YAKSHAGANA COSTUME MAKING, UDUPI.

Katta Charvee Reddy
Katta Charvee ReddyIntern um Future Research Design Company
ORIGIN

HISTORY
ARTISTS

costume
DRESSES
TRADITIONAL BACKDROP

ORNAMENTS

YAKSHAGANA
-CHARVEE, AD-V
MAKE-UP

RESEACH PLACE - UDUPI
1
Introduction

3
The Word And
The World

4
Genesis

5
Origin

6
Traditional
Backdrop

7
Cultural
Dependence

8
Craft
Depending
Geographical
Area

9
Growth And
Changes

11
The Troupes

13
Costumes;
Ornaments;
Make-up

15
Yakshagana
Kala Kendra

Contents
a theater form that
combines, dance, music,
dialogue, costume, makeup and stage techniques
with a unique style and
form.

YAKSHAGANA

INTRODUCTION
1

Introduction
A craft is a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work. In a historical sense,
particularly as pertinent to the Middle ages and earlier, the term is usually applied to people
occupied in small-scale production of goods. The traditional terms craftsman and craftswoman are
nowadays often replaced by artisan and rarely by craftsperson (craftspeople).
Yakshagana is a classical folk art form of the state of Karnataka in India mostly popular in the
districts of Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasargode district of Kerala.
This would be considered to be a form of opera in western eyes. Actors wear costumes and enact
the various roles. Traditionally, Yakshaganas would go on all night. It is sometimes simply called as
Aataā in both Kannada and Tulu (meaning play).
A Yakshagana performance begins at the twilight hours with the beating of drums for up to a
couple of hours before the 'actors' get on the stage. The actors wear resplendent costumes, headdresses, and painted faces which they paint themselves. A performance usually depicts a story
from the Hindu epics and puranas.
It consists of a narrator who narrates the story in a song-like fashion, backed by musicians playing
on traditional musical instruments as the actors dance to the tune, with actions that portray the
story as it is being narrated. The actors have a limited dialog during the course of the performance.

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Both the word
Yakshagana and its world
are interesting and
intriguing. It is a theatre
form mainly prevalent in
the coastal districts and
adjacent areas, in
Karnataka.

YAKSHAGANA

THE WORD AND
THW WORLD
3

The Word And The World
Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form combining dance, music, spoken word, costume-makeup,
and stage technique with a distinct style and form.
Both the word Yakshagana and its world are interesting and intriguing. It is a theatre form mainly
prevalent in the coastal districts and adjacent areas, in Karnataka. It is closely connected with
other forms prevailing in other parts of Karnataka, and its neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh,
Kerala, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra.
Yakshagana, like many other forms, defies neat classification into categories like folk, classical,
rural. It can be included into each of these, or all of them together, depending upon our line of
approach. Being a theatre form, unlike a dance form, it is more plural and dynamic. And hence it
exhibits many types and varieties inside itself. However, Yakshagana can be rightly called a
traditional form.
Primarily it is a name given to the one prevailing in Coastal and Malnad areas of Karnataka,
though in fringe forms like Doddata are also called by the same name often, especially recently .
The traditional theatre form Mudalpaya of Southern Karnataka, the Doddata of Northern
Karnataka, the Kelike in the borders of Andhra Pradesh, the Ghattadakore of Kollegal in
Chamarajnagar district – are such forms .
Among them, the Ghattadakore is a direct branch of Coastal Yakshagana, while Mudalapaya is
the most closely connected form. There is a form called Yakshaganamu in Andhra Pradesh also
which exhibits resemblance to the forms of Karnataka plateau region.

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4

Genesis
The origin of any art form is in a way difficult to fix and the time and process of formation
conceived is often arbitrary. As art forms grow over a period, and they include various elements
from time to time and undergo many changes until they appear as we see them today. Theatre
forms become solo performances (for example, Kathak) and may be vice versa.

