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Rich Folk Heritage of Karnataka

Karnataka has very rich folkloric traditions which have been kept alive for centuries. Every part and community of karnataka created and enjoyed the folk music and dance suitable for society. Folk dance in karnataka reflects the rural culture and traditions of the kannadigas. These were many ritual dance, devotional dance, historical dance and rural entertainment dance appeared as traditional way of life.

  1. Yakshagana: Yakshagana is one of the most living art traditions in the Karnataka. Click here to read more...

  2. Dollu Kunitha: It is a popular drum dance. The large drums are decorated with coloured cloth, and are slung around the necks of men. The dances are at times accompanied with songs relating to religious praise or wars.

    Dollu Kunitha mentioned earlier forms a part of the ritualistic dances which come under 'Kumitha'.


  3. Veeragase: Veeragase is popular folk dance. It is a symbolic presentation of the heroism and valour of God Veerabahadhra. Its exponents are called Lingadevaru and they perform the dance with religious fervour at festival time especially during the months of Shravana and Kartika.

    The dancers put on white turban like head gear and wear kavi coloured dhotis, rudrakshamala, nagabharanas and a wooden plaque of Lord Veerabhadra on their chest and smear their forehead ears and eye brows with vibhooti. Sporting an unsheathed sword in the right hand and a wooden plaque of Veerabhadra in the left hand the dancers perform a martial dance to the beat of Karadi and chamel drums.


  4. Kamsale kunitha: The Kamsale dance is named after the instrument held in the hands of the dancer. This instrument comprises a shoola held in one hand and a bronze disc in the other. The main element in the art is the rhythmic clang which blends with melodious music of the Lord Mahadeswara epic. The instruments, in the course of the vigorous rhythmic beatings are moved around the body of the dancer in innumerable patterns manifesting both skill and art. In a group movement the dancer provides the vision of a series of offensive and defensive maneuvers.

    Kamsale is closely connected with a tradition of Shiva worship. The artists who have vowed to live a life of devotion to lord Mahadeswara are supposed to performs Kamsale. The Dance is a part of diksha or oath and is taught by the teacher and spiritual leader.


  5. Nandikolu kunitha: This art form is the domain of male devotees of Lord Siva. The Nandi pole is about 18 cubits in length, each cubit representing a 'dharma'. The length of the pole is fitted with brass pots and plates, and ornate silver or brass umbrella at the top with a silk tassel, which is the flag. The performer on a sling balances the pole; this requires skill as well as strength. The sight of the devotee's inspired dance, to the background beat and the resulting symphony of sounds, from the pots and plates on the pole, is truly breathtaking.


  6. Jodu halige: Halige meaning two percussion instruments used by two artists to produce rhythmic notes of astounding energy and power. Their movements along the stage expressive of their physical energy harmonizes with the notes produced by the instrument. The Haligi (wood) circular in shape is made of buffalo hide. A short stick is used on it. The notes combined with the bodily movement pervade the stage and overflow to the audience.


  7. Boothada Kola: In the Coastal Karnataka, the Bhootha kola (Dance) is very popular among the rural folks. it is mainly intended to ward off evil spirits, pacify devils, and appease whatever detrimental forces around for ensuring both health and happiness and a hearty existence. The format of the Bhoothas, frightful and sinister, though sometimes creating a sense of barbarous beauty. The variety itself is rather breath taking when we go the entire gamut.

    Actually, the Bhoothas have been looked upon as the protector, the guardians, the healers, the detectives and above all as spirits whose powers should be honoured and reckoned with.


  8. Lambani nruthyaThis: Lambani women dressed colourfully and move circularly with clapping and singing. This dance is out of the common. In dress, mode of living and dwelling, they dance on important festivities in a free manner.

    Their movements are usually in the form of a swing, oscillation of the arms up and down, turning of the waist hither and thither, bending deep down to reach the toes to raise again in alacrity. There is some artistry in their gait and twist. Men also dance separately taking to the beating of the sticks against the musical instruments.


  9. Veerabhadra kunitha: The dance form depicts the story of Veerabhadra, the legendary minor god created by Lord Siva to teach a lesson to his father-in-law Daksha. Veerabhadra to go to the place of the yaga and destroy the ceremony. Hence, the fiery mood that prevails in the dance. Dancers wear traditional colour full kache and wore long white hairs with face sculpture on the head. In one hand they hold sword and dance to and fro powerfully.


  10. Gombeyatta: Leather puppeteers are scattered all over the interior of Karnataka. Puppetry stories are taken from the Puranas. It resembles exactly like yakshagana. It need great craftsmanship, stage technique and background music and song. They are called Togalu Gombeyaata because these puppets are made from leather. The skin of goat or deer is used to make the leather puppets. The puppets have to be preserved carefully.

    The average dimensions of the leather puppet stage are 12 feet in length, 6 feet in width. The visible portion in front where a white screen tied up. Behind the screen the manipulators remain unseen. In the projected light the leather puppets shadow appears with beautiful colours.


  11. Garudi Bombe


  12. Karaga Nruthya


  13. Suggi Kunita


  14. Keelu Kudure


  15. Somana Kunita


  16. Pungi Kunita


  17. Jagateya Kunubi


  18. Garudagamba


  19. Mallakamba


  20. Helavaru


  21. Huttari Dance


  22. Huli kunitha


  23. Koraga kunitha


  24. Koravanji (kani)


  25. Karadi kunitha
Bring a life to these ethnic dance and help to awake these folk dance back to our society to enjoy and develop good society. Preserve these traditional folk life.




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