Art and Karnataka – a Stunning Heritage

Karnataka has long-standing history of being a patron of various arts. Countless poets, musicians, dancers, actors, and writers have honed their craft here for eons, and have made significant contributions to the state’s culture and heritage. Some of India’s most reputed schools of music were created here, with a multitude of legends,like GangubaiHangal, PuttarajGawai, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, and PurandaraDasa, among many others, emerging from them.

However, Karnataka also gave birth tovarious dance forms like no other, including the famous Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi dances, which have cemented themselves in the mainstream culture. Today, Karnataka is home to some of the best dance schools in the country, churning out talented students.

There is also a wide range of folk arts, which are tremendously enjoyed by the locals. While one famous particular favourite is Yakshagana, there are many lesser known art forms that exist, hidden away from the masses. Here are a few you should check out when you visit Karnataka:

Yakshagana

Yakshagana, or the celestial song, is a curious blend of dance, music, and literature. With its history dating back over 400 years, this traditional musical theatre is famous all over South India for its extempore dialogues. The protagonist, Bhagavatha, tells a story that is accompanied by musicians called chande and mavdale. Together, they spin mythological tales that are supported by dances.
 
SomanaKunita

SomanaKunita is a dance form that is rooted in rituals and religions, and is performed by two to three dancers who adornintricate masks. Known as the Somas, these people were tasked with protecting the village deities. The story of the birth of the Somas is usually the crux of the entire performance.

Krishna Parijata

Another folk performance that has a religious undertone is the Krishna Parijata, which revolves around Lord Krishna and his fight with Indira over the Parijatha tree. These performances are generally open-air, and are known for their trademark witticism. With a simple plot, a funny script, and on-the-spot improvisations make this performance a fun spectacle.
 
Karnataka has preserved and painstakingly maintained its cultural heritage, which is evident in its museums, libraries, and myriad of foundations that were set up to bolster art and other art forms. Today, you can visit and enjoy a range of performances, all within a short trip from your hotel in Bengaluru.

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