THE CULTURAL CENTRE
Andhra Pradesh’s cultural history can be summarized under the sections of Art, Architecture, Literature, Cuisine, Clothing and Religion/Philosophy.
Classical dance in Andhra can be performed by both men and women; however women tend to learn it more often. Kuchipudi is the state’s best-known classical dance forms of Andhra Pradesh. The various dance forms that existed through the states’ history are Chenchu Bhagotam, Kuchipudi, Bhamakalapam, Burrakatha, Veeranatyam, Butta bommalu, Dappu, Tappeta Gullu, Dhimsa, and Kolattam.
Harikatha (lit. “stories of the Lord”), originated in Andhra is a form of Hindu religious discourse, in which the story teller explores a religious theme, usually the life of a saint or a story from an Indian epic. Harikatha Kalakshepam is most prevalent in Andhra Pradesh even now along with Burra katha. Haridasus going round villages singing devotional songs is an age-old tradition during Dhanurmaasam preceding Sankranti festival.
Bapu’s paintings, Nanduri Subbarao’s Yenki Paatalu (Songs on/by a washerwoman called Yenki), mischievous Budugu (a character by Mullapudi), Annamayya’s songs, Aavakaaya (a variant of mango pickle in which the kernel of mango is retained), Gongura (a chutney from Roselle plant), Atla Taddi (a seasonal festival predominantly for teenage girls), banks of river Godavari, Dudu basavanna (The ceremonial ox decorated for door-to-door exhibition during the harvest festival Sankranti) have long defined Telugu culture. The village of Durgi is known for originating stone craft, carvings of idols in soft stone that must be exhibited in the shade because they are prone to weathering.
Andhra Pradesh is home to some of the finest historical cloth making/fashion and dying traditions of the world. Its rich cotton production, with its innovative plant dye extraction history stand next to its diamond mining, pearl harvesting and jewelry traditions to form an impressive fashion tradition that has stood the test of time. Langa-Voni (Half saree), Sarees made in Kalamkari, Bidri, Nirmal paintings, fascinating weaves from Gadwal, Venkatagiri are the result of this time tested (3000 year) fashion tradition. Vaddaanam, Aravanke, Kashulahaaram, Buttalu and various standard gold jewelry designs are fine examples of this continuously evolving ancient tradition.
Tholu Bommalata is the shadow puppet theatre tradition of the state of Andhra Pradesh . Its performers are part of a group of wandering entertainers and peddlers who pass through villages during the course of a year and offer to sing ballads, tell fortunes, sell amulets, perform acrobatics, charm snakes, weave fishnets, tattoo local people and mend pots. This ancient custom, which for centuries before radio, movies, and television provided knowledge of Hindu epics and local folk tales, not to mention news, spread to the most remote corners of the subcontinent. Tholu Bommalata literally means “the dance of leather puppets” (tholu – leather and bommalata – puppet dance).The puppeteers make up some of the various entertainers who perform all night and usually reenact various stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Cultural Centre is a studio for both performing arts and handicrafts. The spacious hall facilitates the artisans to display and demonstrates of their crafts like the Kondapalli Toys, Pedana Kalamkari Textiles , Mangalagiri cottons, Leather puppetry of Nimmalakunta, Stone craft of Durgi and Allagadda, Wood Craft of Kalahasthi and Madavamala etc.