Which city is bigger Shimoga or Udupi


Yakshagana (kannada ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ, yakṣagāna, tulu ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ), is a traditional dance theater style performed with heavily made-up and costumed actors in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Its distribution area is the coastal strip and the mountains of the Western Ghats with the Malnad region between the districts of Udupi and Shivamogga in the north and the Kasaragod district of Kerala in the south. Two main directions (tit) differ according to dance forms, costumes, make-up and music: the northern style badagutittu and the southern style tenkutittu. The name yakshagana, composed of Sanskrityaksha, a class of demigods, and gāna ("Lied"), has stood for a certain musical form since the 1st millennium AD; today's dance theater style developed in the 16th or 17th century.

A prince or young warrior with the crown kedage mundale and the round breastplate yede kattu. The black vertical line with a circle on the forehead shows him as a Vishnu character

The Yakshagana Theater is performed by professional troops who move around from October / November with the beginning of the dry season until the end of April and, at the invitation of Hindu temple administrators or individual believers, perform performances that traditionally take place outdoors and last all night . Since the middle of the 20th century, commercially successful events in front of a paying audience have been established in the cities and especially in Mangaluru, the course of which is compressed to two to three hours. The performers speak Kannada, and Tulu in the southern region since the 20th century.

Songs and music form an essential element of the performances. The themes, dressed in verse, come mostly from the great Indian epics Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. The theater director and narrator (bhagavata) sets the time with a cymbal (tala), his accompanying musicians play the double-cone drum (maddale), the cylinder drum (chande) and as a drone instrument, harmonium or shrutibox.



Duryodhana, the eldest of the 100 Kaurava brothers in the Mahabharata

The yakshagana music and dance style was once common over a large area of ​​the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. When the Muslim Deccan sultanates finally defeated the Vijayanagar Empire at the Battle of Talikota in 1565, many Brahmin families fled Karnataka and settled in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. In this city and in some villages in the area they developed the form of the song, which they had brought along in the Bhakti tradition kirtanas. From the 17th century there are numerous references to the performance practice of the yakshagana dance drama, which was composed at the court of Thanjavur and cultivated with the active support of the kings. The Yakshagana music style there contained both older song genres and dvipada, dhavala, ela and ragada as well as pada, a contemporary composition in kirtana-Style.

The Muslim rulers of Golkonda also created a liberal atmosphere in the 17th century in which Hindu culture and especially the Bhakti movement could flourish. The Bhakti devotee Madanna was employed as a minister to King Abul Hasan Qutb Shah (Tana Shah, ruled 1672–1687) of Golkonda and organized Yakshagana troops himself who traveled around the country to spread the Bhakti belief.[11]

Today Yakshagana belongs mainly to the Kannada language area. The two main styles are the northern style yakshagana badagutittu from Uttara Kannada (Northern Canara style) and yakshagana tenkutittu by Dakshina Kannada (southern style). Other forms known as Yakshagana are doddata in Karnataka, yakshagana kuchipudi and yakshagana kuravanji in Andhra Pradesh as well yakshagana bhagavata mela in Tamil Nadu.[12]

Kuravanji belongs to the tribal groups of Narikurava and Yerakula. The main character in the stories about the love affair of a princess is a Narikurava fortune teller. The popular (desi) Stories found their way to the royal court of Thanjavur from the 17th century, where they were introduced into classical poetry (marga) have been adopted.[13]Bhagavata mela is a ritual theater belonging to the Bhakti tradition of Tamil Nadu, which until today is only performed at the temples in three villages around Thanjavur and whose themes come from the Bhagavatapurana.[14] The focus of dissemination of the folk drama doddata (also mudalapaya) is in the northeast of Karnataka. Mythological battles are re-enacted in powerful dances, the language of the dialogues presented in a high voice in an endless torrent of words is heavily interspersed with Sanskrit words.[15] Other popular theater styles included in Yakshagana are mudalpaya in southern Karnataka, the ritual mask dance somana kunita,[16]kelike and ghattadakore in the North. In Andhra Pradesh the similar style occurs vithi natakam (Sanskrit "street drama"), which are also related kattaikkuttu (also terukkuttu)[17] in Tamil Nadu and tamasha in Maharashtra. There is also a stylistic relationship between North Indian folk dramas with dance elements and a purely entertaining character such as nautanki, the widespread swang-Tradition and the folk drama khyal of Rajasthan. The dance styles of Karnataka are under the general term bayalata in summary, which means "outdoor performance".

