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Kathputli – Indian Puppet Shows

Kathputli is a string puppet theatre, native to Rajasthan, India, and is the most popular form of Indian puppetry.


Although there is no written record of this, it is said this craftof Rajasthan is more than a thousand years old. Kathputli is a combination of two Rajasthani words (Kath meaning wood and Putli meaning doll).


Rajasthani puppets have their own unique specialty. Puppeteers manipulate the puppets with a whistling, squeaking voice and are interpreted by a narrator who also provides the rhythm. A slight jerk of the string causes the puppets to produce movements of the hands, neck and shoulder. Many puppets hang on one rope: one string tied to the head and other to the waist. The puppeteer makes a loop around his fingers and manipulates the puppet. He takes ghungru (bells) in his hands and plays it according to rhythm. These puppets have a very limited vocabulary, so the movements play a very important part. Puppets are moved towards each other with speed and with swords in their hands in fighting postures. Greetings and salutations are done by bending the puppets and leaving their arms to hang loosely. ~ via

Do you enjoy watching puppet shows?


This post first appeared on From7Eight



  1. sridevi sridevi April 25, 2013

    Saw these puppet shows only on TV . Would love to see them live one day 🙂 Thank you for this vibrant post 🙂

  2. Laxmi Chundi Addanki Laxmi Chundi Addanki April 23, 2013

    I was lucky enough to have caught a live show during our trip to Rajasthan – It is just amazing 🙂 I got a set of kathputlils as souvenirs from the trip. They are very colorful.

  3. Naina Naina April 21, 2013

    Never seen any puppet show but I so want to have a couple of these for home.The colors and vibrance they bring is lovely.

  4. Afshan Afshan April 21, 2013

    *I have seen my first kath putli show in a rajasthani themed place called dola ri dhani in Hyd. Hope u know that
    food was yummy and show cool 🙂 I played dandiya too and it was a great eveng
    wud love to watch an interesting puppet show

  5. Jana Jana April 21, 2013

    I was struck at how skilled these pupeteers become, when they havent perhaps got many job opportunities. They make a decision to perfect on what they CAN do, and do it with conviction, dedication, and love. It is the greatest attribute for all entrepreneurs, and a fantastic post, thank you !

  6. Suzy Suzy April 21, 2013

    Lovely – they’re so colourful. I’d love to see a show – lots of places to go and lots to see. Thanks for sharing.

  7. janu janu April 21, 2013

    I have these puppets at home…they are called as Rangla -Rangli in Gujarat.

  8. Kama Kama April 21, 2013

    I love all the glorious colours. I never liked puppet shows but I think I would have been fascinated by them if this had been what I had seen. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Francene Stanley Francene Stanley April 21, 2013

    I saw some puppet shows very lke this on the Indonesian island of Bali 30 years ago. I still remember their charm and wonderful movements accompanied by drums and music. Thanks for refreshing my memory.

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