Session 47- Drishti Bheda, Eye movements

Sri. Santosh Kumar Menon will elucidate the drishti Bhedas in this session.


Samam alokitha saachi pralokitha nimilithe

Ullokitha anuvrththecha thatha chaivaavalookitham


Samam                            –       Look Straight  

aalokitham                      –       Rolling eyes

saachi                              –       Glancing at one corner of

                                                the eyes (one side)

pralookitha                      –       Moving eyes side to side(wide)

nimilithe                          –       Half closed eyes

Ullokitha                          –       Looking Up

Aanuvrththecha               –       Looking up and down(in anger)

Avalookitham                   –       looking down


Test 3- Checkpoint

  1. What is the salutation at the beginning and end of a dance session called?
  2. What was the first set of adavus taught?
  3. What kind of movements does Paydhal adavu feature?
  4. Thattimettu can also be called?
  5. Match the Following
    • Chatushram- 5
    • Tisram——4
    • Kantam—–3
    • sankeernam—7
    • Misram——-9
  6. Demonstrate Adi Talam
  7. Greva Bedhas refer to the movement of the ………………………….
  8. Demonstrate the 4 Greva Bedhas.
  9. Shiro Bhedas refer to movements of the …………
  10. Demonstrate Shiro Bedhas..

The answers for this quiz is be published in our orkut community

You are free to send in your answers to us as comments…(Will not be posted)

Answers Now posted at

Session 44:Exercise- Reciting with Thalam

Below is a video of Adi talam( Chatushra jati Triputa Talam having a total of 8 beats). Now try to use this and recite the natadavu or the mardhita in three speeds. Also try using your own hands to keep the time measure. Once you have understood this, you are ready to embark further on the panchanadai..

Please Visit ( since the video embedding is prohibited by this user, I am not able to do so here)

Video Courtesy: You Tube

Once you have accomplished reciting the sorkattu for the adavu with the thalam, watch the following video which demonstrates a Mirdanga Vidwan,mr. Satish Krishnamurthy, reciting a korvai (or a rhythmmic sequence) for adi talam. This recitation of the rhythmic syllable is also referred to as Konakkol. Try to keep the Talam along with him. It may not be easy the first time. Dont give up, learning the knack of it will be a very satisfying experience.

You may wonder why talam is given so much emphasis in this blog, but then remember “Tha” in Bharatha Natyam is for Thalam. Since we are learning the adavus or steps currently, we arent exactly touching upon the Bhavam or expressional aspect.. Ragam or Music is a subject in itself. Currently the right approach for you would be to master Talam (Rhythm) and Kaalam(Speed)

Video Courtesy: You Tube

Session 43- An introduction to Thalam

While we are learning the Panchanadai, it will do good to understand the Thalam in Carnatic Music. Bharathanatyam is traditionally set to Carnatic Music, and an understnading of the system will go a long way in ensuring a wholesome learning of the art form.

Here is an intoduction to Thalam as written by Mannarkoil. J. Balaji at

Tala in Indian Carnatic Music is a time measure or rhythm cycle. As heart beat is to life for a man, Tala lends life for whole of a concert. It is said “Sruthi Mata Laya Pitha” which means, the drone emanated from the Tambura is Mother to the music and the Tala is like father. The tala or time in Carnatic Music is a series of counts made by wave of hand or tap of the hand on the lap or by using both the hands in a manner of clap.

There are seven basic talas in Carnatic Music: Suladi Sapta Talas. The Seven Talas form the major oft used rhythms in Carnatic Music. Though there are many tala systems in Carnatic Music, the Suladi Sapta Talas are the most famous since the time of Purandaradasa (1484-1564) and most of the Compositions currently sung are part of the Suladi Sapta Talas

To get an indepth understanding into the Suladi Sapta Thala Structure and its relationship to the Jathis let us look at this write up at

Each and every talam has a structure, that is governed by the rules pertaining to it. For example, if we take the most common tala – Chatusra Jaathi Triputa Talam (Adi Talam), we can describe the process of the tala thus :  
1 beat of the palm of the hand on the thigh,  
followed by counting three fingers, then beating the palm and turning it over, then beating the palm and turning it over  
If we count a number each for every beat, fingercount or turn of the palm – the number comes to eight. So the tala has eight units. The units are called Aksharams and the Adi talam has 8 aksharams.  

The first part of the tala which consists of the beating of the palm & counting is called Laghu. Here the number of units is 4 (Chatusram) and the laghu is Chatusra laghu. The Jaathi of the laghu determines the jaathi of the tala so the tala is Chatusrajaathi Adi Tala.  

The next process of beat and turning the palm is called Drtham. It is done twice, so the tala has 2 drthams. Thus Chatusra Jaathi Triputa Talam(Adi) has one Chatusra Laghu and two drthams. The symbol for laghu is 1 and the number written beneath it represents the jaathi and the symbol for drtham is 0 and hence, this thalam will be represented thus  

1 4 0 0

Thus, from the above, we understand that a tala has laghu, drtham and these are called Angams (parts) of the tala. In some cases, there may be half of drtham, i.e., just the beat of the palm without turning it and is called Anudrtham. 

There are seven basic talas in Carnatic Music: Suladi Sapta Talas The Seven Talas form the major oft used rhythms in Carnatic Music. Though there are many tala systems in Carnatic Music, the Suladi Sapta Talas are the most famous since the time of Purandaradasa (1484-1564) and most of the Compositions currently sung are part of the Suladi Sapta Talas.

