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YATRA Karnataka Tourism Karnataka Art & Culture

Karnataka Art & Culture



Art of Karnataka, Karnataka TravelKarnataka is a treasure trove of ritualistic dances, all denoted by the generic term Kunitha.

Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka accompanied by singing. The men of the shepherd community known as the Kuruba community perform the vigorous drum dance. Powerful drumming, acrobatic movements and synchronised group formations mark the dance. Drums are decorated with coloured cloth and slung around the necks of the percussionists.Puja Kunitha is another dance, in which a wooden structure with a deity is carried on the dancers’ heads.

Devare Thatte Kunitha, Yellammana Kunitha, Suggi Kunitha and others take their name from the deity or the symbol or instruments which are balanced on the head or held in the hand of the dancer. The Pata Kunitha (a dance by men carrying tall bamboo poles decorated with coloured ribbons and crowned with a tiny silver or brass umbrella), the Gorava Kunitha (a dance performed by men in a black rug-like costume with fur caps and carrying percussion instruments and flutes) and the Kamsale (originally a religious dance, performed by men with cymbals) are some of the other common ritual dances.

Classical Dances
The Mysore style of Bharatanatyam, which is the oldest and most popular form of classical dance in India, is widely performed here. Other mainstream classical dances here include Kuchipudi and Kathak.


Art & Culture of Karnataka, Karnataka TravelImbued with the devotion of Kanaka Dasa and Purandara Dasa, the music of Karnataka flourished under the royal patronage of the Vijayanagar Empire and the Wodeyars. Direct in descent in the Mysore Veena tradition are Veena Seshanna and Veena Doreswamy Iyengar. T. Chowdiah, who gave the violin in Carnatic music a new character altogether. Gangubai Hangal, Bhimsen Joshi, Mallikarjuna Mansur, Kumar Gandharwa, Basavaraj Rajguru and Puttaraj Gavai are some of the illustrious names in Karnataka’s contribution to Hindustani music.

Shree Ramaseva Mandali
The Ramanavami celebrations herald the music season in the Garden City, when music lovers are treated to a fare of traditional live music concerts at the Fort School Grounds at Chamrajpet in south Bangalore. This annual
music festival is organised by Shree Ramaseva Mandali, founded by S. V. Narayanaswamy Rao 60 years ago to celebrate Ramanavami with a series of concerts and dance programmes.
The Mandali has now become an inseperable part of Bangalore’s cultural landscape, bringing together music maestros like Veena Doraiswamy Iyengar, T. R. Mahaalingam, M. S. Subhalakshmi, Chemmagudi and K. J. Yesudas.


Krishna Parijatha
Folk Dance of KarnatakaA folk theatre art form popular in Uttar Karnataka. It is a combination of Yakshagana and Byalatta with themes culled from the great epic Mahabharata.

Bhootha Aradhane
No less interesting is the Bhootha Aradhane or devil worship, very common in the coastal towns of Karnataka. Idols representing ‘bhoothas’ are taken out in a procession to the beating of drums and bursting of firecrackers. As the procession ends, the idols are placed on a pedestal. With sword and jingling bells, a dancer whirls round in imitation of the devil he represents. Frantically pacing up and down, he enters into a state of possession and acts as an oracle.

The People of Dakshina Kannada perform an elaborate ritual called Nagamandala to appease the serpent spirit. It is conducted in an extravagant manner throughout the night, wherein dancers known as the Vaidyas dress themselves as nagakannikas and dance the night away. The Vaidyas cavort around an elaborate serpent design drawn with natural colours on the sacred ground, in a pandal specially erected in front of the shrine. This nocturnal ritual is performed from December to April.


Drama, Karnataka TravelA trip to the coastal belt would be incomplete without watching the Yakshagana – an elaborate dance-drama performance unique to Karnataka. It is a rare combination of dance, music, songs, scholarly dialogues and colourful costumes. A celestial world unfolds before the audience as loud singing and drumming form a backdrop to dancers clad in striking costumes. Hence the name Yaksha (celestial) Gana (music). This is a night-long event, with elaborately adorned performers dancing to the beating of drums in open-air theatres - usually village paddy fields after the winter crop has been reaped.

Togalu Bombeaata
The ancient art of leather puppetry draws heavily from mythology, especially stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. This art form is still prevalent in some remote villages. in some places, puppetry is performed to seek rain or a good harvest or to get rid of a disease or pestilence.

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