The best known form is yakshagana badagatittu bayalata. According to KS Karanth, the origin of this style lies in the Malnad Mountains between Udupi and Ikkeri (in the Shivamogga district), as most of the early writers of pieces come from this area and Udupi has been a center of Krishna worship in Bhakti since the 13th century. Is cult. The earlier regional names of Yakshagana, bhagavatara ata and dashavatara ata, support this assumption. Bhagavatara ata means that it is in the pieces around the dash avatar, so the "ten avatars" Vishnus goes, bhagavatara ata refers to the Purana Srimad Bhagavatam and ata is called "stage play"[18]

In contrast to Krishna, his brother Balarama is only venerated in a few places in India. The fact that there is a Balarama temple near Udupi is a further indication, because the worship of Balarama is one of the rituals of the yakshagana badagatittu.[19]

Performance practice

Yakshagana is characterized by a popular, ritualized concept and a classic, aesthetic form. The content basis is formed by the prasangas (episodes) in which the mythological stories are processed in verse. The prasangas are adaptations of the Kannada-language versions of the great epics and the Puranas. The Mahabharata was considered by Kumara Vyasa (Naranappa, 15th century) Gadugu Bharata rewritten in Kannada, the current Kannada version of the Ramayana with the title comes from Narahari (16th century) Torave Ramayana. Any of the supposedly over 500 in existence prasangas, 40 to 50 of which are performed regularly, contains around 100 to 200 songs, which are overwritten with notes for the musical implementation, i.e. with the names for the raga (melodic basis) and the tala (rhythmic structure) to be used. With these additional information, the musical composition is sufficiently determined.


The demon (Asura) Bhasmasura, how he is defeated in a tricky dance by the beautiful Mohini, a descent of Vishnu. Story from the Bhagavatapurana

Basically the brave triumphs over the bad in the plays and in the end everything turns out well after a great battle. Usually the gods have to intervene and ensure a happy ending. The only drama without a battle is a love story about Krishna and Chandravali. Krishna flirts with Chandravali, his wife Rukmini's sister. Although the bhagavata performs his songs in everyday language, they are difficult to understand in the soundscape of the drums. The dance performances represent only a small part of the entire performance, which is why the audience, despite the explanations of the bhagavata It is difficult to recognize the individual characters and to follow the course of the plot.

In the past, male actors embodied both gender roles, today women can also take on all roles. Specific movement patterns and step sequences are assigned to the individual characters. The most common are circular motions, semicircles, zigzag motions, figure eight and straight steps forward in all directions. There are jumps, pirouettes and turns on your knees. The origin of many fixed movements lies in the ritual dances nagamandala, which are performed for the snake god Naga, other dances have more creative freedom and only obey the rhythmic guidelines of the drums. The choice of hand movements is limited, typical for Yakshagana are hands that twist back and forth in a helical shape and lengthen a corresponding movement of the upper body and shoulders.[20]

In addition to human actors, Yakshagana pieces are also performed as puppet theater with marionettes. The approx. 45 centimeter high figures adhere exactly to the stylistic guidelines of their larger models.[21]

Costumes and makeup

Except for a few marginal characters, the characters do not come from the everyday world, but from mythology and are accordingly portrayed fantastically. Other costumes belong to gods (vesha), Face-paints and headdresses than to hunters who can be recognized by their turbans. The evil nature of demons should be clearly recognizable. Costumes and makeup are classified according to the basic characteristics of the characters. The brightly colored make-up, which looks like a mask and almost hides the muscular play of the face, is of particular importance. Real masks wear im badagatittu-Style only three figures: the head of the sacrificial horse in Ashvamedha, the bull Nandi and a certain ghost. In the light of the oil lamps or, more recently, of the electric lighting, the gold and silver decorative stripes on the costumes and on the high, radiant headdresses glisten.

