Rama Leela, a very popular theatrical performance of Orissa as elsewhere in India, being religious in character retains all its religious significance. The theme of the performance is derived from Ramayana . In some places the performers use masks and there are others who do not use them. We have no information with regard to the origin of this type of performance in Orissa but on the basis of availability of vast mass of Rama literature in palmleaf manuscripts, iconogrphic representation of Rama andhis associates on the temple walls, presence of Hanuman images in various sacred places, the popularity of Ramayana in folk and sophisticated society, give a clear indication of continuity of the tradition of Ramalila. The form of performance as we notice inthe coastal belt of Orissa, is as old as other folk performances. Of course, in the present day performance many other items of Jatra have been incorporated to gain a mass appeal.
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