PUNE – not just a name or a place, but a feeling, an emotion. Divided by religious, political and lifestyle beliefs, however, united through one booming musical note – The ghumar of a dhol!
Whether this might be your first Ganeshotsav in the city or you might be an age old Punekar, you surely know of Pune’s Dhol pathaks. Or at least you’ve heard of them? Laxmi road will host all of the top pathaks on Anant Chaturdashi and guess what; you absolutely need to be there! For the newcomers, let me introduce to you some of the dhol pathaks which you can’t afford to miss. Get there on time (crowds are unavoidable) and find yourself a cozy spot to witness the processions. Here are seven of Pune’s best Dhol Tasha pathaks!
Renowned for implementing creative ideas/themes each year, Samartha Dhol Tasha Pathak became the center of attention and inspiration. The first pathak to create an entire dhol tasha group of visually impaired individuals, and, the first pathak to start their ‘female only’ dhol tasha pathak!
Although this pathak is considerably new, they have enormous strength in numbers. Split from Shivagarjana, Nadbrahma has steadily grown to fame because of the rock solid performances on Laxmi Road during the past few years.
Arguably the most widely-known Pathak within the entire state, Shivgarjana has been performing for devotees and dhol tasha enthusiasts for a really long time. The famous song ‘Moraya Moraya’ and ‘Deva Shree Ganesha”, which went super viral, have their Dhol beats formulated by Shivgarjana.
As the name suggests, Taal pathak is not just easily identifiable due to their yellow kurtas, but also because of their creative and unique sound. Their’ Bhimarupi’ haat is extremely groovy and popular. Taal is famous for experimenting with different musical experiments and if the rumors are true, then you’ll soon be hearing a GoT theme played on dhol and tasha. How exciting!
Officially the only pathak who plays for three Ganpatis on the last day of Ganeshotsav, Shivmudra is popular to say the least. With their unique haats like ‘Malhari” and ‘Mauli Mauli’, Shivmudra have been known to experiment quite often. They have also won the Dhol Tasha competition once, a magnificent achievement for a magnificent pathak.
One of the oldest and the most popular pathaks in the city, Ramanbaug is an all-boys troupe; until recently when they started their own female pathak. Renowned for their strength and groove, their style of playing and sound is unparalleled. What started as a school pathak has developed into a popular name, and yet, the admirable discipline has not been compromised.
An all-boys pathak, Shree Ram dhol tasha pathak is renowned for their chanting, slogans and their dhwaj. Their ‘Shivachatrapti’ haat is easily recognisable and is one of the reasons why this pathak has so many devout followers eagerly awaiting them on Laxmi road. Known for their discipline, formations and energy, Shree Ram pathak is the perfect name to end this list!
All images by Anant Nath Sharma