Cherial Scrolls: An Indian Storytelling Tradition
Since today is World Storytelling Day, we thought we would share a few of the wonderful storytelling traditions that India has.
…it illustrates the origin of a particular community and tells stories of their heroes. Thus, each community of Telangana has its own stories narrated with the help of dolls and masks. The colours used in scroll painting are bright, while the materials are biodegradable. And the background is always red.
This traditional art form are inseparable part of the profession of the story telling community known as Kaki Padagollu. They utilize the scroll paintings as visual aids to tell their stories.
The Kaki Padagollu present their stories to different communities with the help of the Cherial Scroll paintings, which includes mythological stories from Madelu Puranam, Ramayanam, Gowda Pudanam and Mahabharatam. Each scroll can run into several meters.
Popular (and APTourism) belief is that the Cheriyal Scrolls depict stories from the Puranas and other Hindu legends and thrived primarily under the patronage of the Kakatiyas of Warangal.
But from what I had read about them, the scrolls seemed to have been more than just that. At one time, these scrolls used to be a very important part of the sociological and cultural milieu of Telengana (modern day districts of Karimnagar, Warangal, Mahbubnagar, Medak and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh). And painted to narrate legends about the origin of a particular caste and the heroic deeds of one of its legendary heroes.
Some of the scrolls did depict episodes from Hindu mythology, but as is typical of India’s cultural mosaic, the heroes of the caste in question were painted into the narrative through the brush strokes of the artist.
As is also typical of the great Indian tradition of storytelling, these scrolls were used as a visual aid by picture storyteller minstrels, usually to the accompaniment of folk songs and music.