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Yakshagana – Malenadu Cultural Drama

Now a day movies are very far of my interest; very rarely watch on television if something really interested.  I am away from the theatre since long time; how crazy about watching whole night Yakshagana at Chithgal, near Kuppalli, Teerthahalli Taluku, Shivamogga District. I am very thankful to my friend Mallikarjun [Malli] who invited us to his native Chithgal which is middle of Malenadu and honored great hospitality.  We understood from Malli that they organize a Yakshagana at their residence, yearly once.

Yakshagana is a theater form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form. This theater style, resembling Western opera, is mainly found in the coastal districts and the Malenadu region of Karnataka, India [source from Wikipedia].  You may visit the page Yakshagana for more information.

Malli is invited to our whole friends circle; finally I, Shanthi Prasad, Manoj and Sudhakar got ready to enjoy the play.  The play was scheduled on 14th March 2015 night.  We restricted the team size to four since we were travelling by Sudhakar’s Alto car.

The starting point is from Sudhakar’s home, previous night I directly went to his home.  The early morning journey started around 3.30 am.  Shanthi Prasad & Manoj pickup point is at Kathriguppe.  They were waiting for us; we all off the Bengaluru by 4.00 am.

Pleasant morning with cool breeze with less traffic, soon we reached to Tumakuru.  We had a small break on road side for tea and continued our journey.  The first stop at Kadooru for breakfast; finished it quickly and continued our journey towards Shivamogga.

Sudhakar was riding a car like a James Bond, very soon we reached Shivamogga.  After a small break, continued towards Teerthahalli.  The Yakshagana play was in the night, thought doing a small trek around Teerthahalli.  Last couple of trip around this place, I missed out the Kavaledurga, decided to do the small hike-up before reaching Malli native.

Reached Teerthahalli around 11 am, purchased some fruits, snacks other stuffs to enjoy at the fort.  Kavaledurga is beautiful abounded fort around 18km away from Teerthahalli.  The Kavaledurga fort is located on a hillock and one can view at Mani dam.  For more details you refer the link Kavaledurga.

The surrounding of the fort looks more beautiful in the monsoon.  We parked our car near Bhattara home and started to march towards the fort.  The path is very clear and no need for any guide.  It is very easy trail which runs through multiple Mahadwaras.  Each one has its own beauty. 

After half of the way we get a temple with Deepasthamba.  Relaxed some time and had tasty Pineapple, Watermelon and Biscuits.  There was no any other human being except us.

We continued our journey towards the peak.  Very soon reached the top, the entire valley looks so beautiful.  The cool breezes added relax to our body and mind.  We took many photographs, spent enough of time.

Now the time to move down, Malli already called couple of times to reach home at the earliest.  The descending of the fort took very less time.  We all adieu to Kavaledurga the forgotten fort.  I decided to visit this place in the Monsoon, certainly the fort will not disappoint by its glory.

From Kavaledurga to Malli village around 30kms.  Taking the Kuppalli route, after Devangi took deviation towards Basavani.  We reached a small village which has three houses.  A warm welcome by Malli and his family made us more pleasant of our journey.

House was filled with relatives and Yakshagana team.  Quickly we finished our lunch and went to roam around the beautiful village.  

I was more impressed by Malli about his love to village, his upcoming cultivation project of land, the way of their effort, the clear vision and mission!!!  He took us entire his farm house and a small trek.  Reached back to home and got refreshed by hot water bath.

Yakshagana is a typical Malenadu play drama which normally plays whole night.  They pick it up any mythology play and entertain whole night.  The women character also played by men; there will not be any women involved in the team.  Malli briefly explained about the Yakshagana customs and traditions. 

Yakshagana team will prepare their food by own.  They will not take any other food.  Perform Ganesha worship before starting the play.  Single person will play multiple role character according the sequence to avoid the team size.  A person play dual character really it is great.

Malli conduct the Yakshagana yearly once at their premises.  Surrounding villagers cordially invited relatives and interest fellows.  The atmosphere is like a wedding anniversary; almost the home was fully filled by people.

Finished our dinner and we all settle to watch the Yakshagana.  The play is started around 9.30 pm, by the time entire place is occupied by audience. They have chosen the Jarasandha Vadhe play.  

Gradually the plays become more interesting.  The audience enjoyed a lot.  We have to appreciate the audience who enjoyed the play entire night.  The audiences are mix-up of ages, a kid to a very old people. Audience encouraged the artists by their vigils and claps.

Now the time to move back Bengaluru, we finished breakfast at Malli home.  Their homely atmosphere and very gratitude hospitality never forget in the life.  The entire family adieu us with their warm love.

We moved to Kuppalli which is just 15 km away from Malli village.  You may be surprised, within six months this is my third visit to this place.  I did not understand the magic of this place, and I never got bored to visit again and again, simply I love this place.

Soon we have finished the visit of Kuvempu home, Kavishaila and other notary place around Kuppalli moved towards NR Pura.  My friend Shanthi wanted to visit a holy place of Jain temple.  Reached around 12 Noon and finished the pooja.

Taking inner route of Lakkavalli road passing Bhadra Wild Life Sanctuary soon reached the Bengaluru – Shivamogga highway.  Finished our lunch at Dhaba and back to Bengaluru by 7.00 pm.

I love to watch Yakshagana and again and more eager to visit Malli native again.

 Team: L - R: Me, Sudhakar, Manoj & Shanthi Prasad

Yakshagana – Malenadu Cultural Drama Yakshagana – Malenadu Cultural Drama Reviewed by Vidya S on March 14, 2015 Rating: 5

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