Culture and festivals of Karnataka people

The people, culture and festivals of Karnataka reflect diversity. The people, culture and festivals of Karnataka are truly an area to be reckoned with.

The people, culture and festivals of Karnataka have a strong influence on its past. The kingdoms that ruled Karnataka left an indelible mark on the lifestyle of the people of the state.

Thus, we can find a mixture of cultural traits of Sultans and other Hindu kings. Talking about the people of Karnataka, we can say that of Karnataka and Coorg district

The forest-dwelling Kurubas are of Negroid origin; They are believed to be tribals of the region. These are primitive people who basically lead a nomadic life.

People of Karnataka are cordial people, they live in peace with their neighbours. Apart from tribals, in Karnataka we also find people who have migrated from neighboring regions.

Sanketis, Okkaligas, Voddas, Lambanis, etc., are some people who have a distinct cultural pattern; This is a significant feature that distinguishes these people from tribals.

However, Kannada is the main language in Karnataka; Other languages ‚Äč‚Äčthat have found place in Karnataka are:
Telugu
Urdu
Tamil
Tulu
Konkani
Kurgi
Hindi
English
Persian
Tibetan, etc.
The Kannada language is derived from the Ashokan inscriptions.

Furthermore, festivals also form a major part of the study of the people, culture and festivals of Karnataka. Some of the important festivals of Karnataka are:
Ugadi
Dussehra
Kar Hunive
Shravan Monday
Nagarpanchami
Gowri Hunnive
Shigi Hunive
Navratri etc.
This was a brief overview of the people, culture and festivals of Karnataka.

People of Karnataka

The people of Karnataka are a highly diverse mix of ethnic, racial and religious affiliations. Malayalis, Tamils, Marathi and people from Andhra Pradesh have co-existed in mutual harmony with the indigenous people of the land for centuries.

The people of Karnataka have always upheld the ideals of tolerance. So it seems clear that people of various castes have made Karnataka their home and still continue to do so. Tribal tribes like the Kurubas are the original people of Karnataka.

However, at various times, both Aryans and Dravidians have made Karnataka their home. If the Brahmins and other high caste Hindus came with Shankaracharya and made Karnataka their home, the Tiglas came in the time of Hyder Ali.

Kannada is the official language and spoken by majority of people in Karnataka. But at the same time there are other linguistic groups such as Tamil, Malayali, Konkani, Hindi and Urdu speaking people.

Hinduism is the most followed religion in Karnataka, followed by Islam and Christianity. Malayali groups are concentrated around Mysore and form a distinct socio-linguistic group among the people of Karnataka.

The Coorgs of Koduwa district form a distinct group among the people of Karnataka. Although a part of the Kannada mainstream, they have customs, religious practices and dress codes that are unique to their tribe.

The various ethnicities within the people of Karnataka have very indigenous traditions, customs and languages. The Kurubas are the main tribal group. They are further divided into several castes like Bevattada Kuruba and Jenu Kuruba.

These people of Karnataka have their own language and their own religion. The Kurubas are largely dependent on agriculture as their means of livelihood. Modern Karnataka has a very cosmopolitan feel about it.

Various people from all over India and from different parts of the world have made Karnataka their hearty home.

Karnataka women

Women of Karnataka have played an important part in the cultural and political history of the state. From Gangubai Hangal to Ashwini Nachappa, from Shakuntala Devi to Aishwarya Rai, the women of Karnataka are making their mark on India’s cultural scene.

Modern women in Karnataka are confident and educated professionals who actively participate in every field of human activity.

However, the disparity of status between Karnataka women in urban and rural areas cannot be completely denied. Incidents of gender discrimination are not uncommon in Karnataka, especially in rural areas and among the urban poor.

The Karnataka State Women’s Commission has recently constituted a panel to undertake an in-depth study of the status of women in Karnataka. It will be followed by concrete and planned steps to alleviate their plight.

In recent times the women of Karnataka have been very active for their upliftment in the society. The formation of self-help groups is particularly noteworthy among the urban poor to uplift their position.

With her support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), these Karnataka women are working to eradicate the evils of their male counterparts like alcoholism, indebtedness and unemployment.

These poor women of Karnataka have also become active to become financially self-sufficient. This is mainly through small scale entrepreneurship, skilled labor etc.

Festivals of Karnataka

Karnataka fairs and festivals have great importance in the daily pattern of a Karnataka household. In fact, the fairs and festivals of Karnataka are an integral part of the lifestyle of the people of Karnataka.

Some of the important fairs and festivals of Karnataka are:

Yugadi

The festival falls on the first day of Chaitra according to the lunar calendar; This festival also marks Chandramana New Year in March-April in Karnataka.

Dussehra

Dussehra festival is celebrated in Karnataka or more precisely in Mysore. Locally the celebration of the festival is called Nadhabba.

The royal family of Mysore takes a keen interest and active part in the celebration of the Dussehra festival. It is a ten-day long festival of which the first six days are dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of learning.

The eighth day is dedicated to Goddess Durga. While the ninth day is the day of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. On the tenth day a large lively procession takes place from Mysore Palace to Bannimantap.

During the festival days of Dussehra, there is a flood of lights everywhere. Mysore Palace shines. The city becomes a majestic paradise. A sense of joy can be felt in the air.

Libra transit

Tula transit is a religious festival of Karnataka which is observed with great devotion and sincerity. The festival is actually celebrated in the Coorg or Kodagu district of the Indian state of Karnataka.

Libra transit is celebrated in the month of October when there is a joyful atmosphere throughout to herald the perfect festive mood.

Not only the people of Coorg district but also people living in other parts of the state as well as other parts of the country are eagerly waiting for this festival of devotion and happiness.

There is a common belief regarding the celebration of Tula transit in Karnataka. People strongly believe that Goddess Kaveri visits this place on this auspicious occasion. So hundreds of people look at the small pond there and think that they are getting blessed by the sight of the Goddess.

This phenomenon is called Tirthodbhava. Such deep faith in religion and tradition is found only in a country like India. They believe that if you believe in yourself, the impossible can be made possible.

Hampi

Hampi festival or Vijaya festival is one of the most outstanding festivals in the state of Karnataka.People are so full of joy and happiness in this festival that the whole atmosphere becomes colorful and lively.

Hampi Festival in Karnataka is celebrated in the month of October and November in the city of Hampi. The celebration is one of dance, music and drama. It is celebrated by one and all in the midst of hundred year old rocks and ruins.

The fervor of Karnataka’s Vijaya Utsav is so intense that in the month of October, countless people who are fond of fun, art, dance, music and drama flock to the village of Hampi from all corners of the country as well as the world. They participate in this festival with deep enthusiasm and fulfillment.

The magnificence of Hampi festival in Karnataka can never be described in words. You have to visit the place to see how people celebrate the festival. To add to this glamor is the arrangement made by the Government of Karnataka.

Vairamudi

The state of Karnataka witnesses fairs and festivals throughout the year. Vairamudi festival is a grand event celebrated on the fourth day of Brahmotsavam during the month of March-April.

Karnataka’s Vairamudi festival is held every year at the Cheluvanarayana temple in Melkot. Karnataka is always in a festive mood. This state is always full of charm, grace and importance.

Which can be seen in its festivals. The vibes created by Karnataka’s festivals have succeeded in showcasing the religious and cultural aspects of the state. Among them, one very famous festival is Vairamudi festival.

The deity of Cheluvanarayanaswamy is worshiped with a diamond studded tiara known as the Vairamudi Taj on the day of the Vairamudi festival. The crown brought from the Mysore Palace is welcomed with great enthusiasm and charm.

The lord of the Vairamudi festival is then followed by his companions and followers for a ride to the city. Flowers collected from different places make this procession more colorful.

Thousands of devotees gather there from far and wide to witness this grand festival. They sing devotional songs in the name of God. The main puja is performed in Parvati Mantap.

The place is decorated with beautiful flowers. Mangal Aarti during the late evening is one of the earlier attractions of Vairamudi festival in Karnataka.

People from all corners of the country come here to offer their prayers and also participate in the great pomp and pageantry of the festival.

The entire area especially the Bhubaneswari Mantap, Tirunarayan Temple, Rai Gopura, Yoganar Singh and Kalyani Temple is lit up with colorful lights on that day. Whereas, the main temple glorifies its beauty with lamps and candles.

Kambala

The Kambala festival of Karnataka has a distinct attraction. Although primarily a rural festival, Kambala festival is celebrated with much fanfare and gaiety by the urban people of Karnataka. The Kambala buffalo race is the main attraction of this grand festival.

The word festival means an occasion of joy and rejoicing. To be frank, every heritage, every culture has its own special festivals. Similar is the Indian cultural scenario.

