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The common history of the land also resonates in the magnificence of the phads from Bhilwara which depicts the folktales of the desert kings and their lore from the yore. The artists paint these sixty feet clothes with the lives of their native heroes and kings, complete with their birth, coronation, wedding, wars and death. The village bard, locally called the bhopa, carries this folded sacred cloth like a scroll, fixed on the camel-back to the far-fetched villages. Phads have always been integral part of the oral culture of this region. Poor villagers who are unable to reach out to their deities in temples take refuge in submitting to their sublime glory during a phad performance. The performance comprises of the bard singing and dancing regaling the stories painted on the phad canvas. I witnessed it in an obscure dessert camp of hearty nomads near the town of Pushkar. With the setting sun forming the background, casting languorous shadows over the sand heaps, the flickering fire-light comes up and the performance unfolds in front of your eyes manages to just captivate your soul.
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