We had been to a Yakshagana concert recently held at ‘Taralabalu Kendra’ in Bangalore. It was the first time I was going to be a spectator to a unique folk performance that I had heard so much about from my father in law, that I went prepared with my camera.

‘Yakshagana’ is Karnataka’s folk theatre form with a long history of close to 400 years. It is a harmony of musical tradition, eye-catching costumes, authentic styles of dance and acting with its extemporaneous dialogue appealing to a wide range of the community. When you witness it in person, it is a vibrant and a vigorous form of theatre art. It is unique to the Malenadu or the coastal regions of Karnataka, India.

Costume: Male artists wear kireeTa while the female artists wear pagaDe (headgears) that are very unique and artistic.

Stage setup: The play has a narator who either narrates the story by singing or through character dialogues backed by musicians on the traditional music instruments.


Theme: More often than not, small stories from the Indian epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana are enacted.

Here are some glimses from the concert.



Krishna & Subhadra

I was completely engrossed by the performance and got to learn more Mahabharata. Appears that the concerts take place all through the night and the audience are kept entertained throughout. I now know why my father in law likes Yakshagana so much 🙂

With Yakshagana’s gaining popularity, it has begun to be compared to the opera of the west!


  • pcchadaga

    Dear Roopa,
    Thank you for nice photos and brilliant exposition on yakshagana.As a novice you have correctly understood the the greatness of this art.


    Yakshagana in our home town was very popular when we are young. Now no one has time and interest to go to Yakshagana. We have observed that we have to provide tiffin, tea to the veiwers when “Harake Bayalata” is performed. But even then people will go away by 12.30 or before that. Once the mela people has gone to the house owners (who has given Veelya for the Yakshagana) house and asked them to come for giving veelya. (all of them were sleeping)

    Now people has got TV, cinima , Cds for entertainment.

    But it has got its own value in our life.

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