Tholu Bommalata ( Puppet show)

Tholu bommalata is a popular shadow theater tradition practiced in Andhra Pradesh and certain regions of Karnataka. The expression Tholu bommalata literally means dance (atta) involving leather (tholu) and puppets (bommalu).
Among several other traditions, the leather puppets which are the most important part of Tholu bommalata are unique for their large size. The concept of this folk-dance performance is based on epic stories, mostly based on Ramayana and Mahabharata to a small extent and few Vaishnava texts.

The puppets appear on the stage behind a white curtain, where the audience can only view the coloured shadows, but not the actual puppets, by means of a light source. The folk expression of Tholu bommalata is a combination of different arts like painting, music, dance, engraving, acting, and narrative storytelling. The performance involves skits, accompanied by live music. It is a great living tradition where the Leather puppets are created by artisans in Nellore, Anantapur and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh.