Of the multitude of art forms that the ancient town of Puri has nourished for centuries is Medha Nacha, a special dance form performed in almost all of the town’s festivities round the year.
However, it occupies the most prominent position in the Sahi Jata, an annual street theater festival in which hundreds of youths dress up in splendid attires, enacting the ancient Indian epic of Ramayana. It springs from the distinct blend of martial and artistic traditions in the gymnasiums of Puri and might have origins as early as the 12th century AD.
Young men trained in these age-old institutions tie huge decorative structures called medhas behind them and dance to the swinging beats of the telingi baja throughout the night. These structures are crafted intricately to depict various gods and goddesses. The dance itself is rather minimalistic; its core lies in the minute, nuanced movements that distill the elegance of the arts to act as striking displays of grace and power. To walk through the seven streets of Puri and dance while carrying these huge, heavy medhas is no small physical feat; additionally, it is seen as a form of service to Jagannatha.
This is a stage performance of the kalika medha, representing the dark goddess of time and death, Kali.
Shot, edited & subtitled by : Debendra Pattanayak ,Arjun Samanta Ray, Prateek Pattanaik