Historical Katik Dance in Lalitpur

If we enter the valley of Kantipur, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, the amazing masterpiece of art, handicrafts, sculptures, divine, and sacred gods and goddesses surrounds us. From the historical side, they are the contributions of Malla kings of the valley who were focused and concerned from the religious and cultural point of view. Indra Jatra in Kathmandu, Biskha Jatra in Bhadgaun, and Katik Pyakha in Lalitpur are the major sources of attraction besides tons of cultural glories and rituals.

Among many of the culture enthusiastic people, I belong to them. Who won’t be when your own tradition, art, literature, culture is magnificent that attracts not only us but the millions of tourists all over the world. The other interesting fact is the stage show performed for 27 days called “Katik Dance” was initiated in the 16th century around the mids 1654 AD (as per the source) during the reign of Malla Maharaj Siddhi Narsingh Malla, the king of Lalitpur.  It is almost a wow factor when those sets of amazing stage dance characterizing the divine gods and goddesses are carried on.

What an extravaganza. What a glory. What a pride. When we hear this and get to feel the live show, it’s truly inspiring and amazing how the importance of our own culture is carried on from generation to generation since they are the one which gives us our identity signifying the richness of country and essence of a Newa culture in the society.

Besides many of the stage shows during this Katik Pyakha, Narasimha avatar is believed to be the center of attraction for the thousands of viewers who wait till past 12 at night to watch the show at the Patan Dabali Chowk right in front of the Patan Durbar. This final act on the final day got to have historical significance and hence the system of showing this performance live among the spectators became the tradition.

The final day for 2018 occurred on 22nd November where the scary and energetic dance was the moment to grasp. As said earlier, this legendary show got its own meanings and carries cultural significance. It is said that during the ruling of Maharaj Siddhi Narsingh Malla, this spectacular festival got its origination.

Siddhi Narsingh Malla, quite a popular king from Yela (Lalitpur) was a pure and sacred devotee of Lord Bishnu. He believed in Tantras and Mantras and was an expert in Tantrism. The world heritage majestic Krishna Mandir is an example of his devotion towards Lord Krishna. This magnificent art and design of this temple cleared that Siddhi Narsingh Malla was a talented, cultural gig with love towards the religious rituals having deep faith in Gods and Goddess.

During his reign, the citizens faced a huge problem. The land lost its originality and seems to be touched by the negative powers. The beautiful city turned ugly. No sort of Pujas and worshipping could revive the city to its original form. The people were scared. The king was too worried about their people so he consulted with his expert gurus to solve the problem.

The gurus advised the king to summon Narsingh, the ferocious, bloodthirsty, and dangerous-looking incarnation of Lord Bishnu in the form of half lion and human being. But this was a risky task since in order to invoke Narsingh, there required the sacrifice of a man which should be continued annually without any gap.

Prahlad summoning Lord Narsimha at Katik Pyakha

This religious king looked for an alternative. With the advice from his religious gurus Haribansa Rajopadhayay and Bishwanath Rajopadhayay and the clever mind of the king, he thought of demonstrating this act through the stage play realizing this would symbolically offer the human sacrifice without spilling any human blood invoking the Lord Narsingha and thus would be the historic play for many generations to come.

The king was self-involved and engaged to write the script, verse, and act of the Kartik Nach and finally, the play was successful and the city was again revived. It was also believed that the king himself pursued the character of Narsingha during his period of time.

The display of the Narsingha Avatar in the Patan Dabali could not be explained in words. The play looks so artistic and divine that it feels like we are watching the play way back to the historical era. The Narsingh Avatar with a lion face and the human body enters the stage

At the request of Prahlad, the son of the strongest demon of the earth Hiranyakasyapa. The entry of the Lord Narsingha looks epic tearing the pillar with two hands pointing at one end and the crowd cheering with a loud noise. The Lord could not accept the injustice done towards Prahlad, the devotee of him. “Om Namah! Bhagawan Basudevaya” was stuck to his mouth like a baby kangaroo attached to the mother’s womb.

The final fight looks more ferocious. The fire in the four corners is burned in excess so that the shadow of Lord Narsingha and Demon Hiranyasakyapa does not coincide which adds more drama to the scene. The Lord makes the demon weak and tired. His danger-looking face with bloodthirst seems like the lion crawling down its prey like an innocent-looking Impala.

The musical vibrations with a traditional instrument playing and the musician singing typical Newari music add more suspense and with the feeling that we are way back to the old days when the real dance is demonstrated. The dancing, fighting, chanting, and playing make anybody feel the energy, atmosphere, and taste about our Newa culture identifying who are we and what we exist for. I

The scene of the Lord trying to touch Hirnayakasyapa is the main act of fighting between them. After making the demon weak and tired, he is touched by the Lord and he faints instantly. The crowd cheers up. It’s the victory of the Lord over the oppressor. It’s the rise to the new beginning of justice towards all the creatures of the planet bringing new hope among the people. It is also believed that the actor who played the role of a demon faints realistically and requires certain rituals to make him conscious.

After this epic battle, the show is passed on to the angels (Apsara) from heaven who perform the entertaining dance in order to celebrate the win over the darkness and evil. This show is also amazing to watch which signifies the ancient form of actions and gestures.

Summing up all these artistic and cultural vibes, the Katik Dance is one of the topmost priorities and must be included in the “To-do list” for any historic and cultural lovers. It adds more excitement for all the viewers when this historic dance is planned to be demonstrated for the time duration of one month in the coming 2076 B.S (as per the source). Get ready to feel the sensation if you have missed it.

Angel Dance : Katik Pyakha

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Century old dance at Patan Durbar Square, Nepal.
    Happening from November 10 -17, 2021 at Patan Dabali, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    #katikpyakha #culturalnepal #worldheritagesite


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