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5

Origin
Basically Yakshagana is the product of the Vaishnava Bhakthi movement. Vaishnavism as a school
of thought and religion is quite old. The Bhakthi movement proper, spread with vigour after the 10th
Century. It took religion to the common man, to the lower strata of society, those classes to whom
the highly formalised and Vedic religion was beyond reach. Hence Bhakthi movement was a social
movement also.
In order to propagate and spread the message of devotion, it adopted and adapted the existing
folk as well as classical literary forms and performances. It created its own forms. Most of the
traditional theatre forms are the result of this phenomenon. Hence there are clear resemblance
among the members of the 'Traditional Theatre Family' like Ankhia Nata (Assam), Jathra (Bengal),
Chau (Bihar, Bengal), Prahlada Nata (Orissa), Veedhinatakam & Chindu (Andhra), Terukoothu
Bhagawathamela (Tamil Nadu), Kathakkali (Kerala). Yet there are major differences also.
Yakshagana is a member of this group and so its origin is connected with a wider historical
situation.
Experts have placed the origin of Yakshagana from the 11th Century to the 16th Century. Earliest
limit is fixed by a finding by Vidwan Bannanje Govindacharya who says a legend goes to show that
Sage Narahari Thirtha (c, 1300) started a Dasavathara Ata performance and a troupe in Udupi and
later this spread to other places and grew into what we call Yakshagana today.
Anyway, Yakshagana must have been an established form by the time of famous Yakshagana
poet Parthisubba (1600) who wrote the Ramayana in Yakshagana. Because he is said to be a
Bhagawatha (singer) himself and is believed to have founded a troupe, and probably he is the
formulator of the Tenkuthittu (Southern style) of the art.
Troupe centers like Koodlu and Kumbla in Kasaragod District, and Amritheshwari, Kota near
Kundapur claim having a troupe three to four centuries ago. So we can safely assume that this art
form had taken shape by about 1500. However, what we see today as Yakshagana, must have
been the result of a slow evolution, drawing its elements from ritual theatre, temple arts, secular arts
like Bahurupi, royal courts of the time and artists imaginations – all interwoven over period.

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6

Traditional Backdrop
Yakshagana must have been an established form by the time of famous Yakshagana poet Parthi
Subba (1600) to whom Ramayana in Yakshagana is attributed. Shivarama Karantha in his research
work argues that it is Subba son of Venkata who is its author, rejecting claims by Muliya Thimmappa
and Govinda Pai citing procedural lapses in their findings. Because he is said to be a Bhagawatha
(singer) himself and is believed to have founded a troupe, and probably he is the formulator of the
Tenkuthittu (Southern style) of the art. Troupe centers like Koodlu and Kumbala in Kasaragod District,
and Amritheshwari, Kota near Kundapur claim having a troupe three to four centuries ago. So we
can safely assume that this art form had taken shape by about 1500. However, what we see today
as Yakshagana, must have been the result of a slow evolution, drawing its elements from ritual
theater, temple arts, secular arts like Bahurupi, royal courts of the time and artists imaginations – all
interwoven over period.
. However, Yakshagana can be rightly called a traditional form. Primarily it is a name given to the
form prevailing in Coastal and Malnad areas of Karnataka, though forms like Doddata are also
called by the same name often. The traditional theater form Mudalpaya of Southern Karnataka,
theDoddata of Northern Karnataka, the Kelike in the borders of Andhra Pradesh,
the Ghattadakore of Kollegal in Chamarajnagar district – are such forms. Among them,
the Ghattadakore is a direct branch of Coastal Yakshagana, while Mudalapaya is the most closely
connected form.

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7

Cultural Dependence
It is related with other forms prevailing in other parts of Karnataka and neighboring states of Andhra
Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Maharastra. Yakshagana, like many other forms, defies neat classification into
categories like folk, classical, rural. It can be included into each of these, or all of them together, depending upon our
line of approach. Being a theater form, unlike a dance form, it is more plural and dynamic. And hence it exhibits many
types and varieties inside itself.

