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Kathakali – World Famous Dance Drama of India

Kathakali – Literally it’s means “Story Play”, but it is far more than that it.

It’s a classical Indian dance drama from the Indian state of Kerala ; steeped in tradition, including codified forms of music, movement, gesture, character, costume, and makeup. It developed as a distinct art form in the mid-seventeenth century, drawing influences from a variety of other performance traditions. Men traditionally played all roles, but women train and perform in some contemporary troupes.

Being an ancient popular classical traditional theatre of Kerala, it has its own multifaceted history. Several South Indian drama traditions and rituals has had an influence on Kathakali and its form as we see today, yet this dance form has a clear distinction in terms of its aesthetics, dance form, gestures and the overall style.


Elements of art of Kathakali are discernible in the ancient ritual plays of Hindu temples and various dance forms that are believed to have been gradually developed in kerala from as early as 2nd century until the end of the 16th century. Many of its characteristics are very much older than its literature as they are a continuation of older traditions, but these did not crystallise until the 17th century when Rajah of Kattarakkara, a small principality in central Travancore, wrote plays based on the Hindu epic Ramayana in Sanskritized Malayam which could be understood by ordinary people; hitherto the stories had been enacted in pure Sanskrit, which was known only to the learned few.

Thus did Kathakali as an individual style of dance-drama emerges as a ‘people’s theatre’ from the traditional dances of the past. The plays were performed by the Rajah’s own company of actors not only in temples and courts but from village to village and house to house. The new art form (called ‘Ramanattam’) soon became very popular all over the Malayalam speaking area. The feudal chieftains of Malabar began to vie with one another in their efforts to produce the best Kathakali troupes, and this competition contributed to the rapid development of the art in a very short period.

Kathakali follows the concept that the language of gestures is concentrated on the palm of the hand :

“Where the hand goes, there the eyes follow; Where the eyes go, the mind follows;

Where the mind goes, the mood (bhava) follows, and  Where the mood goes, there arises the sentiment (rasa).”


The Characters :

Characters in Kathakali are divided by emotional capacity and defined by corresponding makeup types. They are grouped first by a few broadly differentiated types :

Satvik : The upper world of the devas (gods) means heroic, pious, and virtuous

Rajasik : The middle world of humans means passionate, heroic but aggressive

Tamasik : The nether world of the asuras (demons) means rude, evil

Colors hold symbolic meaning, as do many of the features. This visual language informs the audience of each character’s nature.

Being completely from a mythological background, the characters of Kathakali and the basis of their make-up cannot be logically explained. Based on their real characters or qualities the make-up and attire and adornment are classified into five main types. Based on the principal color applied to the face forms the classification criteria:

These classifications are pacha or the color green, kathi meaning a knife, thadi – meaning a beard, kari – the color black and minukku meaning polished to shine (radiant).


The pacha vesham with its predominant green colour is used to portray noble male characters like kings and divine beings. These characters have a mix of satvic (pious) and rajsik (kingly) nature. The satvic element facilitates immense possibility for the artiste to explicate his acting talents. Characters like Lord Krishna and Lord Rama are examples of pacha vesham.




Kathi characters are arrogant and evil but have a streak of valour in them. Though their make-up is basically green, denoting that they are high born, a red mark like an upturned moustache or knife is painted on the cheek to show that they are evil. They also have white knobs on the tips of their noses and on their foreheads, which add to their evil nature. Ravana, the demon king is a typical kathi character in Kathakali.




There are three distinct types in the class of thadi vesham viz. chuvanna thadi (red beard as in the case of the character Bali – the king of monkeys) vella thadi (white beard) and karutha thadi(black beard). The red beards are vicious and excessively evil characters. Their faces are mainly painted black on the top half and red on the lower. The white beard represents a higher type of being and is seen mainly in the character of Hanuman, the monkey god. The black beards are the character types in which black predominates predominatesin make-up and costume. These are the primitive beings – the wild hunters and forest dwellers.



Kari vesham is used for demonic characters, portraying the most gruesome figures on the Kathakali stage. Their faces are jet-black with dotted red and white markings on them. Minukkuvesham symbolizes gentleness and high spiritual qualities (like saints), which are in sharp contrast to the preceding four classes.




It is used to represent women and sages. Traditionally,kathakali being a predominantly male performance,the female character are also performed by men. This vesham is used to represent gentleness and high spiritual standing and is charectorised with yellow facial paint.

