The Ghanta Patua community of Orissa
performs an acrobatic dance during the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April). This dance is dedicated to the Mother Goddess who is known by various names like Sarala, Hingula, Charchika, Bhagavati, and Chandi.
Ghanta Patua is a non-Brahmin community whose members perform the services meant for the deities. During the auspicious month of Chaitra, the male members of the Ghanta Patua community roam about the villages in a group of 2 or 4. They perform their typical dance balanced on a rope tied between 2 poles, accompanied by music produced by the ‘ghanta’ (brass gong) and ‘dhol’ (drum).
The main dancer dresses in a female attire, with a black cloth tied on his head and its long flowing ends held by his hands. He places a ‘ghata’ (sacred pitcher), decorated with flowers, vermillion, sandal paste and colored thread, on his head. With the pitcher balanced on his head, he performs a range of Yogic stances. He dances on the rope without any support, exhibiting an extraordinary balancing act. On completion of the dance, he distributes the vermillion paste, which is an offering from the temple, to the people.