Did you know that many scholars were confused whether shadow puppetry originated from India, china or turkey? But one thing that we know for sure is that Tholu Bommalata , a form of shadow puppetry originated from the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Andhra Pradesh perhaps has the strongest tradition in shadow theatre. (Pani, 1986)

Places in Andhra Pradesh where tholu Bommalata is practiced:

  1. Madhavapatnam, near Kakinada
  2. DCPalli in Nellore district
  3. Nimmala Kunta in Anantapur district
  4. Narasaraopet in Guntur district

In Madhavapatnam, there are more than 50 families off traditional shadow puppeteers. But all the other villages where the puppeteers live have taken to other professions since they cannot earn their livelihood by performing shadow theatre alone. (gatha_home, 2010)

Now, would you want to know how these puppets looked? For that you’d have to wait another week till I write my next blog. So stay tuned.


Jiwan, P. (1986). Living dolls- story of Indian puppets. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of I; First Edition edition (1986)

Gatha  (feb 10 2010) leather puppets of Andhra Pradesh. Retrieved from http://gaatha.com/leather-puppets-of-andhra-pradesh/


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