About Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra

Born on 8 January 1926 in Raghurajapur Puri, Kelucharan Mohapatra spent his childhood dancing in a Gotipua troupe where young boys perform the sacred temple Mahari dances for the pleasure Lord Jagannatha. 

His father, a khola (drum) player instilled in him the love of rhythm. The sound of the drums, in harmony with the universe around him, the stars, the fields, the land of Orissa fascinated young Kelucharan. Kelucharan himself became a master of the Mardala drum.

Unable to dissuade young Kelucharan from indulging in the effeminate art of gotipua dancing, his father allowed him to train under Balabhadra Sahu and finally Guru Sri Mohan Sundar Goswami and his Rasa party.

Kelucharan later married Laxmi Priya. They lived in Puri, spending many years researching the “Mahari ” and “Gotipua” traditions of Odissi dance. As he said “imbibing the spirit of devotion from the first and the technique from the other”.

His first Odissi composition for the role of Kalavati was played by his wife Laxmipriya in the “Upendra Bhanja Nataka”.

In 1953 he joined the Kala Vikas Kendra at Cuttack, the first college of music and dance to include a course on Odissi in its curriculum. For fifteen years he taught Odissi there, while studying the sculptures and Natya Shastra (dance scriptures).

Guruji was totally immersed in Odissi. He is credited with the complete resurrection of this sacred temple dance, now known as Odissi, when it was at the verge of extinction.


In 1994 he set up an organisation, ‘Srjan’ to impart training to students in Odissi dance.

Guruji restructured the Odissi dance form into 20 basic steps of Chowka and Tribhangi, along with more than 100 choreographies including pallavi, Abhinaya and astapadi’s of the Gita govinda.

Guru Kelucharan made an enormous contribution to the world of Odissi and has become the legendary guru, dancer and exponent of Odissi dance.

Guruji completely revitalized and strategically classicalized the Deva Dasi dance for Lord Jagannatha into the modern day classical Odissi dance. 

Along with Vidushi Sujata Mohapatra many famous classical dancers such as Sanjukta Panigrahi, Kukum Mohanty, Sonal Mansingh, Priyambada Mohanty, Minati Mishra, Sharon Lowen and Bhartanatyam dancer Yamini Krishamurthy are disciples of Guruji.

Guruji left his material body on April 7, 2004 in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa. Leaving behind a league of Odissi dancers and many choreographies that his disciples and grand-disciples are continually dancing, performing and teaching to preserve and carry on his legacy.

Please visit https://www.srjan.com/GuruKelucharanMohapatra.php for complete comprehensive biography on Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra