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Pāṇḍav(a)līlā


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A popular performance tradition in the Garhwal region of Himālayan Uttar Pradesh. Villagers present Mahābhārata stories through a mixture of the staged—recitation of texts, song, ritual processions, and drama—and the spontaneous. The most elaborate performances can build to a climax over thirteen days. The Pāṇdavas are thought to be both semi-divine beings and the ancestors of the participants, and therefore capable of bestowing favours. Essentially the līlā is both a form of dramatized ritual worship (pūjā), and a public entertainment in which the barrier between performers and participants is continually removed.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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