Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)
Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

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Performing Arts

Hatti Nach

Elephant Dance


Lord Indra, the king of deities, is arrested by farmers of Kathmandu and is handcuffed and shackled. His mount the elephant wanders the streets of the city in search of the master.

Reasons for selection

Hatti Nach (Elephant Dance)of Kathmandu is very special because here the dancer is not a human being but an elephant, the mount of Lord Indra.

Area where performed

Kilagal and Makhan Tole of Kathmandu metropolis, and localities around Hanumanduka Durbar Square.

Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Dance

Detailed explanation

Indra the king of gods is said to come to steal seeds of some fruits (cucumber as one of them)and he is caught handcuffed and shackled. This moment, the king of elephants named Airawata comes to Kathmandu to search his master and wanders the streets. When therein, Airawata finds his master and wants to free him then he is driven away by peasants who stand guard to the captive. Unable to help his master, Airawata goes berserk.

The elephant dance of Kilagal: two dancers as fore and hind part, a man with torch playing gongs and cymbals.

Publication and textual documentation

not yet available
Indra Jatra festival is widely covered by authors, but the Hatti Nach aspect as dance form is not covered.

Audio documentation

not yet available

Visual documentation

not yet available

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

no information at present

Data provider

Mr. Shrikrishna Gautam
Special Secretary
HMS/Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture
Address: Tripuresevar Kathmandu, Nepal