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Making Coimbatore proud:Thudumbu performance and ( right) Negamam hand-woven saris.
Coimbatore: Dance, music and handicrafts have flourished over years in this region, now famous for its industrial products, making it one of the important centres of folk arts in the State. Covering Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Erode, Coimbatore, and Tirupur districts, there are several groups involved in these folk art forms.
Historically, those who toiled in the agricultural lands performed these arts during their leisure hours to unwind themselves. Many of these art forms are now performed by small groups of people in specific areas, mainly during temple festivals and during cultural events.
According to B. Hemanathan, Regional Assistant Director of the Department of Art and Culture, the State Government has identified over 100 traditional folk arts and 30 of it are in the Kongu region (excluding the Nilgiris).
Thudumbattam (using percussion instrument) is very unique to Coimbatore and nearby places. Jikattam has the use of thudumbu and thappu in the back drop and is prevalent in Coimbatore and Pollachi area. Hiranyanatakam is a traditional form of street play (theru koothu) performed by artists in Sirumugai area. Udukkai paatu, kattai kuzhal (wind instrument), karakattam, kavadi attam, valli kummi, brindavan kummi, thevar attam, kaalai attam (Periyanaickenpalayam), mayil attam, and naiyandimelam, are some of the folk arts performed even now in Coimbatore and nearby places.
The Department is promoting these arts by encouraging performances during Government functions. The folk arts can be performed even during family functions. Details of the folk art groups are available at the regional office of the department at Salem, he said.
In the case of handicrafts, there are more than 20 crafts in this region. Even now, the region has about 30,000 artisans (excluding the weavers) involved in different craft works. Stone vessels, hand woven textiles, bronze icons, stone idols, and basket weaving are some of the products made by the artisans here.
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