There are eighteen special characters whose make-up cannot be fitted into any particular category. These include the birds Garuda and Jatayu, the swan Hamsa, the serpent Karkotaka, the man-lion Narasimha and various special elaborations of the standard patterns to meet other requirements.

The characters are grouped under certain clearly defined types; they are not only individuals but symbolic personalities. The striking make-up and costume are designed to perform the actors both mentally and physically into the types of characters they are to portray.

Kathakali Plays

According to tradition there are 101 classical Kathakali stories, though less than a third of these are commonly staged at present. Kathakali is a classical art form, but it can be appreciated also by novices – all contributed by the elegant looks of its character, their abstract movement and its synchronisation with the musical notes and rhythmic beats. And, in any case, the folk elements too continue to exist. For better appreciation, perhaps, it is still good to have an idea of the story being enacted.

Some of the popular stories enacted are :

Nalacharitham (a story from the Mahabharata)

Duryodhana Vadham (focusing on the Mahabharata war after profiling the build-up to it)

Kalyanasougandhikam, (the story of Bhima going to get flowers for his wife Panchali)

Keechakavadham (another story of Bhima and Panchali, but this time during their stint in disguise)

Kiratham (Arjuna and Lord Shiva’s fight, from the Mahabharata)

Karnashapatham (another story from the Mahabharata)

Also staged frequently include stories like Kuchelavrittam , Santanagopalam , Balivijayam , Dakshayagam, Rugminiswayamvaram , Kalakeyavadham , Kirmeeravadham, Bakavadham, Poothanamoksham, Subhadraharanam, Balivadham,Rugmangadacharitam, Ravanolbhavam, Narakasuravadham,Uttaraswayamvaram, Harishchandracharitam, Kacha-Devayani andKamsavadham.

Recently, as part of attempts to further popularise the art, stories from other cultures and mythologies, such as those of Mary Magdalenefrom the Bible, Homer’s Iliad, and William Shakespeare’s King Lear and Julius Caesar besides Goethe’s Faust too have been adapted into Kathakali scripts and on to its stage.


Kathakali Actor’s costumes are most decorative. Although having the same basic silhouette and components,  like both male and female, wear huge hemispherical layered skirts, one or more layered jackets , and a series of ornate accessories. These include four items on each arm, bells and pads on the lower legs, a carved breastplate and cascade of gold necklaces, and two or more waist ornaments of fabric, beads, and carved, decorated wood. Further layers include between two and six lengths of pleated fabric at the neck and ornate contrasting side panels from waist to hem. All performers have some form of headdress – relatively simple for minukku, but extravagantly ornamented for gods and demons.

From the basic similarities in shape, color, and ornament of all costumes to the intricacies of makeup, headdress, and details of specific characters, all visual choices are effective in supporting the performance. They bring attention to the actor’s eyes and facial expressions, they emphasize movements of body, hands, and feet, and they reinforce percussive sounds of the dance. It’s a beautiful marriage of form and function.

Stage :

The Kathakali stage is as simple as it can be. No scenery is required as the actors describe everything by their mudras and facial expressions. At the front of the stage, which traditionally is an open space of ground or the forecourt of Hindu temple, stands a large bellmetal lamp from which two cotton wicks floating in coconut oil give out a mellow and exciting light. This is as it should be, but now-a-days performances are usually given in halls with footlights, microphones and the other impedimenta of the modern stage , and all movements converge on the lamp.

Apart from a table and one or two stools, the only item of equipment used is the tirassila, a large rectangular curtain of bright colours, which is held up by two stage hands before the performance starts and between scenes. Whenever powerful or evil characters appear for the first time, they stand behind the curtain and slowly bring it down as they look over the top of it, emitting weird sounds. this is a traditional formality known as the tiranokku or curtain look , and it is accompanied by an exciting atmosphere created by the musicians and drummers.