There is a standardized equipment for male roles, which is individualized by the color of the robe. Dharmaraya, the righteous person, wears a green jacket and differs from his more spirited brothers Bhima and Arjuna with red jackets. Dharmaraja is the honorary name for the god of death Yama and in the Mahabharata refers to Yudhisthira, the oldest of the Pandavas. Other jackets are black. The age of the figure can be recognized by the length of the beard and the length of the beard, the hair color and the type of headdress. The jackets get longer with age.[22]

Two of the two main currents in Hinduism are Shaivism and Vishnuism. The ones in the prasangas acting characters are typified as follows, with most of them belonging to the Vishnuitic and a few (designated) to the Shivaitic direction:

  • noble male warriors, kings, princes and gods,
  • female figures such as queens, princesses, goddesses and servants,
  • the Guru (Acharya), a religious teacher who especially teaches the art of war in Yakshagana (Shivaitic),
  • the mythical sage or seer, Rishi (partly Shivaitic),
  • a hunter or forest dweller of a warlike nature, Kirata,
  • a Gandharva, generally these are heavenly beings concerned with music, in Yakshagana it is a rather vicious forest dweller,
  • the demon Rakshasa, as a female character Rakshasi and family members who are not considered demons (Shivaitic),
  • female combatants and
  • animals belonging to the heaven of gods such as the monkey god Hanuman in the Ramayana; the bird Garuda, Vishnu's mount; and Shiva's mount, the bull Nandi.
  • Not in the prasangaThe comic character Hasyagara is mentioned, who acts as a guard, servant or messenger.

Except for a jacket (dagale) a typical costume of a male figure includes black wide pants (ijaru); a ten meter long, red and yellow patterned strip of fabric (kase sire, of cheese "Hip band" and hindisari, the wrap of women), which reaches from the hips to just above the floor and is pulled up between the legs like a dhoti; a thick chain looped around the neck several times (koralu addike); a circular breastplate (yede kattu); Epaulettes (tola bapuri); Belt and belt buckles (odyana); Tires on wrists (kai chinna) and on the ankles (kalu kadage) and bells (gejje) there. Female characters wear a tight-fitting blouse (ravake), the sire hanging long and with its free end (kannada seragu, hindi aanchal) slung over the chest and left shoulder, a wide belt (sontada dabu) around the waist, the headdress (mundale) as a crown (sirobhusana), Bangles (bale) on the wrists, lush necklaces (kanthihara), a badge (nattu) on the nose and earrings (ole kuchu).

The shiny ornaments on clothing consist of wooden shapes covered with gold or silver foil and sewn-on mirrors. The colors red and green tend to be based on the temperament of the characters, deviations occur when the color of the jacket is to be related to that of the headdress. The two often belligerent forest dwellers, Gandharva and Kirata, do not wear red, but green jackets because they contrast in color with their red head structures (mundasu) form.

Make-up before the performance

The make-up of the Yakshagana figures is based on the definitions of the Hindu tradition. Vishnu devotees paint their face with a certain arrangement of vertical stripes (tilaka). Shiva followers prefer horizontal stripes, a vertical, lenticular sign that symbolizes Shiva's third eye or the trident (trishula, also as a lying semicircle). Corresponding patterns mark the characters in Yakshagana. Warriors and kings usually have a black vertical line on their foreheads, which is surrounded by a white field, this field is occasionally bordered by a red border. The five Vishnuit symbols (mudras, "seal", otherwise hand gestures) can be found in a simplified form on the temples of the Yakshagana figures. You put the clay target (chakra), the snail horn (shankha), the club (gada), the lotus flower (padma) and Vishnu as Narayana and are mixed with one, in a paste of white earth (gopichananda) or ocher-colored clay pressed brass stamp. With the Yakshagana characters, the mudras are not painted on with a stamp, but in a religious act with the middle finger of the right hand. Gandharva and Kirata look terrifying through an oval red field around their eyes. The monkeys from the Ramayana, Hanuman, Sugriva and Vali, also wear Vishnuitic patterns with a black line and a circle in the middle on their brightly colored faces.

