Pala is a unique form of balladry in Orissa, which combines elements of theatre, classical Odissi music, highly refined Oriya and Sanskrit poetry, wit and humour. The literal meaning of pala is turn. It is more sophisticated than the other Oriya ballad tradition, Daskathia.

Shantiniketan, the abode of peace, was initially a hermitage founded in 1863 by Maharishi Devendranath Tagore due to the attraction of the natural beauty and calmness of the locality, near the small town Bolpur in Birbhum District of West Bengal, about 212 kms north of Kolkata. In 1901 his son, Rabindranath Tagore converted it into an experimental open-air school with just five students. It later became the Vishva Bharati University in 1921 after Tagore received the Nobel Prize. Kala Bhavan is the College of Arts and Crafts and Sangeet Bhavan is the centre for promoting folk dance, arts, drama and music.

In the ancient times, there were saint-poets who wrote the lyrics of poems and songs that were sung to rouse the religious feelings of people. It was by the eleventh century that the music of Orissa, in the form of Triswari, Chathuswari and Panchaswari underwent transformation and was converted into the classical style.

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