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Paruveta Utsavam

  • 22 Feb 2024
  • 6 min read

Source: TH

Why in News?

The Indian National Trust For Art And Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is making efforts to get the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare the annual ‘Paruveta’ (mock hunting festival), as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’.

What is Paruveta Utsavam?

  • About:
    • It is an annual mock hunting festival celebrated at the Sri Narasimha Swamy temple in Ahobilam, Andhra Pradesh.
      • The temple, under the governance of the 600-year-old Ahobila Mutt through the 'Guru Parampara', has promoted Srivaishnavism among tribal communities, as evidenced by the Sanskrit drama Vasanthika Parinayam authored by the Mutt's 7th Jeeyar (pontiff) .
    • This festival symbolises communal harmony, during which the deity from the temple's sanctum sanctorum is taken to the 32 Chenchu tribal hamlets around Ahobilam for 40 days (a Mandala).
    • The spiritual journey commences with tribal individuals aiming their bows and shooting two arrows at the palanquin, symbolising reverence and their protective watch over the deity.
    • The Sankranti festival is celebrated on the day the deity reaches their hamlet.
      • While Paruveta is commonly observed in many temples during Vijayadasami or Sankranti, it is only in Ahobilam that it is conducted for a ‘mandala’ (forty days).
      • Chenchus take ‘Narasimha Deeksha’ by wearing yellow robes and ‘Tulasi Mala’ and observe celibacy during this period.
    • The Pancharatra Agama (doctrine of temple worship) refers to Paruveta as 'Mrugayotsava' and provides guidelines for its conduct, emphasising its significance in temple worship.
  • Folklore:
    • In folklore, it's said that Lord Vishnu, in his Narasimha incarnation, wedded Maha Lakshmi, incarnated as a tribal girl named Chenchulakshmi in Ahobilam, where Chenchu tribes honoured Narasimha as their brother-in-law and invited him home for Makara Sankranti.
  • Chenchu Tribe:
    • The Chenchus, also called 'Chenchuvaru' or 'Chenchwar' is numerically the smallest Scheduled Tribe of Odisha.
    • They mainly inhabit in the Nallamalai Hill ranges in the southeastern part of India.
      • They are an aboriginal semi-nomadic tribe of the central hill religions of Andhra Pradesh.
    • Their traditional way of life has been based on hunting and food gathering.
    • Chenchu tribes are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTGs) of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

  • Intangible cultural heritage is the practices, expressions, knowledge, and skills that communities, groups, and sometimes individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.
  • Also called living cultural heritage, it is usually expressed in one of the following forms:
    • Oral Traditions
    • Performing Arts
    • Social Practices
    • Rituals and Festive events
    • Knowledge and Practices concerning nature and the universe
    • Traditional Craftsmanship
Year Recognition of Tradition by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage
2023 Garba of Gujarat
2021 Durga Puja in Kolkata
2017 Kumbh Mela
2016 Nawrouz, Yoga
2014 Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India
2013 Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur

Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region

2010 Chhau dance, Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan
2009 Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas, India
2008 Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre,Tradition of Vedic chanting, Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana

What is the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)?

The INTACH was founded in 1984 with the vision to spearhead heritage awareness and conservation in India.

  • It is a non-profit charitable organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act, of 1860.
  • It has pioneered the conservation and preservation of not just our natural and built heritage but intangible heritage as well.
  • In 2007, the United Nations awarded INTACH a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)


Q. Recently, which one of the following was included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list?(2009)

(a) Dilwara Temple
(b) Kalka-Shimla Railway
(c) Bhiterkanika Mangrove Area
(d) Visakhapatnam to Araku valley railway line

Ans: (b)

Q. Recently, the manuscripts of which one of the following have been included in the UNESCO’s Memory of World Register? (2008)

(a) Abhidhamma Pitaka
(b) Mahabharata
(c) Ramayana 
(d) Rig-Veda

Ans: (d)

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