Due to its multi-cultural and multi-lingual communities in Tripura, there are
various festivals celebrated in the state. Garia and Gajan festival is
celebrated in the month of April. Rabindra/ Nazrul Jayanti is celebrated in the
month of May. Manasa Mangal is also celebrated in the month of August throughout
the state. Tripura is mostly inhabited by the Bengalis who celebrate Durga Puja
with pomp and grandeur throughout the state in the month of October. Ashokastami
held during the month of April is celebrated in Unakoti. Boat Race held at
Melaghar and Gandacherra is celebrated in the month of August. Diwali is
celebrated within the premises of Mata Tripureswari Temple located at Udaipur in
the month of November.
Dance Culture of the State
The culture of dance in Tripura is vibrant and associated with the ethnic tribes that are both indigenous and native. The Tripuri community, the Reang Community, the Chakma community, Halam (Muslim) Community, Lushai community and Garo tribes are some of the tribes that has exotic dress code and dance form.
Due to its mountainous region, Tripuris employ the Jhum cultivation. Tripuris culture and life mainly revolve around the Jhum civilization . Usually they pray to the God 'Garia' for a good harvest after the sowing of the seeds had been done in the middle of April. Sometimes the celebrations go on for many days when they decide to entertain their respective deities with the feet of song and dance.
Lebang Boomani Dance
There is a period to rest, for the Tripuris after the Garia festival. Whenever swarm of charming colourful insects known as 'Lebang' visit these hill slopes for the sown seeds, the tribal youths start indulging in merry-making. The men make a rhythmic sound by the help of the two bamboo chips in their hands and women run on the hill slopes to catch the insects. The fact is that the rhythm from the bamboo chips attracts the insects and the women catch them. This is also a famous dances of Tripura, in these dances Tripuris use the musical instruments like khamb made of bamboo, flute, Sarinda, lebang made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal.
This dance form of the Reang Community is quite different from other dances. The performer dances by moving his waist till his feet with a wonderful wave whereas movement of the upper torso and the hands is somewhat restricted. Here the belle of the dance stands on an earthen pitcher with a bottle on the head and a lighted lamp on it. The dance never fails to impress the onlookers. The Reang women put coin rings, which covers the entire upper part.
This is popular form of dance that is characteristic of the Chakma community. During 'Chaitra-Sankranti' this dance is performed and denotes the end of Bengali Calendar year. The Chakmas dance and sing, bidding goodbye to the ending year and welcomed the new year. Orchestration of this dance is seen with the rhythm coming from the 'Khenggarang' and 'Dhukuk' which are both flutes.
The social and economic life of the Halam also is based on the Jhum cultivation. When the harvesting season ends, the Malsum tribe, which comes under the Halam, adores and praises Goddess Laxmi. It is during this, they enjoy their Hai-Hak dance. Rhythms of the dance and the lively people reflect the tradition inherited through the ages.
This dance is performed by the Garo community. When the ceremony starts, 'Wangala' (1st rice eating ceremony) is performed in every house and the head of the community known as Sangnakma visits every house and cuts a pumpkin as part of the ceremony. The pumpkin is sacrificed and after the ritual is done, all the women would dance to the beats of 'Dama' and 'Aaduri' made out of buffalo horn. It usually explains the rehearsal for war.
Lusai community have Welcome dance for welcoming visitors. The Lusai girls wear colorful dresses and they dances whenever visitors come to their houses. These girls do not need much ornaments since the dress is so colourful.
The Darlong community perform this dance. This dance stem from their faith in afterlife. They had the belief that man are destined to go to heaven after death. The firm belief in the afterlife had even made pregnant woman perform this dance through out day and night. Their thought that even when the woman dies , the woman goes to heaven with the courage and confidence along with the joy from the sound of the bamboo as the rhythm of dance produced till she dies.
Way (Lamp) Dance
This festival is celebrated by the Mog community and observed on the full moon day of the Bengali month of Ashwin. Lamps are lit in dedication to the Lord Buddha. Young boys and girls stand in rows with lamps to worship the Lord Buddha. Then the youngsters have merriment through songs and dances within the temple of Lord Buddha. This dance is called the Way Dance or Lamp dance.
Konark dance Festival
The Kornak dance festival is celebrated in the Arkha- Tirtha or the land of Lord Surya, renowned not only in the annals of the country but also throughout the entire world. This is four day long cultural festival that is celebrated with sections of classical dances which sees performances from some of the most renowned names in the Indian dance and music scene. This annual dance festival is usually celebrated in the early days of the month of December. Conceived and carried on as the festival of Indian classical dances the Kornak festival has played a crucial role in promoting tourism in the region and at the same time has also acted as perfect platform to garner interest in the Indian classical dance forms. Apart from dance performance the festival is also for the temple exhibition and the sand art exhibition.
When did the Kornak dance Festival start?
The Kornak Festival was organized for the first time in 1989 in the Open
Auditorium built against the backdrop of the temple through the financial
assistance of the Government of India. The festival is organized for a period of
five days usually from the 1st of December to the 5th of
December every year. The festival has served as a perfect background showcasing
a magical parade of Indian classical and traditional forms of dance from
different forms prevalent in the country. Eminent dancers and at the same time
troops enthrall audiences with choreographed moves with a light and sound show
that add more interest and at the same renders a western dimension to the
classical forms. Initially during the years 1989 and 1990, the festival was
organized for a period of 3 days. Later, as the festival climbed began to gain
renown it was extended to its present duration of five. The classical
extravaganza invites classical dance enthusiast from all over the country and
includes dance presentations such as Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri,
Chau and revitalization of ancient dance forms like " Abhinaya Chandrika"- an
opulent dance form that is sure to leave audience awestruck.
The Dance Colosseum
The ethereal Natyamandapa ( open air dancing hall) of this 700 years old shrine is a architectural wonder in itself. Although partly in ruins, its colossal size, exquisite stone carvings executed with masterly touch and the diversity of themes, simply takes one's breath away. The Natyamandapa greets everyone wholeheartedly, with two fierce-looking lions, one on each side of the steps and elephants sitting atop writhing men. It is said that, the lion signifies power, the elephant connotes wealth and man stands for justice. Conjointly, the walls of the Natyamandapa are also beautifully carved with interesting visions. There are thousands of images of deities, celestial bodies, musicians, dancers, lovers, military battles and courtly leisure’s, elegantly engraved on the northern, western and southern facades of the temple.
Kornak Festival Attractions
Another attraction of the festival is the Craft Mela and Handicraft Exhibition. Organized by the State Industry Department since 1991, this fair boasts of trendy handicrafts, artists camps, rural handlooms and potteries, where skilled artisans and craftsman display their dexterity in a rural setting.