Performance :

Traditionally, a Kathakali performance is usually conducted at night and ends in early morning. Nowadays it isn’t difficult to see performances as short as three hours or fewer. Kathakali is usually performed in front of the huge Kalivilakku (kali meaning dance; vilakku meaning lamp) with its thick wick sunk till the neck in coconut oil. Traditionally, this lamp used to provide sole light when the plays used to be performed inside temples, palaces or abodes houses of nobles and aristocrats. Enactment of a play by actors takes place to the accompaniment of music (geetha) and instruments (vadya). The percussion instruments used are chenda, maddalam (both of which underwent revolutionary changes in their aesthetics with the contributions of Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval and Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval) and, at times, edakka. In addition, the singers (the lead singer is called “ponnani” and his follower is called “singidi”) use chengila (gong made of bell metal, which can be struck with a wooden stick) and ilathalam (a pair of cymbals). The lead singer in some sense uses the Chengala to conduct the Vadyam and Geetha components, just as a conductor uses his wand in western classical music. A distinguishing characteristic of this art form is that the actors never speak but use hand gestures, expressions and rhythmic dancing instead of dialogue (but for a couple of rare characters).

Before the first play begins, there are four preliminary music and dance demonstrations:

  1. The arangu Keli, a period of invocatory drumming, played by the maddalam player, standing in front of the lamp.
  2. The todayam, which essentially is a rite performed to propitiate the gods, but is loosely translated as ‘beginning’. This is the first invocatory dance performed behind the curtain by two or more junior actors with no make-up on. It is important in the training of an actor as it has all the dance patterns of Kathakali , but it is usually omitted these days.
  3. The Purappadu, meaning ‘going forth’ , an introduction in pure dance which in its original form was intended to introduce the main character of the play being performed. Now-a-days it is usually merely an opportunity for one or two junior actors – this time in full make-up and costume – to show their dancing skill, whilst the musicians an appropriate song.
  4. The melappadam, a display of drumming by the two drummers accompanied by the gong and cymbols which lasts for over half an hour and enables the drummers and the singers to demonstrate their skills. As the first part of the meappadam the musicians sing a padam (song) from the Gita Govinda, which begins with the word Manjutara , by which term it is sometimes known.

There are 24 basic mudras—the permutation and combination of which would add up a chunk of the hand gestures in vogue today. Each can again can be classified into ‘Samaana-mudras'(one mudra symbolising two entities) or misra-mudras (both the hands are used to show these mudras). The mudras are a form of sign language used to tell the story.

The main facial expressions of a Kathakali artist are the ‘navarasams’ (Navarasas in anglicised form) (literal translation: Nine Tastes, but more loosely translated as nine feelings or expressions) which are :

Sringaram (amour), Hasyam (ridicule, humour), Bhayanakam (fear),Karunam (pathos), Roudram (anger, wrath), Veeram (valour), Beebhatsam (disgust), Adbhutam (wonder, amazement), Shantam(tranquility, peace).

The Musicians

At the back of stage on the left as seen from the audience stand the two drummers. One plays the chenda, a cylindrical drum held vertically and for the most part played with sticks, the other plays the maddalam, held horizontally and played with the hands. The left end is played with the palm and the right end with the fingers, each of which has a finger stall made of rice and lime applied to strip of cloth. The drummers accompany the action, supply the rhythm and emphasise the mudras and dance steps of the actors.

The orchestra is completed with two singers who stand on the right of the stage. The  leader plays a gong and his assistant a pair of cymbals. The singers tell the story of the play, verse by verse , in Sanskritized Malayalam which the actors interpret word for word through their mudras and facial expressions, after which there is a period of pure dance called kalasam, when part of the first verse is repeated. After this the next verses are sung, and in this way the whole story of the play is told.

Types of Acting in Kathakali

There are four types of acting also called Chaturvidha Abhinaya.

Angika Abhinaya:

This includes an elaborate combination of mime, gestures, appropriate movements, poses, attitudes, facial expressions and basically the whole body of the actor. Kalasams are dance passages that have an important significance on the performances of Kathakali. While retaining a pure dance it attempts to enhance and utilize appropriate bhavas.

Hand gestures are another significant involvement in Angika. This is because the interpretation of text is conveyed through the gestures. The regional text on the Hastas (hand gestures) mainly used in Kathakali is the Hastalakshna Deepika.

Vachika Abhinaya:

One of the many distinguishing elements of Kathakali is the lack of speech and the text in the form of songs and verses (Vachika) is sung and recited by vocalists. These texts are interpreted and performed by actors by the use of an innovative method called Angikabhinaya. Sopanasangeetham, a regional style of music has been developed by Kathakali although most of the vocal music employed in it is based on the Carnatic system. The main ambition of this style is the establishment of the appropriate moods and sentiments.

