Garadi is one of the popular folk dance forms of Pondicherry, performed mostly in the local festivals. The origin of this dance is from popular Hindu epic Ramayana. The events described in Ramayana, where the monkeys or vanars help Lord Rama to bring back His consort Sita when she was captured and kept under the custody of King Ravan.
The monkeys played a vital role in building Rama Sethu Bridge in Rameswaram which is geographically closer to Sri Lanka. This event is described in detail in Hindu Kaavyas, Puranas and epic Ramayana, glorifying Lord Rama.
The role of monkeys or vanars helping Lord Rama is enacted in Garadi Dance and it is interesting to see the dancers dressed up as monkeys. The dance with lots of bodily movements and rigorous steps lasts for six to eight hours during festival times. The dancers hold sticks and wear unique iron rings on both legs making sounds in tune with music produced from two large drums called Ramadolus.
The unspoken glory of monkeys which as per legends were the vital reasons for bringing back Goddess Sita is enacted in Garadi Dance, which should not be missed if you happen to be at Pondicherry during any of the festival days.