The Bharatanatyam Dance

Hand Gesture

Asamyukata Hasta

Asamyukata hasta means hand gesture using one hand only. Therefore only one hand will be needed to convey the meaning to the audience. There are 32 one handed hand gesture, however we will focus on the first five of the 32 gestures.

1. Pataka

Pataka is where all the fingers are held sraight together. There should be no gaps between each fingers. It is used to indicate clouds, forest, wind etc. 

2. Tripataka

In tripataka, all fingers are held together just like pataka but the fourth finger bends down. It is used to indicate a tree, an arrow, a lamp etc.

3. Ardhpataka

Similar to the first and second hand gesture, you only bend your fourth and fifth finger a little to create ardhpataka. It is used to indicate a knife, a banner, a tower etc.

4. Katarimukha

For katarimukha, the pinky and the fourth finger go to the thumb. at the same time, the index finger and the middle finger stretch out into a victory sign. It is used to indicate scissors, death, lightning etc.

5. Mayura

The fourth finger bends down to touch the index finger. All other fingers will be straight and no gaps will be in between in any of the fingers.

Samayukta Hasta

Samayukta hasta means hand gesture using both hands. Unlike asamyukata hasta, this gesture requires both hand to convey the meaning to the audience. There are 24  hand gesture, however, we'll only be focusingo n the first five of the 24 gestures.

1. Anjali

For this hand gesture, you will have to put both hands together and you would create the hand gesture of anjali. This gesture is often used to greet other people.

2. Kapota

Kapota is where you put the hands together and the center would form into a cupped shape. This is a sign for obedience and acceptance.

3. Karkata

Karkata is where fingers from both hands cross each other.

4. Swastika

Both hands form into pataka and swastika is where the wrist of each arm crosses over. This illustrates imprisonment and to say "no" to something.

5. Dola

Pataka will be formed again, this time pointing downwards. The elbow will be slightly bent in to create dola hasta.

All photos taken from Online Bharatanatyam with the permission of owner, Anjali Nandan.