India | Goa

Virbhadra Ritual

Virbhadra is a ritualistic folk dance-drama performed in parts of Goa. This art-form was brought to this region by the ruling dynasty of Karnataka. True to its origin, the narration in this dance is done in Kannada, the language of Karnataka. This ritual is still popular in at least some parts of Karnataka.

The Virbhadra dance depicts various episodes from the life of a mythical warrior named Virbhadra. He is believed to have been blessed with a divine gift of differentiating between the faithful and the treacherous. The person playing the role of Virbhadra dresses up in warrior's costumes and wields a sword, while dancing around in the temple yard. He is believed to become possessed with the divine spirit of the mythical warrior. Even if he struck a faithful person with his sword, that person would remain unaffected.

The Virbhadra dance is performed mostly on festive occasions at Sanquelim, Sanguem and Ponda.

Updated on 2nd September, 2015


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