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Amara Ram Bhopa And Group

By December 4, 2023April 15th, 2024Assam, Documentations

Carrying forward the legacy of Devnarayani, an Odor of Culture and Tradition

Have you heard of the instrument Jantar? Or Have you heard of the Rudra Veena? Well, if there existed a folk version of this instrument it would be the Jantar. Thanks to its rustic structure and deep sound, it immediately captures anyone’s attention. Jantar is a string instrument that has existed since ages and another notable aspect of this instrument is its connection to Devnarayan ki phad. 

On our journey to listen to Devnarayan ji ki phad, we came across Amara Ram Bhopa, a guardian of tradition, who dons multiple hats as a Bhopa (priest singer), Jantar player, and even the maker of this mystical instrument. 

The Jantar’s significance lies in its connection to the Bhopas of Lord Devnarayan, a beloved folk deity revered across Rajasthan. This instrument plays a pivotal role in the ancient tradition of “Devnarayan ji ki Phad.” This sacred storytelling, unique to the Gujjar, Jat & Rebari caste of Rajasthan and exclusively performed by men, unfolds through intricate scroll paintings known as “Phad.”

Lord Devnarayan’s story embodies values of devotion, righteousness, valor and so on. He manifested himself in the village of Malasar (Malasari), nurtured by the loving embrace of Mata Saadu. According to legend, Lord Devnarayan emerged on a moonlit night during the Hindu calendar’s Magh season. The songs that narrate his birth echo with verses like “Narayan aaya pawna” and “O Thane jal me narayan aapo aap,” signifying his divine birth from the lotus leaf on water. He is revered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, bearing values of pride, righteousness, honor, and duty.

In a world where ancient traditions are slowly fading, Devnarayan ki Phad stands as a guardian of Rajasthan’s cultural heritage. And the accompaniment of Jantar  carries the essence of Devnarayan’s epic, connecting us to a time when stories were sung, and history painted on scrolls. 

Devnarayan ji ki Phad, an age-old oral storytelling tradition, unfolds exclusively through male performers, often under the veil of night, as they enthrall the audience with their songs and ballads. Typically presented by a duo, this folk tradition possesses the enchanting power to captivate anyone who experiences it.

With finding such artists who not only perform but also preserve and promote the folk forms such as Amara Ram Bhopa ji, the folk forms become all the more extraordinary and endearing. We can’t help but imagine all the other remote forms like this one, and hope to document them in the near future where we shed light on the form and spread its brightness far and wide.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

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