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The Peak (Malaysia) - - Travel -

Trib­hanga pose,” ex­plains Datuk Ramli and pro­ceeds to repli­cate the pose, his neck, waist and knees curv­ing into the same gen­tle ‘S’ form. “It is a pos­ture used of­ten in Odissi and I find it ab­so­lutely charm­ing. When I first en­coun­tered the dance, it was this pose that called out to me. I couldn’t help but ad­mire the soft­ness and sen­su­ous­ness of this pose.”

Delv­ing into the his­tory of the dance, Odissi is be­lieved to have evolved from the Natya Shas­tra, an an­cient Hindu San­skrit text of per­for­mance arts dated be­tween 200 BCE and 200 CE, with some es­ti­mates vary­ing to be­tween 500 BCE and 500CE. One of the ear­li­est known forms of the dance was per­formed at tem­ples by ma­haris, who danced in adu­la­tion at or­nate dance halls that stood on the same grounds as the an­cient Hindu tem­ples. In Bhubaneswar, ev­i­dence of th­ese temple dancers is abun­dantly clear at the Lin­garaja Temple.

Deemed the epit­ome of Kalinga ar­chi­tec­ture, the temple, built by the kings from the So­mavamsi dy­nasty, tow­ers over the city with a 180ft tall deul. Sur­round­ing this im­pos­ing struc­ture are the jag­mo­han, bhoga-man­dapa (hall of of­fer­ings) and nata­mandira, a fes­ti­val hall which wel­comed the twirling ma­haris.

This welcome would not last long, how­ever, as for­eign in­vaders in the form of the Mughal Em­pire and sub­se­quent Bri­tish Raj re­duced th­ese danc­ing wor­ship­pers to noth­ing more than con­cu­bines and pros­ti­tutes. Tem­ples were in­vaded, danc­ing stat­ues de­faced, dance halls de­stroyed and

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