Shivaitic signs only occur with the Guru, the Rishi and the Rakshasas. These figures can be recognized by horizontal white lines, sometimes alternating with red, on the forehead. The character has no special name and is commonly known as bhasma known. This is the name of the holy ash with which devout Hindus rub their face and body during ritual cleansing. The dark character of the Rakshasas is again expressed by red-rimmed eyes.

Five colors are used: white (kannada bili) consists of zinc oxide, red (kannada kempu, as the red color in Yakshagana inglika) consisted of mercury oxide, yellow (haladi) is powdered aura pigment and black is either carbon black (kadige) or kohl paste that is commercially available as a ready-to-use mixture. Only a female demon (Rakshasi) and Hanuman have a green face. With rust-red color (kumkuma) is occasionally darkened to a glowing red. Apart from the Rakshasa, who paints his colors directly on the face, the other actors first apply a light orange primer and then the desired final color. After the performance is over, the paint is washed off with coconut oil.

A special face painting marks the Rakshasa character. A white plastic mass (chitte), which consists of one part lime flour and two or eight parts rice paste.Both substances are mixed with water to form a dough and after a day of rest are slightly moistened and then applied with a wooden stick in beads about two centimeters high. The arrangement of the stripes is left to the imagination of the actor. Except for the rakshasas chitte with some heavenly animals in front of and with Atikaya, the son of the demon king Ravana and his second wife Dhyanamalini. Like Hanuman, he wears chitte-Paste and multicolored vertical stripes on his forehead.

A black mustache (fair) and a beard (kangri) are signs of an adult figure, young people do not have a beard, the long woolen beard of very old men is white or blond. The Rakshasa's black mustache is made of wool, his full beard is the only one made of white cardboard.

More important than the beard to characterize the meaning of the figure is the headdress (mundale). Here the "turban" differs (mundasu) from the "crown" (kirita). The former is a tall structure made of several wraps of fabric (atte), which are lined with dry rice straw on the inside. This includes the one worn by young warriors and princes kedage mundale, consisting of five to six layers of fabric, and the slightly larger turban (mundasu in the narrower sense) of the adult male and of the Gandharva. Karna, one of the greatest warriors according to the Mahabharata and the king of the Anga kingdom and his son Vrishaketu wear one paku yelavastraAnother turban belongs to the warlike forest dweller Kirata. The king wears a crown (raja kirita) made of wood, which is covered with gold foil and equipped with reflective metal plates. The monkeys have their own crown (hanuman kirita) and the Rakshasa family theirs bannada kirita.[23]

Running of the event

The lucky Ganesha is called before every event

As in most popular theaters, the traditional performances of the traveling actors take place on a level place (stage, rangasthala) in the open field, usually on harvested rice fields, they start in the evening and last all night. Oil lamps and gas pressure lights lit up the scene at night until the electric lighting that is common for today's performances began to prevail. A typical common feature in many theaters with a ritual background is the setting up of a holy post at the beginning of the festival. This is how it is for the large Indra Jatra-Fest that the occasion for the mask theater mahakali pyakhan offers, at the end of the rainy season (September) a high ceremonial post is set up in Kathmandu. The same thing happens in East India before the beginning of the chhau-Mask dances at Chaitra Parva-Firmly. Parallels can be found in Japan and Korea. For the Yakshagana in the evening, the performance location is ritually defined by the erection of four posts that delimit a rectangular stage of around 4.5 × 5.5 meters. One narrow side forms the edge of the audience, as a stage background a curtain is stretched between the two rear posts. According to Indian tradition, mango branches tied to the tips of the posts are said to bring good luck.