Every year in India opens with one festival and closes with another. Coming to the festivals of Karnataka, one can find a culture that is very well nurtured by the people of Karnataka.

Village life is full of emotions and enthusiasm. The Kambala festival that falls between November and March every year is long awaited by the people there. The festival is popular because of the buffalo race.

Buffalo race is a rural sport of south coastal Karnataka. The excitement of buffalo races was once enjoyed by royalty as an entertainment show. However, this tradition is still alive among the rural people.

They enjoy Kambala festival mostly for this reason. During this festival the fields are drenched with water and buffaloes are driven on a wet racing track by a strong and courageous farmer following the animals balancing on wooden planks.

People outside the racing course shout with great excitement and the fastest buffalo gets a prize.

Karaga

Karnataka is the best place in India to observe various types of fairs and festivals. These festivals of Karnataka represent the heritage and culture of Karnataka.

The Karaga festival of Karnataka is a nine-day tradition of the Vanikula Kshatriya Thiglas community. The Karga festival of Karnataka is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of April which is the Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar.

The Karaga festival in Karnataka is held at the Dhamraya Swamy temple located in Bangalore. The Karaga festival observes the worship of the community deity, Debi Adishakti Draupadi.

On the evening of the Karaga day, the priestess wears a female costume symbolizing herself as the goddess Draupadi. He then leads a procession where dhoti-clad Thiglars escort him all the way.

Dressed as Goddess Draupadi, the priest steps out of the temple at midnight wearing a yellow saree, bangles and mangalsutra, the sacred chain of married women. People from all over the state and especially from Bangalore wait for a whole day to have a glimpse of Goddess Draupadi.

Kadalekayi parish

Karnataka is a state where fairs and festivals are closely associated with its people. Karnataka cannot be read in isolation without its events and festivals.

Kadalekeyi Parishe festival is one of the festivals that people of different religions celebrate with joy and happiness. The fairs and festivals of Karnataka have their own special significance.

These festivals also help in building camaraderie and brotherhood among people. Festivals reflect the cultural background of the community. Kadalekeyi Parishe Festival is one of those types.

which is practiced by farmers and mimics their traditional way of worshiping. Kadalekeyi Parishe of Karnataka is famous as groundnut festival in Karnataka.

The Kadalekeyi Parishe festival is basically a welcome ceremony celebrated by farmers to welcome the first harvest of the groundnut crop. Farmers come every year to pray at Balad Temple to seek God’s blessings for a good harvest.

The Kadalekayi Parishe festival of Karnataka is held in the months of November-December when the crops are harvested. The reason behind such celebrations is to seek blessings for good farming and harvest.

Groundnut mounds grow around the Bull Temple. Varieties of groundnut also grow near the Dodda Ganesha temple and around the Bugle Rock Park in Basavanagudi.

Huthari

Huthri is a traditional harvest festival of Karnataka widely known for the various dances and folk songs performed on the day of the festival.

This harvest festival is celebrated in various parts of the state during the month of November-December. There is a trend among Indian farmers to celebrate the harvest season by worshiping God.

This tradition prevails among Indian farmers as they are more religious and always seek God’s grace. Huthri of Karnataka is a harvest festival celebrated in the areas around Coorg in Karnataka.

Paddy fields in Karnataka are ready for harvesting in the month of November-December. This is undoubtedly a very happy moment for the farmers. The paddy is ready for cutting.

Huthari festival of Karnataka is celebrated at that time. The harvest begins when the head of the family ceremonially cuts a handful of paddy on a full moon night. Farmers who come to celebrate this festival take one crop each and keep it at home as a sign of good luck and prosperity.

Harvesting of new crop on full moon night is known as Poli. The purpose of celebrating Huthri is to seek God’s blessings which will increase the amount of crops in the year.

Banashankari Mela

Banashankari Mela is one of the popular fairs of Karnataka which is celebrated with great gaiety. Fairs and festivals form the heart of its culture.

All culturally oriented regions have their own fairs and festivals which are very unique in nature. The state of Karnataka also enjoys a large number of traditional and religious fairs and festivals at different times of the year.

Fairs and festivals have always been an integral part of life and provide ample breathing space under the sky. Fairs and festivals provide a wide scope for social interaction and they help in fostering a sense of brotherhood.

Taking a closer look at Karnataka, this place also celebrates the diversity of events in its land. Among them Banashankari Mela is one of the notable fairs.

