In the back drop of Rofty Similipal Forest with gorgeous waterfalls, winding rivers, huge summits and lush green valleys, the district of Mayurbhanj unfolds a vast panorama of nature's beauty. Amid the surroundings evolved a beautiful yet virile dance form, known as famous CHHAU DANCE. The fame of Mayurbhanj Chhau has crossed geographical limitations and has claimed world wide fans for its beauty, vigour and marvel of the art. Though Chhau is famous not only in India but World over the origin of word Chhau is yet in mystery. Chhau is believed to have found its origin from "Chhaya" the shadow. But the Chhau performers of Purulia use Mask while dancing and that mask is told as "Chhau". Perhaps Chhau Dance might have derived its name from that mask,the Chhau. Some chhau pundits opine the Chhau has got its name from "Chhaushree". Inarguably, the word chhau has been derived from the word 'CHHAUNI' the camp camped at the time of military operation. The folks say that chhau was performed to entertain the Oriya warriors inside the camp and has spread now knowing no boundaries.

Chhau is glorious heritage of Mayurbhanj. The enlightened kings of Mayurbhanj like Maharaja Shriram Chandra Bhanjdeo and Pratap Chandra Bhanjdeo, one of the builders of modern Orissa composed the famous "War-Dance" and presented the same in 1912 at Calcutta in honour of George V, the British emperor, who got dazed at the beauty and splendour of Mayurbhanj Chhau and appreaciations were showered from the press and the elites. Elements of folk, tribal, martial, traditional, classical art have been woven in to the grand mosaic of Mayurbhanj chhau. Thematically, Chhau draws substantially from great epics like the Ramayan, the Mahabharat and also from folk and tribal elements. The music accompanying the dance has its own style which envigorates the soul. The Orchestra is generally composed of "Mohuri", "Chad-Chadi", "Dhol", "Dhumsa" etc. and some times accompanied by lilting vocal music. The grammar of Mayurbhanj Chhau comprises six Chalis or Topka (basic steps) and 36 uflis (Jumping locomotions). These Chalis & uflis are are called from rural house hold activities, behaviour of animals, and birds and war actions. The Mayurbhanj repertoire treasures the highest number of dance items about 200 in number which is rarely found in any other dance forms of the world. Some of them are lost in oblivion with the passage of time. The solo items are Dandi, Mahadev, Sabar Toka, Nataraj and Jambeb etc. The famous group items are Kirat Arjun, Mayasabari, Tamudia Krishna, Matrupuja, Kelakeluni, Dhajatal, Bainshi Chori, Kailash Leela etc. The presiding deity of Mayurbhanj Chhau is Lord "Bhairab". Mayurbhanj chhau is world famous now. The visual poetry is the name of Mayurbhanj Chhau. Set in a style that is free, intense, stormy dynamic yet lyrical.

Chhau Troupes of Mayurbhanj

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Jhumar Folk Song  

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Shimilipal, the biosphere  

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Photo Gallery


Nandighosh Rath Of Lord Jagannath

The    majestic   Car  pulling in action which symbolises "The  Mahayatra" or "Ghosh Yatra"  of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Shubhadra.

The Devadalan Rath of Devi Shubhadra

The Rath (Car) of Devi Shubhadra being pulled by Women.

 The Taladhwaja Rath of Lord Balabhadra


Jhumar the traditional folk song, is inextricably interlinked with Mayurbhanj. They depict the thought of the populace festivities, marriages other social functions and sorrows & happiness. These songs are mainly " Tune based " (SWARA PRADHAN) descending from generation to generation. More Jhumar.....