Satvika Abhinaya:

The Rasabhinava, a highly stylized technique to invoke Bhava has been developed by Kathakali. Natya Sastra lists out another 8 moods called Satvika Bhavas. These are more subtle in comparison to Angikabhinaya. The actor maintains a strong internal discipline which helps him go deeper into the characterization of the role and enables him to master the action technique.

Aharya Abhinaya

Aharya is the name given to the make-up, stage props and costumes used. These are the most important elements that facilitate the transformation of the actor into the most beautiful characters ever seen in the world of theatre.

The Aniraya is the dressing room. It is the place where the artists prepare themselves for the performance. It is given divine importance and to show reverence to the divine presence, the actors prepare themselves in silence.

A brass lamp called Vilaku is lit and a prayer is said before the actors begin any make-up procedures. The same is done before they go out to the stage and also at the end of the performance once their make-up has been removed. These acts only prove the divine respect Kathakali holds for the Gods. It is called an act of devotion and an offering to the Gods and hence requires sincerity and focus before the actor can embark in his psychological journey on stage.



There are 24 Basic Mudras (hand gestures) in the “Hasthalakshana Deepika”, the book of hand gestures, which Kathakali is followed. There are ‘Asamyutha Mudras’ (that is shown using single hand) and ‘Samyutha Mudras’ (mudras shown in double hands) in each Basic Mudras, to show different symbols. Considering all these Mudras and their seperations there are totally 470 symbols used in Kathakali.

  1. Pathaaka (Flag):

There are 36 double hand symbols and 10 single hand symbols using this Mudra. Totally 46.

Double Hand Symbols:

1.Sun, 2.King, 3.Elephant, 4.Lion, 5.Ox, 6.Crocodile, 7.Arch, 8.Climbing Plant, 9.Flag, 10.Series of waves, 11.Path, 12.Hell, 13.Earth, 14.Hip, 15.Pot, 16.Multi-storied building, 17.Evening, 18.Noon, 19.Cloud, 20.Anthil, 21.Thigh, 22.Servant, 23.Travel, 24.Wheel, 25.Stool, 26.Lord Indra’s weapon, 27.Gate Tower, 28.Rampart, 29.Vehicle, 30.Peaceful, 31.Crooked, 32.Door, 33.Pillow, 34.Trench (ditch), 35.Leg, 36.Bolt

Single hand symbols:

1.Day, 2.Movement, 3.Tongue, 4.Forehead, 5.Body, 6.That thing, 7.Noise, 8.Messenger, 9.Sandbank, 10.Sprout,

  1. Mudraakhyam:

There are 13 double hand symbols and 12 single hand symbols using this Mudra.Totally 25.

Double hand symbols:

1.Growth, 2.Movement, 3.Heaven, 4.Ocean, 5.Thick, 6.Forgetting, 7.Everything, 8.Announcement, 9.Thing, 10.Death, 11.Meditation, 12.Sacred Thread, 13.Straight

Single hand symbols:

1.Mind, 2.Thought, 3.Desire, 4.By oneself, 5.Remainding, 6.Wisdom, 7.Creation, 8.Life, 9.Defame, 10.Future, 11.No, 12.Fourth

  1. Katakam (Golden Bangle):

There are 20 double hand symbols and 9 single hand symbols using this Mudra.Totally 29.

Single hand symbols:

1.Flower, 2.Mirror, 3.Female, 4.Offering holy materials to the sacrificial fire while chanting ‘manthras’, 5.Sweating, 6.A little, 7.Quiver, 8.Smell, 9.Which one

Double hand symbols:

1.Vishnu (God), 2.Krishna (God), 3.Balaraman 4.Arrow, 5.Gold, 6.Silver, 7.A female demon, 8.Sleep, 9.Main woman, 10.Godess of wealth, 11.Veena, 12.Stars, 13.Chain, 14.Lotus/ water, 15.Demon, 16.Crown, 17.Weapon, 18.Peculiarity/ special news, 19.Chariot, 20.With

  1. Mushti:

There are 25 double hand symbols and 15 single hand symbols using this Mudra.Totally 40.