Karnataka has a multi-culture and thus celebrates a large number of fairs throughout the year. There is not a single month in the calendar that does not have an event in Karnataka. Most fairs are celebrated annually.

The Banashankari Mela of Karnataka is celebrated every year in January. The Banashankari Mela near Badami begins on the full moon day of the first month of the English calendar year and lasts for 10 to 12 days.

Fairs and festivals played an important role in the past as they were the only means of entertainment for the rural people. Now the purpose may have changed but the charm remains the same.

The Banashankari Mela at the village temple of Banashankari is much more than a religious event for the people of the area. Various types of items and utensils are bought in the fair. Rathosava is an important item sold in the fair.

Carnatic music and dance

Carnatic music and dance has a wide variety of classical and folk forms. Carnatic music and dance is not only for entertainment but also for the spiritual edification of performers and viewers.

The influence has filtered from every corner of South and North India and has enriched the music and dance world of Karnataka. Carnatic Classical Music of Karnataka

At the center lies music and dance traditions. Since ancient times, Karnataka has largely contributed to ensure its structure and form. It has also introduced the world to some of its key musicians and artists.

Veena forms the main musical instruments along with violin and mridangam. Unlike most states in South India, Karnataka’s contribution to the world of North Indian classical music has also been significant.

Kuchipudi is a native dance form that originated in Karnataka. However, other classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam also form an important part of Karnataka’s music and dance tradition.

Folk performances are very important parts of Carnatic music and dance. They beautifully blend music, dance and theatrical performance. Most of these folk forms still continue in their primary ritual.

Kunitha is a traditional dance drama that uses a lot of music and dance. Some of the major forms of these Kunithas are Dollu Kunitha, Pata Kunitha, Dorva Kunitha. The most spectacular Yashgaan is a major folk musical performance.

Krishna parijatha and ghost worship are other major folk forms of Carnatic music and dance.

Bharatanatyam

Bharatanatyam is one of the most popular classical dance forms in India. Though established in Tamil Nadu, Bharatanatyam is also very popular in Karnataka.

Karnataka’s exclusive schools of Bharatnatyam dance are being taken to great heights by practicing artistes teaching and performing around Bangalore and other cities of the state.

Bharatanatyam traces its origins to the Fifth Veda or Natya Shastra by the Hindu sage Bharatamuni. The dance form is derived from the name of the sage. However, legend has it that the name of the dance embodies the triple essence of emotion (bhava), music and song (raag) and rhythm (tal) in its name.

Bharatanatyam was originally practiced by temple dancers or devadasis, but its form is mostly found in the hands of the famous Tanjore Quitnets: Chinnia, Sivanandan, Ponia and Vadivelu.

Bharatanatyam uses Nritta (rhythmic dance), Abhinaya (mime performance) and Nritya (combination of the two) in its performance, and each part uses very complex sub-parts. Together, they are believed to elevate the performer and the audience to a divine state.

Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi is essentially a form of classical dance-drama that developed at Kuchelapuram in the southeastern part of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi is very popular in Karnataka and is widely practiced by both men and women.

In earlier days the knowledge of performing Kuchipudi was confined to the Brahmins and was transmitted within the closed doors of tradition.

However, currently great masters and skilled artists instruct students about the nuances of Kuchipudi in Karnataka through various dance forms, though art schools and dance academies specially created for this purpose.

Siddendra Yogi, a sage of great stature and wisdom is considered the founder of Kuchipudi. He instructed his students to represent various mythological themes in a dance form built on the lines of Bharatamuni’s Natya Shastra.

Widely practiced by Brahmins, dance was not considered a form of entertainment in the early years. It was a form of personal knowledge and was sometimes used as a tool for social reform.

The dance uses a series of graceful movements and fast rhythmic patterns accompanied by traditional Carnatic musical instruments and songs.

Presently often performed as a solo or group performance, it still retains various incidents taken from Hindu mythology as its themes.

Dollu Kunitha

Dollu Kunitha is the main form of folk-dance performance in Karnataka. Dollu Kunitha is mainly performed by men and women of the Kuruba community of northern Karnataka.

In Karnataka Dollu Kunitha is usually performed to commemorate an auspicious occasion. Shimoga and Chitradurg districts are especially known for their excellence in performing this folk form.

Like almost all folk performances in India the performance is not only a means of entertainment but also for the spiritual well-being of the performers and the audience.

