infinite love between Lord Krishna and Radha. One can get a taste of the Odissi dance at the Konark Beach Festival.

The Odissi dance of Orissa incorporates Nrutya and Natya. Some of the distinct features of its repertoire are:
  • Stheyee Nrutya
  • Moksa Nrutya
  • Pallavi
  • Mangacharana
  • Abhinaya
History of Puri proves that there was a tradition of dedicating dancing girls to the temples. These dancing girls were known as 'Devdasi', who dedicated their lives to serve the Gods. The Devadasis were employed at the Jagannath temple during the rule of Chodagangadeva. Anangabhimadeva is said to have built a Natyamandapa at the Jagannath temple. The Natyamandapa were made for the performances of the Maharis.

In Orissa, one can come across two types of Maharis, such as Bahara Gani Maharis and Bhitara Gani Mahari. The Bahara Gani Mahari used to perform in the Natyamandapa of the Jagannath temple; whereas the Bhitara Gani Mahari has the permission to enter the innermost parts of the temple.

Furthermore, the dances of Puri consist of a number of folk dances. Some of the folk dances of Orissa are:
  • Gotipua dance
  • Ghoda nacha
  • Daskathia Bhalunach
  • Naga and Medha dance
  • Navrang
  • Pala
  • Dhudki
For more information on the dances of Puri, click on the following links:

Last Updated on : 22/06/2013