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8

Crafts Practicing Geographical Area
With the socio-economic changes of the 19th century, arts like Yakshagana also changed. The
19th century produced a big number of compositions. Around 1800, a troupe from Dharmastala
visited the court of the king of Mysore and established a troupe there. In the 1840s, a troupe (Karki
Hasyagar Mela) from Uttara Kannada (North Kanara) visited Maharastra, and inspired the first
modern age mythological drama by Vishudas Bhave. A number of troupes arose all over the
Coastal Karnataka and probably in other parts of Karnataka too. By the early decades of this
century the structure of Yakshagana reached a definite shape and form.
Outside India
Yakshagana is finding new grounds outside India. Amateur troupes have emerged on the coasts of
California, USA and Ontario, Canada. "Yakshagana Kalavrinda" and Yaksharanga in the USA and
Yakshamitra in Canada are a few examples. Yakshamitra performs in Toronto, Canada and is first
to use local live music (Himmela) for their performance. "Yakshagana Kalavrinda" performs on the
east coast of USA. Yakshagana in the USA started after the visit of Yakshagana artist Sri Chittani
Ramachandra Hegde. His performance at the age of 74 was so inspiring that art lovers decided to
continue this great art thousands of miles away from its home. Sri Kidayuru Ganesh who
accompanied Sri Chittani stayed back for couple of months to train new generation of
Yakshagana artists. The result was a performance of Yakshagana “Sudanvarjuna Kalaga” with
participation from local enthusiasts. Since then Yaksharanga has performed many shows around
California. These troupes usually use a recorded background Yakshagana music(Himmela) for their
performances. Other amateur troop outside of India is "Yakshamitra" in Toronto, "Canada".
Another Yakshagana Troupe "Shri Idagunji Mahaganapati Yakshagana Mandali, Keremane
headed by Shri Keremane Shambhu Hegde and Shri Keremane Shivanand Hegde toured USA and
performed about 22 programs all over North America. The troupe visited about 12 countries and
celebrated 75 years in history of Yakshagana.

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9

Growth And Changes
With the socio-economic changes of the 19th Century, arts like Yakshagana also changed. The
19th Century produced a big number of compositions. Around 1800, a troupe from Dharmastala
visited the court of the king of Mysore and established a troupe there. In the 1840s, a troupe from
Uttara Kannada (North Kanara) visited Maharastra, and inspired the first modern age mythological
drama by Vishudas Bhave. A number of troupes arose all over the Coastal Karnataka and probably
in other parts of Karnataka too. By the early decades of this Century the structure of Yakshagana
reached a definite shape and form.
1930s saw some changes in compositions, organisations and presentation. Dance and the spoken
word was further developed and refined. But in costume, a type of degeneration started setting in
due to the use of 'modern' clothing and stone jewellery, in place of handloom clothing and
wooden ornaments.
The Year 1950 saw the birth of 'tent' troupes, giving performances to audience by tickets, with 'tent
theatres' and furniture for seating. These troupes brought in commercialisation of Yakshagana, with
both merits and demerits. Yakshagana saw major changes in form and organisation, electrical
lights replaced the 'gas lights' or 'petromax' lamps. Seating arrangements improved. Major changes
came in the themes, with the inclusion of folk epics, Sanskrit dramas and created (imaginary) stories
forming the thematic base. Popular entertainment became the criterion in place of 'classical'
presentation.

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10
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Tulu, the language of the Southern part of the D.K. district was introduced on the stage, where
hitherto only Kannada was used. This gained great popularity. All these trends continued with
added vigour after 1970s, with a new element of influence. Noted writer, Late Dr. Kota Shivaram
Karanth experimented with the dance form by introducing Western musical instruments.
He also reduced the time of a Yakshagana performance from 12 hours to two and half hours, for
the convenience of city dwellers. Another trend that has emerged in modern Yakshagana is the
incorporation of movie stories. The best example is the prasanga titled "Nagavalli" which has been
inspired by the Kannada movie, "Aaptamitra." Though it has been derided the purists, these
prasanga are quite popular among people.
The North Kanara style of Yakshagana hitherto not know outside, started making a big impact on
other styles. This trend continues even today.Along with all these, the traditional type of troupes,
giving free shows financed by devotees still continue and have a very good support.
11

The Troupes
Yakshagana is one of the most living art traditions in the World. There are about 30 full fledged
professional troupes, and about 200 amateur troupes in Yakshagana. Professional troupes go on
tour between November to May, giving about 180-200 shows that is, a full night show everyday!
There are about one thousand professional artists and much bigger number of amateurs. Further
there are off season shows during the wet season, the anniversary shows, school and college
students Yakshagana and of course the Talamaddale performances. All put together, we safely
say that Karnataka witnesses about 12,000 Yakshagana performances every year!Yakshagana has
not so far shown signs of quantity decline, in spite of very fast 'modernisation' and 'urbanisation'.