Dollu Kunitha in Karnataka has a different religious expression. They are traditionally performed in Bireshwar temples. Traditionally the theme was religious and was known as ‘Halumath Purana’ or simply ‘Kuruba Purana’.

However, recently it has been used to promote various government schemes and programs including adult education, literacy programs etc.

It becomes the center of attraction in all the religious festivals of Karnataka especially in Northern Karnataka. It is often used to welcome the harvest season. However, it can also be arranged to commemorate a wedding, the birth of a child, or a burial or funeral.

Pooja Kunitha

Pooja Kunitha is a popular religious folk dance of Karnataka mostly practiced around Bangalore and Mandya district.

Visual splendor is emphasized at the expense of elaborate verbal description. In Karnataka Puja Kunitha is used to worship Shakti cult.

The Puja Kunitha of Karnataka is an important part of the state’s Kunitha tradition which literally means religious folk dances. The primary presiding deity for Karnataka worship Kunitha is Devi Shakti in her various forms.

It forms an integral part of all rituals, especially those related to the worship of Shakti. They are profusely performed in religious processions, fairs and festivals.

With its grandeur and magnificence, it creates an aura of high spirituality in the performers and the audience. Despite the specific religious overtones of the performance, Karnataka’s Puja Kunitha receives widespread appreciation for its grace and colourfulness.

Pata Kunitha

In Karnataka Pata Kunitha is a very popular folk-dance form among the inhabitants of Mysore region. Like other Kunithas or dance-dramas with religious motifs, the original significance of Pata Kunitha is primarily religious.

However, there is not too much narration that is used and emphasis is placed on rhythm and the skills of the dancers. Pata Kunitha of Karnataka is a highly colorful dance form and offers much visual enjoyment.

Pata Kunitha of Karnataka is mainly made by men. Each performance usually has the participation of 10 to 15 men. Pata Kunitha usually uses Pata.

which are mainly long bamboo poles decorated with colorful ribbons. Each bamboo pole is about 10 to 15 feet high. A silver or brass umbrella usually crowns the poles.

The performer manipulates the poles with great dexterity and to a great rhythmic musical accompaniment. Pata is widely performed in rural religious gatherings in the villages of Kunitha, Karnataka, state.

Although some description is used, it is not of much importance. The skill of the dancers in maneuvering the long bamboo poles attracted the most attention.

Although Pata Kunitha had some kind of original religious significance in Karnataka, it is now largely lost. However, it is still largely considered a religious performance.

Elaborately decorated bamboo poles may have some sort of totemic significance. However, it is the visual delight of the dance that characterizes this highly popular folk dance form in Karnataka now. Along with Besu Kamsale, it is the most popular folk dance form in the Mysore region of the state.

to ghost worship

Anne’s devil worship. Widely practiced in the coastal regions of Karnataka, this festival is a great amalgamation of folk beliefs, fantastic spectacle and religious magic to ward off evil through devil worship.

Ghost worship in Karnataka is widely popular due to its unique grandeur and exotic aura. The folk origin of the ritual is clear and is continued undisturbed as it was in ancient times.

The ghost worship of Karnataka involves a lot of visual splendor. Usually, it involves a procession in which the idols are carried with great fanfare.

The idols are traditionally painted and are meant to represent ghosts or devils. A strange sense of dread is consciously imported into the demeanor of the idols.

Throughout the procession, drums are played and firecrackers are set off as large crowds carry the idols to a raised platform where the funeral procession takes place.

Nagamandala

The Nagamandal of Karnataka is a variant of the serpent worship ritual practiced by Hindus in all parts of India. This night-long elaborate ritual is performed in the regions of southern Karnataka and involves the ritual appeasement of the serpent.

The serpent in the Nagamandala celebrations of Karnataka is generally considered to be a symbol of fertility and an embodiment of vitality. Nagamandal celebrations in Karnataka use music, dance, religious chanting in Sanskrit and Kannada and possession of the chief priest.

Nagamandals in Karnataka are usually performed by male dancers called Vaidyas who specialize in this particular form of worship. During rituals they dress themselves as Nagakannika or female serpents.

Dances around elaborate designs painted on the sacred ground represent the serpent spirit and are the object of their worship. A Brahmin remains at the center of activities and occupies somewhere in the middle of the ritual indicating the presence of the serpent spirit in the devotees.

The creation of Nagamandal itself is an artistic feat. It is an elaborate pattern painted in natural colors. Traditional and symbolic patterns have the serpent image at the very center.

