Karnataka, in South India, is a land known for its rich cultural heritage and folk traditions. Karnataka is probably the only State in India where the three major puppet forms - the Marionette, the Rod and the Leather - have been equally popular among the people. These art forms owe their existence to the “Temple based puppet theatre” which flourished for centuries in the State.
PUTTHALI KALARANGA is a troupe of experts which has specialized in “Rod Puppetry”. The wooden puppets used by the troupe are one of the tallest of their kind. Each puppet is 3 to 3½ ft. in height and weighs around 8 kgs. The puppets are known for their beauty, traditional embellishments, myriad colours and rich ornamentation. They have made a mark in the Puppet world by their sheen, sparkle and style. The manipulation of the tall and hefty puppets is an arduous task.
The manipulator hangs the puppets from his head (with the help of strings) and gives them motion by jerking the rods. For this reason, these puppets are also referred to as “String-cum-Rod Puppets.”
Putthali Kalaranga has evolved a unique style of puppetry which has come to be recognised as the “Mudrika School of Puppetry.”