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Yakshagna costumes are
rich in color and is
predominated by red. The
costumes or Vesha in
Kannada depends on
characters depicted in
the play or prasanga

YAKSHAGANA

COSTUMES;
ORNAMENTS;
MAKE-UP
13

Costumes; Ornaments; Make-up
Yakshagna costumes are rich in color and is predominated by red. The costumes or Vesha in
Kannada depends on characters depicted in the play or prasanga. It also depends on
Yakshagana style or tittu.
ORNAMENTS
Badagutittu Yakshagana Ornaments are made out of light wood, mirror work, colored stones.
Though lighter materials like thermocol are used in modern days ornaments are still predominated
by wood work.

Bedagu tittu costumes consist of head gear (Kireeta or Pagade), Kavacha that decorates chest,
Buja Keerthi (armlets) that decorates shoulder and belts (Dabu) all made up of light wood and
covered with golden foil. Mirror works on these ornaments helps to reflect light during show and
adds more color to costumes. These armaments are worn on a vest and covers upper half of the
body. Lower half is covered with Dhoti that comes in a unique combination of red, black and
orange checks. Bulkey pads (cloths) are used under Dhoti and this makes character different from
general audience in size.

Tenku tittu ornaments consists of relatively less wood. Ornaments are made out of padded cloths
and thermocol. The vest is much longer and covers considerable portion of lower body.

Ornaments consists of 'Bhujakeerthi' worn for the elbow and looks like colourful shining wings. Its
surface is plain in 'Mudalapaya' and it is rough, thorn-like in Paduvalapaya. Besides the heavy
armlets and anklets, intricately designed 'Edehara' (chest ornament made of wood and pasted
with paper and glass pieces) and 'Veeragase' (a piece of designed ornament tied around and
flowing beneath the waist) are the other ornaments worn by the artistes.

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HEADGEARS
Headgears have a wide array of crowns. The selection of the headgear commensurate with the
role represented by the artistes. The less important characters wear simple turbans of cloth.
'Mundasu' is a heavily set headgear, which gives a rich look to the character. It is broader in the
middle which tapers as it proceeds upwards and appears like a lotus leaf. Since the Mundasu is
heavy, it requires talent and prowess to wear it and dance.
Female costuming is simple and matches with the contemporary style but does not match with the
psychedelic and gorgeous costumes of male roles.
MAKE-UP AND COSTUMES
The makeup of Yakshagana is rich and closely related to the ornamentation found in the
sculptures. The male characters, such as the hero, the king, the ministers and the prince have a fine
'Mukuta' (crown); all royal characters have a bow and an arrow in their hands. The headdress of
the wild characters like 'Dhiroddhatas' is an arch-like headdress. The female dress for 'Chandi', 'Kali'
and so on is, lion's teeth, blood red artificial tongue drawn out and lengthy hair at the back. All the
actors wear trousers/ pajamas to enable them to dance and over it they wear a 'saree' that is tied
in the form of 'Kaccha' with ornaments. The faces of kings and princes are painted rosy pink, 'Yama'
face is black, Lord Krishna and Vishnu are blue. The face make-up used is made of vegetable die.
The splendor of Yakshagana lies with the unusual costumes and make-up of the artistes. The
smooth flow of heavy and gorgeous costumes testify to the stimulating power of this audiovisual
medium.
The facial make up varies from simple to intricate designs depending upon the roles they play. Motif
on the face varies for hero, demon and female characters. Demonical make-up is heavy with
artificial eyelids and white dots are liberally applied to portray the ferocious and violent nature of
the demons.
The traditional costume consists of a dhoti, a pajama, a jacket and a loose gown. Depending upon
the characters, they increase the girth of the body with sheets of colorful cloth and sarees tied
around. In Yakshagana, it is customary for males to perform even the role of females.
15

Yakshagana Kala Kendra
Yakshagana Kendra, one of the cultural wings of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College at
Udupi, established in 1971, is a training centre imparting professional training in Yakshagana dance
and music to young learners who get trained in the traditional gurukula system, the learners living
with their teachers under the same roof in the school.
The learners are provided free food and accommodation. The pupils, after successful completion
of the training, which may last for 2 years, are readily absorbed into professional melas wellestablished in the Coastal districts. The training, along with free boarding and loading, is provided
to the learners with resources partly provided by the state and central governments, partly by the
college management and the rest is raised by donations from philanthropic individuals and
institutions.

