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Kesabandha Hasta In Bharatanatyam

Kesabandha is a mudra or hand gesture in Bharatanatyam a classical dance of India. It is one of the 33 mudras mentioned in Natya Shastra of Bharata. It involves the movement of the elbow, arm, forearm, wrist and fingers.

Natyashastra (Chapter IX – verse 189) defines Keshabandha thus – two hands are moved out from kesabanda (hair knot) and held at the sides.

Generally, nrittahastas are to be employed in the formation of karanas (poses), and they are reputed to be of two types, namely, single and combined. Hand gestures for various movements in a dance performance should be accompanied by karanas. In other words, nrittahastas need to be coordinated perfectly with the facial movement.

Natyashastra inspired treatises of a later date, such as Sangita Damodara, Sangita Ratnakara, Hasta Ratnavali, and Nartana Nirnaya, which also describe Keshabandha Hasta.

Vishnu Dharmottara Purana, however, describes this hasta thus – the hands move upwards from the sides to the shoulders.

Manasollasa of Someshwara defines the kesabandha hasta thus – The hands in Tripataka hasta are moved out from the region of the hair. Sangita Samayasura of Parsvadeva differs in defining the movement as moving the hands out from the region of hair to the sides.