What is Yakshagana?

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What is Yakshagana? Blog Image


The Prime Minister of India has expressed deep grief over the demise of noted Yakshagana playback singer, Shri Balipa Narayana Bhagawatha.

About Yakshagana:

  • Yakshagana is a traditional folk dance form popular in Coastal Karnataka districts. 
  • It is a rare combination of dance, music, song, scholarly dialogues and colourful costumes.
  • Traditionally, men portray all roles, including the female ones, though women are now part of Yakshagana troupes.
  • A typical troupe consists of 15 to 20 actors and a Bhagawatha, who is the master of ceremonies and the main storyteller.

What are the elements of Yakshagana?

  • The Act: Each performance typically focuses on a small sub-story (known as ‘Prasanga’) from ancient Hindu epics of Ramayana or Mahabharata. The show consists of both stage performances by talented artists and commentary (performed by the lead singer or Bhagawatha) accompanied by traditional music. 
  • The Music: Musical instruments used in Yakshagana include Chande (drums), Harmonium, Maddale, Taala (mini metal clappers) and flute among others. 
  • The Dress: Costumes used in Yakshagana are very unique and elaborate. Large size headgear, coloured faces, elaborate costumes all over the body and musical beads on the legs (Gejje).



Q1) What is folk dance?

Folk dance is generally a type of dance that is a vernacular, usually recreational, expression of a past or present culture.

 Source: PM condoles demise of noted Yakshagana playback singer, Shri Balipa Narayana Bhagawatha