The musicians sit on the stage on a platform in front of the rear end of the stage and behind a low panel of fabric (tere), which two stage assistants standing on the side hold taut. With a similar low curtain, the musicians will be at the kathakali and kutiyattam hidden in Kerala.[24]

Each troupe consists of at least 15 actors, the veshadharis (vesha, "Clothing", "costume"), and 5 musicians (heaven). Next to the bhagavata, the lead singer and conductor, include: His assistant sangitagara; the male lead Eradaneya vesha; the demon Rakshasa vesha; a demoness Rakshasi vesha; two Mundasu veshas (who wear the headdress of the same name); a Purusha vesha as the second male leading actor; Muraneya vesha, the third male role; Mukhya strivesha, the female lead actress; Sakhi strivesha, the second female role and Muraney strivesha, the third. The two who appeared at the beginning are called Balarama and Krishna as adolescents balagopalas. Two assistants are still missing, kodangis, and the fool Hasyagara. Belong to the music group maddalegara, the leading player of the double cone drum maddale, two more maddale-Player and a chandegara, Player of the cylinder drum chande. A manager, who regulates the organization and finances, and twelve technical assistants with precisely defined areas of responsibility work in the background. Nine employees and two cooks report to the head of the accompanying team.[25]

Before the performance begins, the conjuration takes place outside the stage area (in the actors' lounge or a suitably defined outdoor space) (puja) of Ganesha an obligatory ritual called sabhalakshana, with which the success of the entire event is advertised. The statue of the god is taken care of by the chief of the escort team, the Ganapati pettige, set up, which also has the honor of transporting the same on trips.

Ganesha may have been a pre-Aryan tribal god associated with fertility. Later, the lucky elephant god as the son of Shiva in his capacity as a cosmic dancer Nataraja himself became a symbol of dance. The Ganesha cult began in the 6th century and became powerful in the 10th century. Since then, Ganesha has been part of the cult of almost all popular theaters and is invoked to remove obstacles.[26]

Then the stage director steps (bhagavata) dignified with his companion (sangitagara) to the stage and the prologue begins. The two youthful characters Balarama and Krishna (Gopala) appear in the introductory dance (oddolaga) outline the ensuing drama. They are followed by two female figures from Krishna's environment: his first wife Rukmini and Satyabhama, his third. They dance all configurations typical for female roles. After their departure, the actual drama begins. The actors enter the stage through the back curtain and embody their roles as deity, demon or king, while at the same time the bhagavata she speaks to. In his sung dialogues with the characters and his monologues into the audience, he explains bhagavata the course of the action and who is playing which role. He is responsible for ensuring that the performance runs according to plan. The bhagavata can be performed by a second singer (sangitagara), who accompanies him with certain musical phrases and supports him when he needs a break.

In conclusion, the bhagavata and some performers, benevolent of their client, who invited them and financed the event, go back to their lounge, where they once again bless the statues of gods and sing honorable songs.[27]


Cymbals (talas) with which the bhagavata sets the pace

Songs and instrumental music bring the performance to life. The theme is expanded upon in the lyrics, and the dancers' movements are based on the drum rhythms. Musical instruments usually include three double-cone drums played with the hands in a horizontal position maddale and a standing single-headed cylinder drum beaten with sticks chande. The drone tone (shruti) today usually supplies a harmonium, earlier it was known as the snake charmer's flute pungi or one mukhavina (South Indian double reed instrument, smaller than the nadaswaram). For the sake of simplicity, the harmonium player (shrutara) the required keys with sticks downwards so that he only has to operate the bellows with one hand. With the cymbals (tala) holds the bhagavata the beat for the drummers and the dancers. The maddale can be heard during the summoning ceremony for Ganesha in the lounge and during the subsequent prelude (abbara bidtige) on stage. Immediately before the performance begins, the maddale some fixed, prasanga pithike called rhythms. The chande with its sharper, higher tone only occurs at certain moments of particular emotional density, when new characters enter the stage or during the great battle.

There are two groups of songs, one of which is performed without dances and describes the outer framework of the story. The majority of the songs, however, are composed in a rhythmic timing that suits the dancers. In intervening scenes, the actors speak improvised text in prose, which is addressed in dialogue bhagavata or directed at other performers. In recent times the eloquent dialogues have gotten out of hand and can now drag on for hours. The old form tala maddale is experiencing a revival here.

