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The Gotipua Dance


Gotipua, the Oriya etymon of which literally means ‘Goti’ = ‘single’& ‘Pua’ = ‘Boy’.As the name indicates this sacred dance is performed only by boys dressed up as girls.

The amazing history of this dance dates up to the time of Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Since many centuries as a customary practice in the Chandan Yatra festival of Puri, the Supreme Lord Sri Jagannath would always go out on procession along with His supreme devotee Lord Shiva in between the assembly of demigods. And at that time, as a tradition, the Devadasis of the Sri Mandir would also come to dance before Lord Jagannath for His pleasure.

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu suggested the creation of the Gotipua boys

An acrobatic art indeed

An acrobatic art indeed

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (who was Lord Jagannath himself assuming the form of His devotee) saw this, He desired them (the Devadasis) to dance in front of Lord Shiva as well, during the entire occasion, but unfortunately the priests objected to it. They objected because the Devadasis were females and by nature they could not maintain purity continually for a period of 21 days, especially since Lord Shiva was among those demigods.

Hence Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as an alternative advised the King of Puri to bring in small boys for the purpose. He said “let the boys dance instead of girls, since boys were pure in all respects.” That was when, for the first time, the King of Puri ordered his subjects to set up gymnasiums for training Gotipuas (or small dancing boys).

Normally the Gotipuas dress up them selves as girls to sing and dance in the rhythm of ancient classical vaisnava music meant for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Their songs depict various stories from the great historical puranas of India as well as the Rasa leela pastimes of the Lord with the Gopis in Vrindavan.

A cultural vaisnava legacy

This dance form historically represents the magnificence of the most glorious vaisnava culture of Orissa. It was flourishing strongly during the medieval period and had spread as a great part of the rich temple culture of Puri. They were earlier sponsored by the feudal land lords in the remote rural areas of Orissa, but slowly later after the decline of feudalism, the temples, monasteries, gymnasiums and feudal zamindars could no longer sponsor this tradition anymore.

The tradition was almost dead during the last century. But now providentially it has once again been revived and is slowly regaining its forgotten vitality for the pleasure and services of the Supreme Lord Jagannath.

The Gotipua boys emulating Lord Krishna's graceful stances...

The Gotipua boys emulating Lord Krishna's graceful stances...

The repertoire of the dance includes “Sri Guru Vandana” = prayers offered to the spiritual master, “Sa-Re-Ga-Ma” = A pure dance number, “Abhinaya” = Enactment of devotional songs, and lastly the “Bandha Nrutya” = Rythms of acrobatic postures.

This Bandha Nrutya is a unique presentation where the Gotipuas dance and compose themselves in various acrobatic postures creating the images of Radha and Krishna. Musical accompaniment is provided with the mardala, manjira, harmonium, violin and flute.

These (the Gotipuas) are all trained to become accomplished dancers, mardala players, tuned singers and above all graceful acrobats…a complete performing artist in very unique way.

For information please contact:

Baba Gorekhnath Gotipua Dance Association, Orissa, India.

Troupe Leader: Chandramani Pradhan

Phone No: (mobile): +91 (0) 9937312189

Email: gotipua [at] gmail.com

Our purpose:

* To promote this ancient dying art tradition of Gotipua throughout the vaisnava world.

* And also to help as a fund raising source to uphold the cause of Sriman Mahaprabhu in bringing up and developing His most merciful and Supreme Dandabhanga pastime site at Sri Jagannath Puri Dham.

Who is Krishna?

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In the Western countries, when somebody sees the cover of a book like Krishna, they immediately ask, "Who is Krishna? Who is that girl with Krishna?" etc. The immediate answer is that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

How is that?

Because He conforms in exact detail to descriptions of the Supreme Being as mentioned in the infallible Vedic scriptures. In other words, Krishna is the Godhead because He is all-attractive. Outside the principle of all-attraction, there is no meaning to the word Godhead.

Krishna is the unlimited possessor of all the 6 opulences namely, strength, fame, knowledge, wealth, renunciation and beauty. His beauty exceeds the beauty of billions of Cupids (god of lust).

Therefore the name Krishna itself means "all attractive". In other words Krishna is able to attract anything within the entire creation. He is the Supreme Absolute Truth and His Divine Lotus like Feet is the ultimate goal of all the living entities.