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16

KING

RAVAN

LION

PUNDU

MUNDASU

HIDIMBA

STRI VESH

ESHWAR/
DHRONA

The Look Of Different Characters Of A
Yakshagana Performance.
These Photographs Were Kept In The
„‟Yakshagana Kala Kendra” In Upudi.

DEMONS (MALE
AND FEMALE)

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17

vaddanam
daabu

kychina

koraladdi

kedhage

Yakshagana
sari

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YAKSHAGANA COSTUME MAKING, UDUPI.

  • 2. 1 Introduction 3 The Word And The World 4 Genesis 5 Origin 6 Traditional Backdrop 7 Cultural Dependence 8 Craft Depending Geographical Area 9 Growth And Changes 11 The Troupes 13 Costumes; Ornaments; Make-up 15 Yakshagana Kala Kendra Contents
  • 3. a theater form that combines, dance, music, dialogue, costume, makeup and stage techniques with a unique style and form. YAKSHAGANA INTRODUCTION
  • 4. 1 Introduction A craft is a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly as pertinent to the Middle ages and earlier, the term is usually applied to people occupied in small-scale production of goods. The traditional terms craftsman and craftswoman are nowadays often replaced by artisan and rarely by craftsperson (craftspeople). Yakshagana is a classical folk art form of the state of Karnataka in India mostly popular in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasargode district of Kerala. This would be considered to be a form of opera in western eyes. Actors wear costumes and enact the various roles. Traditionally, Yakshaganas would go on all night. It is sometimes simply called as Aataā in both Kannada and Tulu (meaning play). A Yakshagana performance begins at the twilight hours with the beating of drums for up to a couple of hours before the 'actors' get on the stage. The actors wear resplendent costumes, headdresses, and painted faces which they paint themselves. A performance usually depicts a story from the Hindu epics and puranas. It consists of a narrator who narrates the story in a song-like fashion, backed by musicians playing on traditional musical instruments as the actors dance to the tune, with actions that portray the story as it is being narrated. The actors have a limited dialog during the course of the performance. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 5. Both the word Yakshagana and its world are interesting and intriguing. It is a theatre form mainly prevalent in the coastal districts and adjacent areas, in Karnataka. YAKSHAGANA THE WORD AND THW WORLD
  • 6. 3 The Word And The World Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form combining dance, music, spoken word, costume-makeup, and stage technique with a distinct style and form. Both the word Yakshagana and its world are interesting and intriguing. It is a theatre form mainly prevalent in the coastal districts and adjacent areas, in Karnataka. It is closely connected with other forms prevailing in other parts of Karnataka, and its neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra. Yakshagana, like many other forms, defies neat classification into categories like folk, classical, rural. It can be included into each of these, or all of them together, depending upon our line of approach. Being a theatre form, unlike a dance form, it is more plural and dynamic. And hence it exhibits many types and varieties inside itself. However, Yakshagana can be rightly called a traditional form. Primarily it is a name given to the one prevailing in Coastal and Malnad areas of Karnataka, though in fringe forms like Doddata are also called by the same name often, especially recently . The traditional theatre form Mudalpaya of Southern Karnataka, the Doddata of Northern Karnataka, the Kelike in the borders of Andhra Pradesh, the Ghattadakore of Kollegal in Chamarajnagar district – are such forms . Among them, the Ghattadakore is a direct branch of Coastal Yakshagana, while Mudalapaya is the most closely connected form. There is a form called Yakshaganamu in Andhra Pradesh also which exhibits resemblance to the forms of Karnataka plateau region. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 7. 4 Genesis The origin of any art form is in a way difficult to fix and the time and process of formation conceived is often arbitrary. As art forms grow over a period, and they include various elements from time to time and undergo many changes until they appear as we see them today. Theatre forms become solo performances (for example, Kathak) and may be vice versa. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 8. 