Folk and Tribal Culture of Andhra Pradesh

Folk and Tribal Culture of Andhra Pradesh

Tribal and Folk Festivals

Sammakka, Saralamma Jatara at Medaram in Warangal

Medaram is a small village in the forest area of the Mulugu taluk of Warangal district. Here Sammakka Jatara is celebrated once in two years on a very large scale for three days before Magha. Sammakka is a tribal goddess and the patrons and priests are Koyas. All the tribals of Mulugu area and the thousands of other Hindus congregate there during the celebrations. There is no permanent idol of the deity (Plate 46). A Koya tribal boy who gets a vision of the goddess anoint them in the form of vermilion caskets, one representing the main duty Sammakka and the other her daughter Sarakka both tied to a piece of bamboo. This is installed on an earthen platform raised under a tree. Animals are sacrificed and vows are redeemed, intoxicants are widely used. Hundreds of people who are often possessed by the goddess come there dancing ecstatically throughout their journey. The special offering to the deity is jaggery which collects in huge piles. Those who fulfill vows offer jaggery equal to their weight and jaggery is distributed as prasadam.

Bonalu in Hyderabad and other places of Andhra Pradesh

It is the annual Ashada Jatara Festival held in the honour of Sri Ujjaini Mahakali in Hyderabad and other parts of Andhra Pradesh during which decorated pots known as ghatams are filled with neem leaves or flowers are installed in various important temples. This festival launched to Promote Cultural Tourism in the State for the past one decade.

folk and tribal music in andhra pradesh

Butta Bommalu 

Butta Bommalu is a typical folk dance, popular in Tanuku region of West Godavari District in AP. In this particular dance, the dancers wear masks of different characters and entertain people with their delicate movements, accompanied by non verbal music.

Tappeta Gullu

Tappeta Gullu It is a devotional dance, which is popular in districts of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram. Tappeta Gullu is a dance that has vigor, rhythm and tempo and is performed to invoke the Rain God. In this dance form, the artists hang drums around their necks and produce beats with movements.


Associated with Lambadi tribe, Lambadi dance is performed to celebrate a loaded harvest or a good sowing season. The dancers adorn themselves with heavy jewelry, like ivory bangles, brass anklets, ornate jewelry and costumes embroidered with glass beads.


In the hilly region of Vishakhapatam district, Dhimsa dance is performed by people of every age group. This is a tribal dance that is performed during the months of Chaitra (March/April). To perform this dance, the artists dress in typical tribal dresses and ornaments.


Kolattam is the stick dance, which is quite similar to the Dandia dance of Gujarat. Also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu, this dance is usually performed during the festivals of village. Kolattam observes a great combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music.

Burra katha

Burra katha, also spelled burrakatha, is a storytelling technique used in villages of Andhra Pradesh .Burrakatha was started as devotional songs of nomadic people and became a popular art form. It is believed that this dance is evolved from traditional Tandana Katha; this dance art preaches, entertains and provides relaxation to the rural folk.

Dhamal Dance

Dhamal is one of the typical & ceremonial dance forms of Siddis of Hyderabad region. It is a mimetic martial dance performed by Siddis. They use swords and shields held in their hands while performing various steps involved in the dance. This dance is ceremonial in nature performed especially on the occasion of marriage. Many musical instruments are used to accompany and make noises of `how wow`.

Siddis originally are from Africa continent and were brought in Andhra by the Hindu kings, in the middle of the 12th century to perform guard duties in their palaces. They were then favourite with the ruling classes as soldiers, sailors and personal bodyguards. As they were in great demand after realizing their better performance, they were brought from Africa and Abyssinia as slaves. Gradually, they were absorbed into the Indian culture, but their dances still have the flavour of the land of origin, in their special warlike movements. Their dances present a fascinating coordination of rhythmic body movement and colours in their exotic colorful costumes. The whole picture of dance is attention grabbing.

Mathuri Dance

The Mathuri dances are special tribal dances of the Mathuri tribes. These dances are performed during the rainy month of Shravana by the Mathuris living in Adilabad district of the Andhra.It is a dance in which men and women folk participate together, women participants forming the inner circle and men the outer semi-circle. The dancers sing themselves devotional and secular songs at the time of dance. The men strike the small sticks and the women clap to mark the time. It is said that the Mathuri dances have a close resemblance to Rasa-Lila of Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that the Mathuri tribe actually came from Mathura and therefore the dance is named accordingly.


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