Double hand symbols:

1.Driver of chariot, 2.Prefix, 3.Beauty, 4.Purity, 5.pirit of Ghost, 6.Binding, 7.Qualification, 8.Condition, 9.Ankle, 10.Pulling, 11.Tail of the animal (a whisk), 12.Destroyer/ Yama, the god of death, 13.Mud, 14.Medicine, 15.Curse, 16.Swing, 17.Gift/ donation, 18.Circumambulation, 19.Digging, 20.Giving up, 21.Lance, 22.Heroism, 23.Hot (Sunor fire)/ grieve, 24.Vomiting, 25.Delivery/ child birth,

Single hand symbols:

1.In vain, 2.Extreamely, 3.Filupon, 4.King’s advisor, 5.Crossing, 6.Bearing, 7.Donation, 8.Consent, 9.Victory, 10.Bow, 11.we, 12.Single sentence, 13.agedness, 14.Robbing, 15.Food

  1. Kartharee Mukham (Scissor’s sharp point):

There are 16 double hand symbols and 10 single hand symbols using this Mudra.Totally 26.

Double hand symbols:

1.Sin, 2.Tireness, 3.Male member of Brahmin caste, 4.Fame, 5.Skull, 6.House, 7.A religious vow, 8.Purity, 9.Bank, 10.Dynasty, Bamboo, 11.Hunger, 12.Hearing, 13.Telling, 14.Gathering, 15.End, 16.Hunting

Single hand symbols:

1.You, 2.Word, 3.Change of mood/ time, 4.Gradation, 5.We, 6.Human being, 7.Face, 8.Enmity, 9.Child, 10.Mongoose


  1. Sukathundam (Parrot’s peek):

Double hand symbols:

1.Goad, 2.Bird, 3.Engagement

  1. Kapidhakam (The fruit of a tree):

There are 10 double hand symbols:

1.Net, 2.Doubt, 3.Tail feather of a peacock, 4.Drinking, 5.Touching, 6.Prevent, 7.In the open expanse of land, 8.The outer side, 9.Descend, 10.To step


  1. HamsaPaksham (Swan’s wing):

42 single hand symbols and 11 double hand symbols can be shown using this Mudra.

1.Moon, 2.Air, 3.Kamadeva, 4.Gods, 5.Mountain, 6.Valley, 7.Everyday, 8.Relatives, 9.Bedding, 10.Rock, 11.Happiness and comfort, 12.Chest, 13.Female breast, 14.Cloth, 15.Vehicle, 16.Lie, 17.Lying down, 18.Falling, 19.Croud, 20.Beating, 21.Covering, 22.Spreading, 23.Found, 24.Coming, 25.Salutation, 26.Game, 27.Sandal, 28.Embrace, 29.Follow, 30.Escaping, 31.Reach, 32.Mace, 33.The cheek region, 34.Shoulder, 35.Hair, 36.Humility, 37.Blessing, 38.Sint, 39.Thus, 40.Fish, 41.Worship, 42.Tortoise

Double hand symbols:

1.You, 2.Sword, 3.Anger, 4.Now, 5.I, 6.In front of, 7.Axe, 8.Light, 9.Calling, 10. Getting nearness 11.Prevent


  1. Sikharam (Peak):

8 single hand symbols:

1.Walking, 2.Legs, 3.Eyes, 4.Sight, 5.Path, 6.Search/ detection, 7.Ears, 8.Drinking

Duble hand symbols using this Mudra are Garudan (a hawk in Purana), Swan and Jatayu.

  1. Hamsaasyam (Swan’s peek):

This Mudra can show 8 double hand symbols:

1.Iris, 2.Smoothness, 3.Dust, 4.Whiteness, 5.Blue colour, 6.Red, 7.Mercy, 8.Hairs of the body

4 single hand symbols:

1.Beginning of the rainy season, 2.Hair of the head, 3.The line of hair on the abdomen, 4.The three folds of skin above the naval of a woman

11.Anjaly (Folded hands in Salutation):

15 Double hand symbols:

1.Excessive rain, 2.Vomiting, 3.Fire, 3.Horse, 4.Loud noise, 6.Light, 7.Hair, 8.Ear-ring, 9.Heat or sorrow, 10.Anxiety, 11.Always, 12.Blood, 14.River, 15.Flowing

2 single hand symbols:

1.Twigs of the tree, 2.Anger

Totally 17 symbols using this Mudra.

12.Ardhachandram (Half moon):

There are 9 double hand symbols and 4 single hand symbols using this Mudra.

Double hand symbols:

1.If, 2.For what, 3.Helplesness, 4.Sky, 5.Blessed man, 6.God, 7.Memory, 8.Grass, 9.Hair of a man

Single hand symbols:

1.Starting, 2.Smiling, 3.What (This can be done with single and double hands), 4.Contempt

  1. Mukuram (Mirror):

There are 11 double hand symbols and 9 single hand symbols using this Mudra.Totally 20.