5 Origin Basically Yakshagana is the product of the Vaishnava Bhakthi movement. Vaishnavism as a school of thought and religion is quite old. The Bhakthi movement proper, spread with vigour after the 10th Century. It took religion to the common man, to the lower strata of society, those classes to whom the highly formalised and Vedic religion was beyond reach. Hence Bhakthi movement was a social movement also. In order to propagate and spread the message of devotion, it adopted and adapted the existing folk as well as classical literary forms and performances. It created its own forms. Most of the traditional theatre forms are the result of this phenomenon. Hence there are clear resemblance among the members of the 'Traditional Theatre Family' like Ankhia Nata (Assam), Jathra (Bengal), Chau (Bihar, Bengal), Prahlada Nata (Orissa), Veedhinatakam & Chindu (Andhra), Terukoothu Bhagawathamela (Tamil Nadu), Kathakkali (Kerala). Yet there are major differences also. Yakshagana is a member of this group and so its origin is connected with a wider historical situation. Experts have placed the origin of Yakshagana from the 11th Century to the 16th Century. Earliest limit is fixed by a finding by Vidwan Bannanje Govindacharya who says a legend goes to show that Sage Narahari Thirtha (c, 1300) started a Dasavathara Ata performance and a troupe in Udupi and later this spread to other places and grew into what we call Yakshagana today. Anyway, Yakshagana must have been an established form by the time of famous Yakshagana poet Parthisubba (1600) who wrote the Ramayana in Yakshagana. Because he is said to be a Bhagawatha (singer) himself and is believed to have founded a troupe, and probably he is the formulator of the Tenkuthittu (Southern style) of the art. Troupe centers like Koodlu and Kumbla in Kasaragod District, and Amritheshwari, Kota near Kundapur claim having a troupe three to four centuries ago. So we can safely assume that this art form had taken shape by about 1500. However, what we see today as Yakshagana, must have been the result of a slow evolution, drawing its elements from ritual theatre, temple arts, secular arts like Bahurupi, royal courts of the time and artists imaginations – all interwoven over period. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 9. 6 Traditional Backdrop Yakshagana must have been an established form by the time of famous Yakshagana poet Parthi Subba (1600) to whom Ramayana in Yakshagana is attributed. Shivarama Karantha in his research work argues that it is Subba son of Venkata who is its author, rejecting claims by Muliya Thimmappa and Govinda Pai citing procedural lapses in their findings. Because he is said to be a Bhagawatha (singer) himself and is believed to have founded a troupe, and probably he is the formulator of the Tenkuthittu (Southern style) of the art. Troupe centers like Koodlu and Kumbala in Kasaragod District, and Amritheshwari, Kota near Kundapur claim having a troupe three to four centuries ago. So we can safely assume that this art form had taken shape by about 1500. However, what we see today as Yakshagana, must have been the result of a slow evolution, drawing its elements from ritual theater, temple arts, secular arts like Bahurupi, royal courts of the time and artists imaginations – all interwoven over period. . However, Yakshagana can be rightly called a traditional form. Primarily it is a name given to the form prevailing in Coastal and Malnad areas of Karnataka, though forms like Doddata are also called by the same name often. The traditional theater form Mudalpaya of Southern Karnataka, theDoddata of Northern Karnataka, the Kelike in the borders of Andhra Pradesh, the Ghattadakore of Kollegal in Chamarajnagar district – are such forms. Among them, the Ghattadakore is a direct branch of Coastal Yakshagana, while Mudalapaya is the most closely connected form. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 10. 7 Cultural Dependence It is related with other forms prevailing in other parts of Karnataka and neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Maharastra. Yakshagana, like many other forms, defies neat classification into categories like folk, classical, rural. It can be included into each of these, or all of them together, depending upon our line of approach. Being a theater form, unlike a dance form, it is more plural and dynamic. And hence it exhibits many types and varieties inside itself. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 11. 8 Crafts Practicing Geographical Area With the socio-economic changes of the 19th century, arts like Yakshagana also changed. The 19th century produced a big number of compositions. Around 1800, a troupe from Dharmastala visited the court of the king of Mysore and established a troupe there. In the 1840s, a troupe (Karki Hasyagar Mela) from Uttara Kannada (North Kanara) visited Maharastra, and inspired the first modern age mythological drama by Vishudas Bhave. A number of troupes arose all over the Coastal Karnataka and probably in other parts of Karnataka too. By the early decades of this century the structure of Yakshagana reached a definite shape and form. Outside India Yakshagana is finding new grounds outside India. Amateur troupes have emerged on the coasts of California, USA and Ontario, Canada. "Yakshagana Kalavrinda" and Yaksharanga in the USA and Yakshamitra in Canada are a few examples. Yakshamitra performs in Toronto, Canada and is first to