The musical structures developed during the heyday of yakshagana compositions in the 17th and 18th centuries. At one time, according to the surviving palm leaf manuscripts, there were up to 150 yakshagana ragas known, fixed ascending and descending tone sequences, whose specific character lies in the emphasis on individual notes. Around 1980 the selection was limited to around 20 ragas,[28] In contrast to classical singers, who should have a precise understanding of the musical nature of the raga, yakshagana singers generally have an approximate theoretical knowledge and they often switch between individual ragas during a song. K. S. Karanth collected about 60 yakshagana ragas. The design freedom is greater for a non-classical style like Yakshagana.[29]

Typically the voice of the bhagavata quite high, often it breaks abruptly after one or two words or stretches individual syllables unusually long. Due to the high pitch and the loud voice required for outdoor performances, especially with the dynamic increases that belong to the battle scenes, he needs pauses in which his assistant is used. Since music has to be heard continuously, K. S. Karanth modernized the performances by adding the bhagavata introduced violin and saxophone instead of the second singer.

The second musical concept, the rhythmic structure, also often does not strictly follow the tala set for the song. There are six talas in the Badagatittu style: eka tala with four strokes, jhampe tala with five strokes, rupaka tala with six, tishra tripude at seven, adi tala with eight and asti tala with 14 strokes. Another, uneven rhythm (ti ti tai) has seven strokes. Regardless of these classifications into ragas and talas, religious devotional songs (kannada tumiri), which differ from the North Indian thumri- Derive style. The other folk songs with their own melodic and rhythmic traditions are themed in harake (religious sacrificial song), tillani (Song of praise for a god or a king), jogula (Lullaby), lavani (Work song, humorous) and sobhane (erotic song at weddings).[30][31]

Education and social structure

In the past, the drama troops walked from village to village and played in the open air at night with free admission. In the Dakshina Kanara district there were six or seven troops belonging to a temple in the first decades of the 20th century, the troops were either paid by the temples or played at the invitation of a rich man from the upper class. The repertoire consisted of around 20 pieces, which the performers could perform within a few hours on request.

Traditional training

Before the British school system was introduced during the colonial days, there were in the region aigala matha called school lessons, which took place in a temple or occasionally in a private house. As material for reading lessons (vachana, "Reading") served the Yakshagana contents, the prasangas had to be memorized and written down on palm leaves or later on paper. The learning goal was to know the Indian epics in their adaptations to Kannada.

The training to become a Yakshagana performer was done according to the traditional method by memorizing long passages of text and imitating what other dancers of a professional troupe (mela) perform on stage while the student is already acting in simple roles in front of an audience. The singing style tala maddale gave the students the opportunity to hear the songs and memorize the lyrics. During the four-month rainy season from June to September, the teachers (gurus) passed the training content on to their students in a personal lesson. For this purpose, the boys moved into accommodation near their teacher in order to be taught by him for two to three hours a day, if the teacher had no other duties on one day. Before the printing press, anyone who could write made coveted copies of the pieces on palm leaves. If a teacher did not agree with the progress of a student, he fired him, and the others he put under high pressure. In principle, there were no box barriers in the teacher-student relationship or in the distribution of roles, so Brahmin students also took lessons from the lower-cast.

The playing season in the dry season offered little free time for individual lessons bhagavata but could his young actor and assistant (sangitagara) tell a lot on the several hours' walk the troops undertook to the next village. Regardless of the form in which the training took place, it was unsystematic, largely dispensed with theory and its course was dependent on the circumstances. Theory grew out of practice.

A special form of singing and theater belonging to Yakshagana was Huvinakolu, a performance of song and dialogue around the Dashahara festival at the beginning of the dry season in October. The group consisted of a singer and a drum player, who gathered some young people around them, with whom they, sitting on a mat spread out on the floor, presented their songs and stories. Such groups wandered around for ten days, playing in the farmyard yard to receive rice, coconuts, and other gifts as rewards.[32] In addition to the income received, this was good training for the offspring of a mela.

The solo performance Harikatha (Hari, Salutation from God / Krishna; katha, Narrative form) represented a further possibility to pass on the classic myth tradition in verse and as musical entertainment, comparable to villu pattu, a popular storytelling tradition in Tamil Nadu. Harikatha groups came to a place by invitation from temples or wealthy landowners for one or more days.

