Dance of Sourashtra ‘ koNangi ‘ ( கொணங்கி3 )
Performance at Thirumalai Thirupathi Devasthanam by Sourashtra koNangi group
Each year when Ramanavami falls, a eleven day long celebration held to remember Lord. Rama and praising him with bhajan songs.
In Salem the a folk-dance celebrations performed at Panduranga Bhajana mhatam, Yekadasi bhajana mhatam, Saliar Street School, Sourashtra Krishnan koil and Panduranga temple of shevapet. The dance performed by our bhavtuls and koNangi ( கொணங்கி3 ) dancers. In olden days many groups of bhavtul and dancers available.
Today at 2010 only one group remaining. The celebration usually starts at night 8.00 p.m. Starts from one hour bhajan and then koNangi dance. Circling a light called ‘ Thandili divo ‘ the dancers used to dance dance according to song theme. The bhavtuls sings many songs on Lord Ramas life adventure and morals. Also one or two Dandi natan (Kolattam) the perform with songs.
The ship riding of Guha on River Ganga, is a very special song. The dancers, hanged a miniature of ship on a rope and moves to and fro. Dancers move with ship as it moves with homorous movings. The ship song describes not only sailing and how a human life goes towards God.
Each theme dance having a song and a humorous movements. Thus it attracts all category of people. All the songs describes one by one incidents of entire Ramayana ie. the Whole story of Lord Rama.
But a interesting thing is there ! It is about the Dance ” When and how it developed ? ” A narrative dance with humorous movement.?
Well… It was at the time of Lord Krishna.. Kamsa the demon King sent a demon called ‘ Danta vakra ‘ to kill Krishna. Lord Krishna, attacked him with his Sudarshan chakra. The demon catched the Chakra-weapon by his big teeths. Chakra eapon is now on demon’s mouth but neither he is able to release that nor krishna can pluck from his mouth. Because, if demon opens his mouth the Chakra-weapon cuts his mouth. So the demon had a strong byte on the chakra and not able to release. Lord krishna knows that, only Chakra-weapon able kill the demon. So he started to play a tricky way humorous dance in front of the demon. Some time after the dance started, the humorous movement of Lord Krishna’s makes him laughter. He started laugh. The the Chakra-weapon released from his mough and killed the demon.
In remember of this incident, dancing with humorous movement is performed for long time by our people. All koNangi dance peace is in a unique way of humorous movement describes the life of Rama ! A programme of nine day dance and on tenth day called ‘ Vasanth ‘. On ‘ Vasanth ‘ day all bhavtul, (Singers) and koNangi dancers, childrens rally on every streets, areas to collect bath-oil and bath-powder (Sikaai, ushlam bhurgo, tel )and reach the mhatam and take holy bath. Then a day longer bhajan songs (Praising of God) continues till the eleventh day morning ! On eleventh day the end of koNangi – Ramanavami folk dance .
At the end of this dance, all are dreams about on coming one day celebration of Lord Krishna’s birthday (Janmashtami, Gokulashtami ) and Vittul – the adventure game performed after krishna’s birthday and engaging themself in livelyhood duties.
koNangi - Sourashtra folk dance