Updated: Jan 11, 2022
‘Nayika’ is a derivative of the Sanskrit word nāyaka nayaka, referring and conforming to a woman. In context to Indian performing arts, a Nayika is the one who performs the main lead role, being portrayed as the heroine in a Natya(drama) or abhinaya (acting) piece. The word Nayika, brings in lyrical gracefulness, softness in its thoughts, aesthetic representation and a sensuous paradigm. The Abhinaya Darpan of Nandikeshwar, entitles a chapter named Ashta Nayika, elaborating on the eight varied characteristics of a woman. The same he did for Nayaka (Hero) too! But, in performance presentations, the concept of Ashta Nayika is more popular amongst the Rasika or spectators. This is because, women always tend to gain attention, questions and criticisms.