Friday, 3 June 2016, 11:45:17 am


The  culture  of  Utkal  (Orissa)  is  great  and spiritually rich. The Almighty Deity Lord Jagannath has adorned this holy land and is being worshipped
in the form of wooden image (Daru Bigraha) at Puri-Purusottam region or Shree Kshetra, the religious hub of the Oriyas. The socio-cultural
consciousness of the people of Orissa has been tinged with spiritual feelings for their deep love and devotion to Lord Jagannath. At the base of this consciousness lies a perfect blending of religion and ethics which is the epitome of socio-cultural values of the great India. Oriya folk dance Pala is
the harbinger of that ethical consciousness - its crusader and carrier. 

Even if lot of difference of opinions ariseto accept Pala as a popular folk dance yet it has garnered  much  support  in  its  favour  to  be considered as a widely acclaimed popular folk art. Pala is directly concerned with the life of common man. Being crowned with the indigenous and special traits of Oriya life, it not only entertains the common man but also inspires him to religious,moral, truthful and spiritual way of life. It is an excellent common art with high intellectual and literary  values

Pala has attained a special position as an indigenous art of Utkal. It possesses two merits -both entertainment and religious upliftment. It has achieved  immense  popularity  for  bringing  progress to Orissa in fields like religion, culture, literature and social values. It's role in inculcating  idealism in human character can never be denied. It is needless to say that Pala, which has so widely influenced the social life of Utkal, is a spiritual and  culural  awakening.  Before  the  arrival  of printing press in Orissa, it used to help in social, cultural, literary and religious progress. Both the literate and the illiterate were able to achieve the four  universal  attainments  -  religion,  wealth,  desire and  salvation (Dharma, Artha,  Kama  and Mokshya) through Pala. The common man was able to get the spiritual and literary pleasure from Pala easily even without reading the great Hindu epics and mythologies

This Satyanarayan Puja or Satyapeera Puja is performed only by the Brahmins. This puja is accompanied with song, music and dance. The patriach of the family along with other members and the neighbours get entertained and spiritually uplifted  through  this  Pala.  In  certain  spheres religious books and mythologies are referred and explained in sweet melodious tone. The chief of the singers is called "Gayaka" and his assistants are called "Palias" or "Co-singers". "It consists of five or six persons. The drummer plays on the 'mridanga', other play on the cymbals, dance and
help of chief singer 'Gayak' to sing and explain the  meaning    to  the  audience.  The  depth  of knowledges,  sharpness  of  intelligence,  oratory  and
keen memory power are put to a severe test when two well - matched groups challenge each other in a Pala competition. Nothing but unreserved admiration  is  due  to  the  singers  for  their inexhaustible energy continue the competition every night stretching over a month.

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