Double hand symbols:

1.Tusk, 2.Seperation, 3.Forlimb, 4.Waist, 5.Vedam, 6.Brother, 7.Pillar, 8.Mortar, 9.Speedy, 10.Devil, 11.Growth

9 single hand symbols:

1.Dissenting person, 2.Beetle, 3.Ray, 4.Anger, 5.Excellent, 6.Bangle, 7.Neck, 8.Armlet, 9.Negative

  1. Bhramaram (Beetle):

5 Double hand symbols:

1.Wing of a bird, 2.Song, 3.Water, 4.Umberlla, 5.Ear of the elephant

4 Single hand symbols:

1.Demi-god (Gandharva), 2.Birth, 3.Fear, 4.Weeping

  1. Soochimukham (Needle’s sharp point):

10 Double hand symbols:

1.Broken, 2.Jumping up, 3.Universe, 4.Lakshmana, 5.Fall, 6.The other thing, 7.Month, 8.Eyebrow, 9.Loose, 10.Tail

16 Single hand symbols:

1.One person, 2.What a pity!, 3.Dull, 4.Another, 5.Plural, 6.Ear, 7.A digi of the moon, 8.In olden times, 9.This man, 10.These people, 11.Kingdom, 12.A little, 13.Witness, 14.Give up


  1. Pallavam (Sprout):

9 Double hand symbols:

1.The weapon of Lord Indra, 2.Mountain peak, 3.Ears of cow, 4.Length of the eye, 5.Male buffalo, 6.Pestle made of iron, 7.Spear, 8.Horn, 9.Circling

6 Single hand symbols:

1.Distance, 2.Pledge, 3.Fume, 4.Tail, 5.Cane, 6.Grain

  1. Thripathaaka (Flag with three colours):

6 Double hand symbols:

1.Sunset, 2.Commencement, 3.’Hey’, 4.Drinking, 5.Body, 6.Begging

  1. Mrigaseersham (Deer’s head):

2 Double hand symbols:

1.Animals, 2.The supreme being


  1. Sarpasirassu (Serpant’s head):

9 Double hand symbols:

1.Sandal, 2.Snake, 3.Slowness, 4.Worship of god using 8 substances, 5.Vomiting, 6.Saint, 7.Swinging of elephant’s ears, 8.Escaping, 9.Massage

Apart from these symbols, this Mudra is used to show the symbols, Sprinkle, clapping hands, breaking skull of the elephant, chertishing, giving water to god and message of wrestlers.


  1. Vardhamanakam (Seedling):

6 Double hand symbols:

1.Ear-ring of a female, 2.Diamond neklace, 3.Knee, 4.One who practices Yoga, meditation, 5.Drawn, 6.Man look aftering the elephant

3 Single hand symbols:

1.Whirlpool, 2.Navel, 3.Well

  1. Araalam (Curved):

5 double hand symbols:

1.Fool, 2.Tree, 3.Wedge, 4.Bud, 5.Sprout

  1. Oornanabham (Spider):

7 Double hand symbols:

1.Horse, 2.Fruit, 3.Tiger, 4.Butter, 5.Snow, 6.Plenty, 7.Lotus flower

  1. Mukulam (Bud):

1.Fox, 2.Monkey, 3.Fading, 4.Forgetting


  1. Katakaamukham:

6 double hand symbols:

1.Blouse, 2.Servant, 3.Hero, 4.Wrestler, 5.To shoot arrows, 6.Arrest

The symbol of ‘addressing’ anybody is showed using the Mudra Hamsapaksham. In “Mushti” when the small finger is straightened gets “Baana” Mudra.Using this can show the symbols like oppose, Stop!!, coming, future etc.

There are two types of Mudras:

  1. Samaana Mudras (Same Mudras):- That is, the same Mudra is used to show two different symbols. For example the Mudra “Karthareemukham” is used to show both the symbols ‘Time’ and ‘Near’.
  1. Misra Mudras (Mixed Mudras): That is, some symbols are shown using two different Mudras in both hands. There are 68 Mixed Mudras. For example to show the symbol ‘Indra’, the Mudra “Sikharam” in one hand and the Mudra “Mushti” in the other hand; for ‘Sivan’ the Mudras used are “Mrigaseersham”