For the boys, lessons began when they were eight to ten years old, when they were given free food during the dry season mela hooked up and wandered around with her. There were class differences between boys who belonged to the performers' relatives and were privileged and the others who did not find proper work at home after leaving school and should not be a burden on their parents. The latter were also allowed to study, were given food, but were otherwise treated as henchmen. They washed the clothes and wore the equipment. The bhagavata or another teacher of the troop received some money for his lessons from the privileged students (kanike). Most of the things a student learned and learns to this day as a participant in the nightly performances.[33]

His first role is that of the young prankster (kodangi), whose dancing skills do not have to be particularly pronounced. One, two, or up to six kodangis can get active by jumping and doing some simple dance steps. From the third season the student changes as balagopala vesha into the role of the youthful Krishna or Balarama. He now practices all seven dance rhythms (talas), so learn talajnana, knowing the rhythm patterns, and singing songs in praise of Krishna. Balagopalas are from kodangis accompanied, so the little older ones already show their dance steps to the beginners. During this time the student makes the first attempts to wear the turban (kedage mundale) and to wrap his saree-like cloth and apply a simple make-up.

Then, after the learning phase of the kodangi and des balagopala vesha, he slips into female roles that represent two of Krishna's wives (striveshas) and the physical expression of emotions abhinaya desire. These also appear on stage after the first two roles. The long one oddolaga-Dance before the start of the actual piece, a specialty of Yakshagana, all characters dance together in a circle for about half an hour. This gives students the opportunity to observe a large number of the yakshagana dance moves during the bhagavata guides them on stage.

After four to five years, the student has worked his way up to the young warrior heroes Abhimanyu and Babhruvahana, two of Arjuna's sons. Now he should gradually be able to deliver improvised, literarily demanding speeches. The later roles are assigned according to the physical appearance of the performer; elegant, slender actors inevitably take on female roles, powerfully built mimes demons, for the smaller ones the result purusha vesha, the second male lead actor.[34]

There used to be no specialization to the extent that it is common today bhagavata could also play the drums maddale and chande play and the dancer's vocal training was a part of it anyway. There enough melas moved around, each student had the opportunity to join a troop.

Today's training

In the 1940s, a more systematic type of training was added. Professional teachers, who were not Yakshagana performers themselves, taught dance and rhythmics to young people in their own classes at various locations. The focus was on the practical exercise, but included the art form, so that this class ultimately contributed to the popularization of Yakshagana. From here the students switched to one of the melas.

Today's training lasts around ten years, with lessons from a private teacher until you have acquired extensive knowledge. 1971 became the Yakshagana Kendra[35] Established the first college education that still exists in Udupi. Further schools in Dharmasthala (Tehsil Belthangady), Hangarakatte (Tehsil Udupi) and Gunavante near Honavar (port city in the north) followed. The limited number of training facilities cannot meet the Yakshagana troops' demand for trained performers. Its members hardly have time to train their own offspring, as they accept offers on urban stages in other regions of India outside of the season. At the same time, the importance of yakshagana as a medium for the transmission of the myth tradition has declined due to the modern means of communication.

Around 1980 the Yakshagana Kendra admitted ten to twelve students a year in Udupi. By then, almost 100 students had been admitted since the opening in 1971, of which 50 or 60 were subsequently enrolled in one mela worked. Although the course was designed to last two years, practically all participants left the school after one year for cost reasons and because their knowledge seemed sufficient to enter a stage. In the temple of Dharmasthala there is a school for the southern one tenkuthittu-Style.[36]

The troop founded in 1934 Keremane Mela from Gunavante has a training center founded in 1996 in her home town. The troupe also gave numerous concerts in western countries.[37]


