Revival of Odissi


During the Mughal rule of India, the duties of the maharis, the temple dancers, shifted as they were also employed to entertain the royal family and courtiers in the royal courts. They became associated with concumbinage in respect to the king and ceased to be respected solely as servants to Lord Jagannath.
A decline and degradation occurred in all the Indian classical dance styles during the British period, especially when a bill was passed prohibiting temple dancing.

The nationalistic leaders instigated the cultural renaissance and regeneration of India including the revival of the Indian dances as girls from respectable families learnt the almost extinct dance styles. At independence time, only Odissi had yet to be rediscovered. With the help of many, including Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Odissi was revived as a classical art form in 1955. Therefore, the Odissi dance recital that we see today is an attempt of reconstruction from the fragments of the Mahari tradition, Gotipua tradition, Bandhnritya tradition of martial arts, Chhau tradition known to Orissa and an ofcourse the inspiration drawn from the sculptural relief and pictorial image.