The deepest expressive item of Bharathanātyam,, narrating divine love or the pain of separation from the beloved, usually using the device of a nāyikā (heroine) talking to her sakhi (friend), about her love for the nāyaka (hero), symbolizing the human soul yearning for union with the divine. They indirectly refer to god, since the nāyaka is said to represent the “paramāthmā”, the nāyikā represents the jīvāthmā, and the sakhi represents the guru. In Thelugu, padhams often have Lord Kriṣhṇa as the nāyaka, while Tamil padhams often have Lord Subrahmaṇya as their nāyaka. A padham constitutes of a pallavi, anupallavi and at least one charaṇam. Padhams are performed at dance recitals as well as music concerts.
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