10 Interesting Facts About Yakshagana You Should Know – The Pride Of Karnataka


Karnataka has a long history of folklore, dances, theaters and all types of art. Yakshagana is one such type of folk theatre from Karnataka having a long history of over 400 years. The theatre form includes a unique harmony of eye-catching costumes, musical tradition, and authentic dancing styles. It is well known for improvised gestures, and extemporaneous dialogue which over the years has successfully managed to appeal an entire generation and community. Here we bring you a few interesting things to Yakshagana on today’s read.

Yakshagana Depicts Stories From Ramayana And Mahabharata

The vibrant, vigorous theatre art form usually depicts stories from the great Indian epics Ramayana, Mahabharata as well as from the Puranas. It is most popular in rural areas with a very little mode of transportation. The people in villages honor the artists similar to great celebrities.


2. Chikka Mela Troupe

A troupe formed by the Yakshagana artists is called Chikka Mela. Artists perform Yakshangana in open space whereas Chikka Mela artists perform on a mythological story door-to-door.

facts about yakshagana

3. Team Of Chikka Mela or Yakshagana Troupe

The troupe of Chikka Mela comprises of one woman character (usually played by Men) or stree vesha, one male character or purusha vesha and also a background team of seven members. It includes a drummer, two assistants, and the Bhagavatha. A typical Yakshagana team constitutes a minimum of 12 members.


4. The Performance Continues Until Midnight

The performance of the troupe starts around 6 pm and continues until midnight or around 1 pm. Since the team has to perform during the night in the dark, they usually carry with them gas lights providing brightness on the stage. The light of lanterns makes the overall effect more beautiful and mesmerizing.


5. Earliest Form Of Entertainment

Today’s generation has so many things to entertain them from television, radio, internet to video games. But in olden days, when there were no such modes of entertainment, Yakshagana was the only way of entertainment in villages which the artists performed right in the homes of people. It was one way of introducing children to the great culture of this country.

history of yakshagana

6. It is An Art Of Storytelling

Be it depicting the scene of Draupadi Vastraharan in Mahabharata or fight of Ravana and Lord Rama, the artists of Yakshagana bring all these scenes alive through their acting. It is an art of storytelling that mesmerizes you with its colorful getup, and expressive mudras.


7. Growing Impact Of Globalization On Yakshagana

With the change in taste of people in entertainment, the Yakshagana troupes are also now changing their ways of entertaining. The dramas are nowadays centered around William Shakespeare’s stores or even picked up from some movies to appeal to the urban people. Since the art’s survival solely depends on the audience, it is one way of ensuring survival after the impact of globalization on the minds of Indians.


8. Resemblance To Kathakali

Unlike Yakshagana, Kathakali from the state of Kerala is still very much popular although both the art forms have a lot of resemblances. Yakshagana also has a lot of similarities with Terukkuttu in Tamil Nadu.


9. Perfect Coordination Between Himmela And Artists

When it comes to Yakshagana, the entire success of the performance depends on the coordination between Himmela or the musician and the artists. The Bhagwata or the one who works as a narrator of the story is also the singer and gives voice to the characters all through the play. Together with dancers, the narrator, performers, and musicians they complete the act of Yakshagana.

history of yakshagana

10. Yakshagana Going Beyond Boundaries

The art form has come a long way and is no more confined to the boundaries of Karnataka or India. People from other countries come here to learn the folk art. These people are not only learning and performing Yakshagana but there are many who also published books on this form of entertainment.


Even today, Yakshagana is kept alive and is performed across the state, especially in the Coastal parts of Karnataka.

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