Gangireddulaata (గంగిరెద్దులాట) is one of the oldest folk art form of Andhra Pradesh. Like many other folk art forms this Gangireddulaata is also on the edge of extinction because the performers who are surviving on this folk art forms is not able to fulfill their daily life with the small income they received through this ancient art form because of the lack of support from the people of modern society.
Hisotory of Gangireddu: In the olden days there is one demon called Gajasura performing severe Tapasya for Lord Shiva. Then Lord Shiva appeared before Gajasura and asked him what is his wish. Gajasura told to Lord Shiva as he want Lord Shiva inside his stomach and according to his wish Lord Shiva stayed inside Gajasura stomach. While listening about this news Parvati Maa is worrying and requested Lord Vishnu for release of Lord Shiva from the stomach of Gajasura.
Then Lord Vishnu alongwith Brahma and other Gods and Shiva Ganas decorated in the form of Gangireddula Melam. Nandi is prepared as Gangireddu with colourful decorations and also using various musical instruments like Dolu, Sannayi, Boora etc. This Gangireddu troupe visiting to the place of Gajasura and he learnt about the troupe and request to perform a play in front of him. After watching their performance Gajasura is very satisfied and asked the troupe what is their boon. Then Lord Vishnu informed to Gajasura as "This is Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva is weeping for Shiva and he want Lord Shiva". Then Gajasura understand about it is his time for death and he prayed Lord Shiva and stand in front of Nandi. Then nandi break the stomach of Gajasura and Lord Shiva came out from the stomach of Gajasura. After this Lord Shiva assured to Gajasura as he wears the skins of Gajasura and further his head is worshipping in all lokas in the form of Lord Ganesha (according to Lord Ganesha birth legend).
From this incident onwards the performers of these folk art are becoming Gangireddula vallu (Gangireddu performers) and the bull is becoming Gangireddu.
These Gangireddu performers singing songs in folk way. In Andhra Pradesh these performers are visible very common in streets during Pongal festival season. At that time these performers came in front of every home particularly in rural areas. At the time of performance they are playing with Gangireddu.
These performers trained bulls to dance or perform acrobatics to entertain the crowd. Through the Gangireddu performance the performers earn money, clothes and grains in return to the performance.
The feats of the Gangireddu (bull) are indeed pelasing. The Gangireddu can dance rhythimically, nod in acceptence, deny in negation, kneel down and prostrate, bow down and even stretch its tongue to show it can sing. It can put its four legds in a plate or exhibit more enterprising feats such as standing on its master's chest and bowing down in reverence when he sings in praise of a donor.
It is our responsibility to preserve many age old and traditional folk art forms like this Gangireddulaata for the sake of our future generations by giving money etc. generously to these performers otherwise there will be no heritage to our future generation child from our side.
The above are some photographs which i taken during pongal season in kakinada. In the below photograph i am standing behind Gangireddu.