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Ankiya Nat

Domain:Performing arts

State: Assam


The tradition of Vaishnava theatre in Assam, popularly known as Ankiya Nat, was introduced by Sankaradeva as a medium to propagate the doctrine of Bhakti among the people irrespective of caste, creed and social status. This tradition emerged as a result of a harmonious combination of religious teachings and varied socio-cultural practices. It blends religious philosophy with indigenous forms of folk entertainment and techniques of performance, and at the same time also integrates many elements derived from the classical Sanskrit dramatic tradition. Ankiya Nat has managed to survive till the present day more or less in its original form. Sankaradeva composed popular plays such as Patnipasad, Parijatharan, Keligopal, Rukminiharan and Rambijoy. The practice was carried on after his death by his disciples and thus a strong and vibrant tradition of drama emerged. Like many other forms of traditional theatre in India, the visual appeal of Ankiya Nat lies in its colourful costumes, masks, effigies, and props.