use local live music (Himmela) for their performance. "Yakshagana Kalavrinda" performs on the east coast of USA. Yakshagana in the USA started after the visit of Yakshagana artist Sri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde. His performance at the age of 74 was so inspiring that art lovers decided to continue this great art thousands of miles away from its home. Sri Kidayuru Ganesh who accompanied Sri Chittani stayed back for couple of months to train new generation of Yakshagana artists. The result was a performance of Yakshagana “Sudanvarjuna Kalaga” with participation from local enthusiasts. Since then Yaksharanga has performed many shows around California. These troupes usually use a recorded background Yakshagana music(Himmela) for their performances. Other amateur troop outside of India is "Yakshamitra" in Toronto, "Canada". Another Yakshagana Troupe "Shri Idagunji Mahaganapati Yakshagana Mandali, Keremane headed by Shri Keremane Shambhu Hegde and Shri Keremane Shivanand Hegde toured USA and performed about 22 programs all over North America. The troupe visited about 12 countries and celebrated 75 years in history of Yakshagana. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 12. 9 Growth And Changes With the socio-economic changes of the 19th Century, arts like Yakshagana also changed. The 19th Century produced a big number of compositions. Around 1800, a troupe from Dharmastala visited the court of the king of Mysore and established a troupe there. In the 1840s, a troupe from Uttara Kannada (North Kanara) visited Maharastra, and inspired the first modern age mythological drama by Vishudas Bhave. A number of troupes arose all over the Coastal Karnataka and probably in other parts of Karnataka too. By the early decades of this Century the structure of Yakshagana reached a definite shape and form. 1930s saw some changes in compositions, organisations and presentation. Dance and the spoken word was further developed and refined. But in costume, a type of degeneration started setting in due to the use of 'modern' clothing and stone jewellery, in place of handloom clothing and wooden ornaments. The Year 1950 saw the birth of 'tent' troupes, giving performances to audience by tickets, with 'tent theatres' and furniture for seating. These troupes brought in commercialisation of Yakshagana, with both merits and demerits. Yakshagana saw major changes in form and organisation, electrical lights replaced the 'gas lights' or 'petromax' lamps. Seating arrangements improved. Major changes came in the themes, with the inclusion of folk epics, Sanskrit dramas and created (imaginary) stories forming the thematic base. Popular entertainment became the criterion in place of 'classical' presentation. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 13. 10 Y A K S H A G A N A Tulu, the language of the Southern part of the D.K. district was introduced on the stage, where hitherto only Kannada was used. This gained great popularity. All these trends continued with added vigour after 1970s, with a new element of influence. Noted writer, Late Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth experimented with the dance form by introducing Western musical instruments. He also reduced the time of a Yakshagana performance from 12 hours to two and half hours, for the convenience of city dwellers. Another trend that has emerged in modern Yakshagana is the incorporation of movie stories. The best example is the prasanga titled "Nagavalli" which has been inspired by the Kannada movie, "Aaptamitra." Though it has been derided the purists, these prasanga are quite popular among people. The North Kanara style of Yakshagana hitherto not know outside, started making a big impact on other styles. This trend continues even today.Along with all these, the traditional type of troupes, giving free shows financed by devotees still continue and have a very good support.
  • 14. 11 The Troupes Yakshagana is one of the most living art traditions in the World. There are about 30 full fledged professional troupes, and about 200 amateur troupes in Yakshagana. Professional troupes go on tour between November to May, giving about 180-200 shows that is, a full night show everyday! There are about one thousand professional artists and much bigger number of amateurs. Further there are off season shows during the wet season, the anniversary shows, school and college students Yakshagana and of course the Talamaddale performances. All put together, we safely say that Karnataka witnesses about 12,000 Yakshagana performances every year!Yakshagana has not so far shown signs of quantity decline, in spite of very fast 'modernisation' and 'urbanisation'. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 15. Yakshagna costumes are rich in color and is predominated by red. The costumes or Vesha in Kannada depends on characters depicted in the play or prasanga YAKSHAGANA COSTUMES; ORNAMENTS; MAKE-UP
