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“Yakshagaana – Dance, Music, and Dialogue.”

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Yakshagana is an important part of Indian classical Arts. There is no one who does not appreciate Yakshaagana. Yakshagaana features a much unique dance, charming singing, and disguises. It is one of the traditional art forms of Karnataka. Yakskhagana is home to the coastal districts of Karnataka, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga, Chikkamagaluru, and Kasaragod districts of Kerala.


The art of yakshagana is not Todays. It is mentioned in Bharata Muni’s Natyashasthra“. It is also mentioned in ancient poetry. In yakshagana, the story is selected from the Indian epics “The Ramayana“, “The Mahabharatha“,” The Puranas” etc. But there are no such rules to pic stories from these epics but also nowadays the stories are taken from present scenarios. If we think deeply Yakshagana is not just an art but a way of life and link to ancient epics and our ordinary life. In general, all Indian art forms mainly tells divine truths and message of life.



Yakshagana depicts myths but it is not a rule. Nowadays in the modern era, they choose social and historical events. It is the characters and Bagavatha who are responsible for delivering the story to the audience with dance, performance, and rhetoric.” Bagavathike” is the most crucial part of yakshagana which means singing. The characters perform the dance by matching the words of Bagavathas. After the Bagavathike song summarizes the song’s meaning to the masses by characters. Yakshagana’s vocals use the sharpest high pitched sound of all music.


Yakshagana begins at twilight continues until midnight. With the beating of drums called” peetike”. The Bhagavata is the producer, the director traditionally is the leader of the group, he provides guidance about the script (parasangs ). Bagavatha narrates the story by singing a song and dialogues while musicians playing on traditional instruments. In yakshagana men portray both male and female. characters.



The facial makeup depending upon the role they play. Makeup is heavy with artificial eyelids and white dots. The traditional costumes consist of a dhoti, a pajama, and a loose gown depending upon the characters. Heavy armlets and anklets “edehaara” and “veeragase” are the other ornaments worn by the artists. Headgears its heavy crowns are also used, it gives rich look to the characters. Female characters are simple and are not as gorgeous as costumes of male roles.

Today’s people we get entertained by movies, serials, FM and Internet but in olden days no such entertainment, this kind of rich arts like yakshagana entertained the village people. Importantly, parents, they provoked their children towards Indian art and culture. It is a great cultural asset of the coastal districts of Karnataka, not only coastal but also unique in Indian Art.



Many of the great yakshagana artists of Karnataka have made this art internationally known .So many artists have made this their life. It is an honor to them. In the midst of modern pretense, many arts have to be saved and nurtured. It would be very nice if you have some interest and respect for our ancient arts along with modern entertainment.

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Gururaj N August 30, 2020 - 12:34 pm

Yakshagana is a wonderful art of Indian culture.

Catina Lofaso September 1, 2023 - 5:04 am

I appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into compiling this content. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Ezra Kluka September 7, 2023 - 3:25 am

Thank you for this informative article. It helped me comprehend the subject better. Nice!


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