  • Martha Bush Ashton, Bruce Christie: Yakshagana, a Dance Drama of India. Abhinav Publications, New Delhi 1977.
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    • Hiriyadka Gopala Rao: Rhythm and Drums in Badagatittu Yakshagāna Dance-Drama. In: Emmert, pp. 188-204.
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Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Manohar Laxman Varadpande: History of Indian Theater. Abhinav Publications, New Delhi 1987, pp. 19f.
  2. ↑ Varadpande 1992, pp. 33f.
  3. ↑ A.C. Burnell, Rev. Hesse: Description of a Bhuta incantation, as practiced in South Kanara (Madras Presidency). In: The Indian Antiquary. A Journal of Oriental Research. Vol. XXIII, 1872, pp. 7–11 (online at Internet Archive)
  4. ↑ Varadpande 1992, p. 53.
  5. ↑ Basile Leclère: Performance of Sanskrit Theater in Medieval Gujarat and Rajasthan (From the 11th to the 13th century). In: Karin Steiner, Heidrun Brückner (Eds.): Indian theater: text, theory, practice. Harrasowitz, Wiesbaden 2010, p. 59.
  6. ↑ Ashton, Christie, p. 21.
  7. ↑ Varadpande 1992, pp. 91f.
  8. ↑ Varadpande 1992, p. 312.
  9. ↑ Varadpande 1992, pp. 312f.
  10. ↑ Binder 2005, p. 8.
  11. ↑ Emmie te Nijenhuis: Kīrtana: Traditional South Indian Devotional Songs. Compositions of Tyāgarāja, Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar and Śyāma Śāstri. Brill, Leiden / Boston 2011, p. 3f.
  12. ↑ Ashton, Christie, p. 17.
  13. ↑ Dennis Kennedy (Ed.): Kuravanji. In: Oxford Encyclopedia of Theater and Performance. Oxford University Press, 2003 (preview)
  14. The Birth of Bhagavata Mela. bhagavatamela.org
  15. MUDALAPAYA (Doddata). In: shastriyakannada.org. October 19, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  16. SOMANA KUNITHA (sOmana kuNita). In: shastriyakannada.org. October 19, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  17. Origin of Terukuttu. Indian Net Zone
  18. Yakṣhagāna. In: Late Pandit Nikhil Ghosh (Ed.): The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Music of India. Saṅgīt Mahābhāratī. Vol. 3 (P – Z) Oxford University Press, New Delhi 2011, p. 1149.
  19. ↑ Ashton, Christie, pp. 22–22.
  20. ↑ Suresh Awasthi: Traditional dance drama in India. An overview. In: Emmert, p. 73.
  21. Award for achievement. The Hindu, March 7, 2007.
  22. ↑ Ashton, Christie, pp. 54f.
  23. ↑ Yuki Minegishi: The Costumes and Makeup of Yakshagāna. In: Emmert, pp. 205-217.
  24. ↑ Yasuji Honda: Similarities in Asian Performing Arts from a Japanese Viewpoint. In: Emmert, p. 89f.
  25. ↑ Ashton, Christie, pp. 51f.
  26. ↑ Varadpande 1992, p. 5.
  27. ↑ Kota Shivarama Karanth: Session III: Yakshagāna. In: Emmert, p. 31.
  28. ↑ Ashton, Christie, pp. 59: 40 Ragas available in Yakshagana badagatittu and another 110 that are no longer listed
  29. ↑ Kota Shivarama Karanth: Fostering Yakshagana Towards a Brighter Future. In: Emmert, p. 176.
  30. ↑ Kapila Vatsyayan, Maria Lord: India IV § IX, 2 (i) a. In: Stanley Sadie (Ed.): The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Vol. 12. Macmillan Publishers, London 2001, p. 268.
  31. ↑ Ashton, Christie, pp. 59-62.
  32. Good Response to Huvina Kolu. The Hindu, October 25, 2004.
  33. ↑ K.S. Haridasa Bhat: Transmission of Yakshagana Art Through the Generations. In: Emmert, p. 180f.
  34. ↑ Ashton, Christie, pp. 47-49.
  35. Yakshagana Kendra.
  36. ↑ K. S. Haridasa Bhat: Transmission of Yakshagana Art Through the Generations. In: Emmert, pp. 180-187.
  37. Yakshagana Mandali. Keremana. Homepage