Bhagavatha Mela is a form of dance-drama performed in the temples at Melatur in Thanjavur District
. This performance is held during the annual Narasimha Jayanti festival in May-June. It is primarily devoted to the worship of Lord Vishnu
. Bhagavatha Mela had its origins in the Natyamela tradition, dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva
Bhagavatha Mela is performed in a graceful form, avoiding any violent scenes, accompanied with instrumental music and smooth vocals. Dialogues, with stress on pronunciations, and suggestive actions are the distinctive features of this art form. The performers are well trained in classical music and dance forms like Bharatanatyam.
The performance of this drama starts with the appearance of a clown called ‘Konangi’. He entertains the audience for some moments and then requests them to watch the play patiently. This is followed by the recital of an invocation song called ‘todaya-mangalam’ and an introduction to the plot of the drama. A young boy then appears, disguised as Lord Ganesh. He dances to the music, while the names of the actors and characters of the drama are announced. Following this introduction, the actual drama begins.