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Yakshagana of Karnataka is unique for combining the elements of dance and drama.


Yakshagana Dance KarnatakaEssentially a folk theatre, Yakshagana commands widespread popularity in the rural hinterland of Karnataka. Yakshagana, which translates to 'celebration of the celestials' in Kannada, is mostly prevalent in the Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Udupi, and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka.

Held amidst rural settings, a Yakshagana performance takes the form of a full-fledged stage theatre encapsulating the elements of song, dance and drama. Stories depicted from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata and the Puranas produce an enchanting effect on the predominantly rural audience.

After offering a puja to the deity of Ganesha, the Yakshagana performance commences with a buffoonery act by "Kodangis." A narrator narrates the story in a song-like fashion, accompanied by musicians playing on traditional musical instruments like chande and a maddale (various types of drums), and a tala (cymbals) handled by a team of three. Moving in sync with the tune, the actors enact the story being narrated.

Notwithstanding the humble trappings, the Yakshagana performances are great entertainers for the rural masses. The theatre troupe moves from one village to another carrying their belongings and the stage paraphernalia.

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