There are seven basic thalas/Suladi Sapta Thalas :  
1. Dhruva talam – 1-Laghu,1-Dhruta,2-Laghus

2. Matya Talam –  1-Laghu,1-Dhruta,1-Laghu

3. Rupaka Talam-  1-Dhruta,1-Laghu 

4. Jampa Talam -1-Laghu,1-Anu Dhruta,1-Dhruta

5. Triputa Talam-1-Laghu,2-Dhrutas 

6. Ata Talam -2-Laghus,2-Dhrutas 

7. Eka Talam -1-Laghu 

Now lets see how the jathis come into interact:-

In a tala, the drtham has two units and anudrtham (if it is part of a talam) has 1 unit and this is a constant. But the units of the laghu vary according to the jaathi.  

1. Thisra Jaathi  
2. Chatusra Jaathi  
3. Kanta Jaathi  
4. Misra Jaathi  
5. Sankeerna Jaathi

So, depending upon the jaathi, the units of the laghu varies. And the jaathi of the talam is determined by the jaathi of the laghu. Also, depending upon the jaathi of the laghu, the aksharams of the tala vary. For instance, the Triputa talam has the following angams – one laghu and two drthams and symbolically 1 0 0. Now, if the Triputa is Thisra Triputa, the laghu will have three aksharams  

1 (3) 0 0

and the thala will have seven aksharams. If the talam is Kanda Triputa, the laghu will have 5 aksharams and the tala will have 9 aksharams 

1 (5) 0 0

Thus the 7 talams in combination with the 5 jaathis gives 35 talas in Carnatic music. Among these, the Chatusra Jaathi Triputa (Adi), Rupakam, Kanda Chapu, Misra Chapu are the most widely used talam. All the 7 talas in one of the jaathi is taught in the preliminary vocal exercise of “Alankaram”. These talas are called desi talas


 Further Reading to enhance comprehension

Please visit our Orkut community Forum at for further study.

Session 42- Introduction to Panchanadai/ Thattimettadavu

If you did watch the previous video carefully, you would have observed a few variations in beats while performing the nattadavu. This is referred to as a varaiation in nadai.

Nadai (meaning gait) refers to the rhythmic flow of the composition. Carnatic Music upon which Bharathanatyam is based, recognizes 5 basic nadais( Pancha nadais). Hence this adavu is also referred to as Pancha Nadai.

The Panchanadais their nomenclature, number of beats and sollukattu are as follows:-

  • Chatushram– 4 beats-Tha-ka-dhi-mi
  • Tisram-3beats-ta-ki-ta.
  • Misram(Putting a Chatushram and Tisram together)-7beats(4+3)-Ta-ka-dhi-mi-ta-ki-ta
  • Kantam-5 beats-ta-ka-ta-ki-ta.
  • Sankeernam (putting a chatushram and kantam together)-9 beats-Ta-ka-dhi-mi-ta-ka-ta-ki-ta.

Each nadai has its own flow that can be harnessed to potray a particular mood or feel. These adavus are usually used as a wrap up portion of the end of sahitya (lyrics) portions in the varnam to enhance and emphasize the tempo and rhythmmic content. This is referred to as Thattimetti. (Thaati-means to tap, metti- means to hit the floor with the heel while being rooted on the toes ). During the thattimetti , the dancer uses hand gestures and facial abhinaya to convey the meaning of the lyrics and simultaneously performs the relevant tattimettu (or an intricate combination). This requires a lot of concentartion and dexterity.

Let us look at a tattimetti that occurs in a video featured in You Tube…

Watch this

In this clip the dancer performs a varnam . While for the first 20 seconds she mimes the songs out with gestures, you can see her perform the tattimetti from the 20 second onwards..(till around the 3oth sec or so). You may notice that the thattimetti performed in this particular clipping is set to 4 beat/chatushram.

Session 40- Greeva Bedha/neck Movements

Four variations in neck movements are prescribed.

Here is what Mr. Santosh Kumar has to say about Greeva Bhedas

Sundari cha tiraschinaa tathaiva parivarthitha

Prakampitha cha bhavagnair gneyaa greeva chathurvidhaa


  • Sundari – Moving neck from side to side (atami in general terms)
  • Therashchinaa – Moving neck up and down in atami like the gliding of a snake
  • Parivarthitha – Moving neck from right to left like a half moon
  • Prakampitha – Moving neck front and back like bird/ pigeon

Session 34- Shiro Bhedas or Head Movements

Bhedha as most Indonesian and Malaysian students will understand, is a term that denotes a change/difference (from the previous state).This Sanskrit word is very commonly used word in these two languages. Bhedhas in dance terminology means a variety of movements prescribed for a particular anga/pratyanga.

In this session Mr. Santosh will elucidate the Shiro Bhedas or movement of the Head . Let’s watch him teaching his class…

Here is the verse and the explanation…

Samam udhvaahitham adhomukham aalokitham dhutam

Kampithamcha paraavrittam utkshiptam parivaahitham.

  • 1. Samam :natural/ straight
  • 2. udhvaahitham:Raised up
  • 3. Adhomukham: Head cast down(down cast face)
  • 4. aalolitham:rotating the head
  • 5. dhutam:shake head from side to side, as if to say no
  • 6. kampitham:nodding up and down, as if to say yes
  • 7. paraavrittam: head turned away to the side (looking away), as if to ignore
  • 8. utkshiptham: Moving head in half moon shape with chin touching neck (thrown up),as if to command or request
  • 9. parivaahitham:shaking the head swiftly from one side to the other (as if shivering Wagging, /widly moved)