  • 16. 13 Costumes; Ornaments; Make-up Yakshagna costumes are rich in color and is predominated by red. The costumes or Vesha in Kannada depends on characters depicted in the play or prasanga. It also depends on Yakshagana style or tittu. ORNAMENTS Badagutittu Yakshagana Ornaments are made out of light wood, mirror work, colored stones. Though lighter materials like thermocol are used in modern days ornaments are still predominated by wood work. Bedagu tittu costumes consist of head gear (Kireeta or Pagade), Kavacha that decorates chest, Buja Keerthi (armlets) that decorates shoulder and belts (Dabu) all made up of light wood and covered with golden foil. Mirror works on these ornaments helps to reflect light during show and adds more color to costumes. These armaments are worn on a vest and covers upper half of the body. Lower half is covered with Dhoti that comes in a unique combination of red, black and orange checks. Bulkey pads (cloths) are used under Dhoti and this makes character different from general audience in size. Tenku tittu ornaments consists of relatively less wood. Ornaments are made out of padded cloths and thermocol. The vest is much longer and covers considerable portion of lower body. Ornaments consists of 'Bhujakeerthi' worn for the elbow and looks like colourful shining wings. Its surface is plain in 'Mudalapaya' and it is rough, thorn-like in Paduvalapaya. Besides the heavy armlets and anklets, intricately designed 'Edehara' (chest ornament made of wood and pasted with paper and glass pieces) and 'Veeragase' (a piece of designed ornament tied around and flowing beneath the waist) are the other ornaments worn by the artistes. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 17. 14 Y A K S H A G A N A HEADGEARS Headgears have a wide array of crowns. The selection of the headgear commensurate with the role represented by the artistes. The less important characters wear simple turbans of cloth. 'Mundasu' is a heavily set headgear, which gives a rich look to the character. It is broader in the middle which tapers as it proceeds upwards and appears like a lotus leaf. Since the Mundasu is heavy, it requires talent and prowess to wear it and dance. Female costuming is simple and matches with the contemporary style but does not match with the psychedelic and gorgeous costumes of male roles. MAKE-UP AND COSTUMES The makeup of Yakshagana is rich and closely related to the ornamentation found in the sculptures. The male characters, such as the hero, the king, the ministers and the prince have a fine 'Mukuta' (crown); all royal characters have a bow and an arrow in their hands. The headdress of the wild characters like 'Dhiroddhatas' is an arch-like headdress. The female dress for 'Chandi', 'Kali' and so on is, lion's teeth, blood red artificial tongue drawn out and lengthy hair at the back. All the actors wear trousers/ pajamas to enable them to dance and over it they wear a 'saree' that is tied in the form of 'Kaccha' with ornaments. The faces of kings and princes are painted rosy pink, 'Yama' face is black, Lord Krishna and Vishnu are blue. The face make-up used is made of vegetable die. The splendor of Yakshagana lies with the unusual costumes and make-up of the artistes. The smooth flow of heavy and gorgeous costumes testify to the stimulating power of this audiovisual medium. The facial make up varies from simple to intricate designs depending upon the roles they play. Motif on the face varies for hero, demon and female characters. Demonical make-up is heavy with artificial eyelids and white dots are liberally applied to portray the ferocious and violent nature of the demons. The traditional costume consists of a dhoti, a pajama, a jacket and a loose gown. Depending upon the characters, they increase the girth of the body with sheets of colorful cloth and sarees tied around. In Yakshagana, it is customary for males to perform even the role of females.
  • 18. 15 Yakshagana Kala Kendra Yakshagana Kendra, one of the cultural wings of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College at Udupi, established in 1971, is a training centre imparting professional training in Yakshagana dance and music to young learners who get trained in the traditional gurukula system, the learners living with their teachers under the same roof in the school. The learners are provided free food and accommodation. The pupils, after successful completion of the training, which may last for 2 years, are readily absorbed into professional melas wellestablished in the Coastal districts. The training, along with free boarding and loading, is provided to the learners with resources partly provided by the state and central governments, partly by the college management and the rest is raised by donations from philanthropic individuals and institutions. Y A K S H A G A N A
  • 19. 16 KING RAVAN LION PUNDU MUNDASU HIDIMBA STRI VESH ESHWAR/ DHRONA The Look Of Different Characters Of A Yakshagana Performance. These Photographs Were Kept In The „‟Yakshagana Kala Kendra” In Upudi. DEMONS (MALE AND FEMALE) Y A K S H A G A N A