Gorwa Kunitha

Gorva Kunitha is a unique form of religious folk dance in Karnataka. This dance form is highly revered among the Shaivite sects of Karnataka and is practiced with slight variations in both the northern and southern parts of the state.

However, performances of Gorva Kunitha are most popular in and around the districts of Mysore, Shimoga and Belgaum. Gorva Kunitha in Karnataka is different from other religious dance forms or Kunithas of Karnataka.

The Gorva Kunitha of Karnataka is usually performed by groups of 10 to 11 men. They usually belong to the singing caste of Goravs, who are ardent worshipers of Lord Shiva. Gorwa fairs are usually the venues for the performance of Gorwa Kunitha in Karnataka. The participants are members of the Gorwa clan.

The Gorva Kunitha of Karnataka has no well-defined form of performance. Dancers wear black rug dresses with white patches. They also usually wear black fur caps woven from bear fur.

Damru in hand, they enter the procession singing a mystical song. The songs come down from an old oral tradition and are believed to be filled with deep mystical meanings. They are sung to the accompaniment of small brass bells and wind instruments such as flutes.

To the accompaniment of this very special music, dancing takes place. Dance usually involves trance like movement. And the dancers actually fall into a trance in the middle of the performance. In its northern variant, the dancers smear their heads with yellow paste.

Kamsale of Karnataka

Kamsale, also known as Bisu Kamsale is a vigorous dance form of the Kannada speaking inhabitants of the state which has a great blend of aesthetic excellence and martial prowess.

Kamsale of Karnataka is mainly prevalent in Mysore, Nanjgud, Kollegal and Bangalore districts. The religious aspect of Kamsale is prominent. It describes the glories of Lord Mahadeshwar Shiva.

Artists are required to pledge lifelong devotion to God. The art is transmitted orally and through a closely guarded tradition passed down from instructor to student.

In Karnataka, Kamsala is closely associated with Shiva worship rituals. Kamsale derives its name from the musical instrument used in the performance.

Kamsala is usually performed by a group of three to five dancers, although the number can go up to twelve by including singers. They wear traditional clothes of gold and red colors.

However, the color schemes worn by singers are slightly different from that of dancers. They are a pair of cymbal-like discs made of bronze. The brass disc is extruded from the center and hollow in the center.

The left hand disc is held close to the palm while the right hand disc usually hangs loosely at arm’s length. When they collide, there is a loud clang.

Kamsala is rhythmic with lyrics usually taken from the Mahadevara epic extolling the glory of Lord Mahadeshwar. There is no written record of these songs. They are orally handed down by tradition with great respect for purity of form.

Yakshagana

Yakshagana is one of the most popular traditional theatrical forms of Karnataka. It is difficult to categorize the Yakshaganas of Karnataka as folk, rural or classical.

It can be said to be a form of theater that encompasses many performance traditions. Having its roots in the Bhakti movement in South India, Yakshagana literally means songs of celestial beings.

The themes used in the Yakshagana of Karnataka are usually taken from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and other important episodes of Hindu mythology.

However being a theater form, it enjoys more aesthetic freedom than dances. Yakshaganas are traditionally performed by specialized itinerant performers who travel from village to village in groups of 15 to 20.

Yakshagana performances in Karnataka usually take place at night. They begin towards the end of the afternoon and last until the early hours of the morning. Villagers flock from far and wide to see them and no tickets are charged for the performances.

The costumes and make-up of the actors in the Yakshaganas of Karnataka are highly codified and fixed by tradition. Different characters use clothes and make-up to suit their roles. Bhagwat holds the story together and the actors dialogue in verse and prose to drive the story forward. The heroes are dressed differently from the demons and in turn they are different from the comedians and the narrator or ‘Bhagavat’. Songs are often used as dances.

Togalu Bombeaata

Togalu Bombeaata is an ancient form of puppetry that is still popular in some parts of rural Karnataka. They use leather puppets and usually use themes drawn from epics and mythological stories.

They are used both for instruction and entertainment. Sometimes in Karnataka Togalu Bombeata is used to perform certain beneficent magical purposes; They are still believed to be imbued with divine power in certain parts of Karnataka.

Togalu Bombayata in Karnataka is essentially a form of puppet theatre. The puppets are made of leather. The creations of various mythological characters are stylized and can be recognized from the dominant figures practiced by puppet makers from the earliest days.

Stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the most common subjects for representations of the Togalu Bombayata of Karnataka. Communication methods and scripts are as old as forms and are handed down by tradition.

Krishna Parijat

Krishna Parijatha of Karnataka is a traditional folk theater form sometimes considered to be a blend of Yakshagana and Byalatta and sometimes as a regional form of Yakshagana.

The open air performance makes it a Bayalatta performance while the use of a single narrator similar to the ‘Bhagavat’ brings it closer to the Yakshagana performance techniques.

Krishna Parijatha is popular in North Karnataka. From village squares to open markets, Krishna Parijatha continues to be a popular folk religious theatrical form in Karnataka.

Krishna Parijatha in Karnataka uses traditional themes drawn from the vast corpus of Hindu mythology. Stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the most commonly employed themes of the Krishna parijata of Karnataka.

The use of make-up is common, as is the elaborate use of music and dance. Both prose and verse forms are used to elucidate age-old themes.

The folk-performances they usually hold at night are extremely attractive. A single narrator holds the key to the story of the performance, sometimes with the help of a clown or magician.

Carnatic music

Carnatic music is one of the two main forms of classical music in India. Karnataka has contributed a lot to the field of Carnatic music. Sharjanadava is the earliest known exponent of Carnatic music in Karnataka.

Later, the Carnatic music tradition of Karnataka has been influenced by the works of legendary composers such as Shiva yogis, Purandara Dasa, Govinda Dixit and his legendary son Venkat Mukhi.

Who revolutionized Carnatic music. Thyagaraja and Muttu Swami Dixit followed in their footsteps to create a great legacy of Carnatic music in Karnataka.

The most ancient musical traditions are still considered alive. Knowledge of Carnatic music has been handed down by tradition since ancient times. Its popularity continues.

With a tradition of numerous singers and instrumentalists, Carnatic music is one of the richest musical traditions in the world. Like all classical forms of Indian music, Carnatic music is seen as a way for one to transcend the self and experience the divine.

Arts and Crafts of Karnataka

Marvelous creations of Karnataka arts and crafts can be found in the palaces as well as the elite bungalows of the past. It shows the royal delicacy and the skill and efficiency of the artisans.

The arts and crafts of Karnataka are also in articles of daily use like pottery. The arts and crafts of Karnataka are traditional. They have evolved over the ages from one generation to another. If you ever visit a handicraft village in the state of Karnataka, you will be amazed to see the villagers who always sit in groups and enjoy their work.

The arts and crafts of Karnataka include works on various materials like wood, ivory, stones, sandalwood, metals, etc.

Some important facts about the arts and crafts of Karnataka are:

  1. Especially the rosewood and sandal wood works delight the tourists.
  2. Ivory art is unique to the state and so unique that objects of ivory art have been preserved in museums outside the country.
  3. When we talk about stone carving in India we must always mention the name of Karnataka producing amazing works on stones.
  4. Karnataka arts and crafts are popular for toys made of wood as well as leather. Such toys also include puppets.
  5. The paintings of Mysore probably need no introduction. They are famous all over the world.

Thus, whenever you visit Karnataka try to visit villages that have a collection of artisans and artists who create the arts and crafts of the state.

Stone carving

The art of stone carving has been a tradition in Karnataka for centuries, especially in Hoysala, a notable city of the state. The carving technique has been so unique and well-mastered over hundreds of years that an expert in the field can identify the type of stone they excavate as they carve it.

You may be surprised to know that people engaged in stone carving designate the stones as ‘male’ or ‘female’ respectively while carving the sculptures of deities. Stone carvings are made from stones ‘neutral’ to other objects.

While carving stones in different villages of Karnataka state, experts religiously follow the norms specified by Dhyanashloka.

Doll making

Karnataka is located in the southern part of the Indian peninsula and is known to the world as the seat of traditional Indian arts and crafts, including the distinctive art of doll making.

This art is unique in its style and presentation. The specialty of Indian artisans, especially those from the state of Karnataka, is that they can turn simple everyday articles into wonderful objects of art.

As the days of Dussehra approach, doll making in Karnataka picks up pace. It is the time when the dolls are arranged evenly on wooden platforms, decorated and displayed.

These dolls are exhibited for nine days in this festival. If you ever visit the state of Karnataka during this festival, you will find that people are vibrant, colorful and in a real festive mood.

Artisans from the hinterland villages of the state are seen busy selling their exquisite creations. The craft of doll making is indigenous and often involves all generations together.

