Hari-katha is one of the many ancient folk arts of Andhra. Try listening to this song – “rama kanavemira” from swathi muthyam (telugu movie)…its one of my all time favourites…i just love the way the Seetha-Rama Kalyanam is narrated…There is so much enthusiasm, energy and devotion involved.
My grand father (Late Ayodhya Ramayya garu) was a part of a hari-katha troupe. He gave hundreds of performances as a mridangam player. But he passed away when we were kids. Me and my sisters always wish we had a chance to see him perform.Then I had the previlege to witness a hari-katha just once in my life (till now 🙂 ) at a temple in SrihariKota.
Unfortunately, this beautiful art is slowly becoming extinct.
Here is a brief overview of what hari-katha is :
It is an art form comprising story telling, art, drama, dance. It started as a means of spreading the stories of Lord Vishnu, but then later evolve to include all the Hindu deities. It was developed as a door-to-door campaign of Vaishnavism. The singing of Hari’s myths with punctuated shouts of ecstatcy like “hari lo ranga hari” or “srimad Rama Raman Govindo Hari” encouraged audience to repeat the chant. Later it acquired the form of concert, which was popularly known as “katha kalakshepam”. The story teller is called “haridasu”, dressed in traditional Vaishnava attire using chiratalu (pair of clappers) and his anklets to add rythm to his story.
Keeping aside the religious part associated with it, it is a bliss to watch or listen to a hari katha performance – just for the sake of the beauty involved in the art form. Make sure you watch atleast once in your life time.