I saw the famous Palki Dance of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra when I took a trip on the luxury train Deccan Odyssey. The train took us through the Konkan coast where we saw the sea fort of Sindhudurg and before that relaxing a bit at the Tarkarli beach. It is here at Tarkarli beach that I saw this energetic dance form. A big group of young men all dressed in traditional attire made an entry into the resort with a bang. The drumbeats reverberated through the air as they prepared for the dance.
They organized themselves on the ground and we all sat around them. Now I did expect an energy filled folk dance from Maharashtra. Most folk dances of India are full of energy but what I witnessed was something that I had not even heard of.
These young enthusiastic men of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra dance with Palki or a palanquin carrying the images of the local Gods and Goddesses. It is no simple Palki. It looks light but the Palki weighs around 80-100 Kgs. You wonder how they lift it and dance with it. They not only lift it and dance but perform a lot of tricks with the Palki. Various dance formations are formed. But at no point in time does the Palki carrying the divine idols touches the ground. I wondered as these young men in orange played with the Palki, never letting it touch the ground. The Gods must be above the ground on which we humans keep out feet. They performed stunts carrying the Palki, making formations. all this to the beat of the drum accompanying them.
The energy of the Palki dance accentuated with the beats of the drum accompanying it has to be felt, no words or even videos can ever do justice to them.