A memorable sight in a village in Karnataka is that even small children are busy making dolls with their parents and grandparents.

Kinnal and Gokak in North Karnataka and Channapatna in Bengaluru are famous for doll making. It has taken the form of small scale handicraft industry in these areas.

People are very much into handicrafts and for most of them, doll making is a source of bread and butter.

Mysore Paintings

Mysore paintings originated in the days of the Wodeyars in Mysore. Mysore paintings form a significant tradition of classical South Indian paintings. Mysore paintings are famous for their elegance, eccentric use of colors and stress on details.

It is almost similar to the paintings done in another place known as Tanjore. Thin gold leaves are used in Mysore paintings. Creating a piece of Mysore painting requires tremendous hard work, patience as well as extraordinary skill and proficiency.

Mysore paintings usually depict images of Hindu deities. The most notable and famous of the Mysore paintings is the depiction of Lord Srinath.

which is considered as an ‘avatar’ or avatar of Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna. The painting is a colorful painting with an intricate design where God appears against a black background.

Another very popular and frequently seen Mysore painting depicts Lord Ganesha on his throne or throne. Nowadays these Mysore paintings form a much sought after souvenir especially during festivals in South India.

Carving of ivory

India especially the state of Karnataka is the land of elephants and hence a place that has excelled in the art of ivory carving. This art is unique and surpasses all other crafts of India in its style, presentation and above all its beauty.

Ivory carving is a major craft practiced throughout the state of Karnataka. If you visit the Carvers Village, you will find people of all ages busy creating amazing pieces of ivory handicrafts with their chisels, knives and fine files.

The ivory carvings mostly depict images of Gods and Goddesses. It especially includes images of Lord Krishna in various moods. You will also find pictures of mother goddesses.

Wood Carving

Wood carving is a traditional art of India as well as Karnataka. It wonderfully showcases one’s creativity and imagination that can transform a simple log of wood into a wonderful object of art.

Wood carving is prevalent in various parts of Karnataka. Whenever you visit the state, never forget to see the intricately decorated wooden ceilings, doors and lintels.

They are decorated with finely carved patterns. This exquisite craftsmanship points to the rich cultural heritage of this field of art in the southern part of the country.

Wood carving in Karnataka showcases the traditional art of unique wood craft. These woodcrafts are employed for both utilitarian as well as architectural purposes.

Metal ware

Metal ware is a traditional craft of the southern peninsular state of Karnataka, India. It provides means of livelihood to countless families of the state.

Marvelous works on metals attract visitors to this kingdom. It attracts tourists and thereby earns money for the villagers who carve these extraordinary articles.

Metalware of Karnataka has an age-old tradition. It is used for religious as well as secular purposes.

In the temple town of Udupi, metal works of Karnataka are found. It is known for small images as well as ritual objects of metal ware.
Karkala which is one of the oldest centers of Jainism is famous for metal ware icons.

Mangalore on the west coast of the state presents a wide range of metalware, especially in the form of bell metal household items.
Metalware includes works of bronze casting.

The best collection of which is found at Nagamangala near Mysore. The works here are particularly known for depicting the anatomy of the human body.

Sandalwood Crafts

If you ever visit an emporium in the state of Karnataka, you will inevitably find the sacred aroma emitted by the sandalwood handicrafts kept there.

The wonderful art objects made from soft sandalwood are popular for their style, presentation and most of all their unique fragrance. It is often said that if a sal or any other common tree grows in a sandalwood forest, it smells of sandalwood.

The fragrance of sandalwood is consistent with Indian tradition, culture and religion. In a Hindu temple, the ritual of worshiping the deity cannot be done without a piece of sandalwood.

Sandalwood handicrafts are truly a masterpiece of Karnataka. Mysore in Karnataka is equally known in the world for its vast sandalwood forests as well as its collection of royal elephants.

A large proportion of sandalwood crafts made in the area depict royal figures enjoying elephant rides. The intricate designs created on such sandalwood crafts from Karnataka are truly amazing.

It shows the skill and efficiency and above all the patience of the artisans. The unique fragrance of this masterpiece will transport you to a world of holiness and eternal bliss.

Almost the entire state of Karnataka produces sandalwood, though special mention should be made of the highly skilled workers, the Gudigar families of Shimoga, Uttara Kannada and Mysore districts. They are specialized in this field and their functions are really different.

Culture and festivals of Karnataka people

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