kranga-logoPropagation and preservation of traditional arts is one of the challenges of modern world which is fast changing, making everything transient in the worldly sense. Yakshagana is a rare and unique traditional theatre of Karnataka State in India and has a recorded history of more than five centuries. Being a rich artistic blend of racy music, forceful dance, extempore speech and gorgeous costumes, this art combines the features of opera as well as drama, the characteristics of moral education and mass entertainment. In fact, perhaps, Yakshagana of the Coastal Karnataka is the only theatre that reveals the features of ‘total theatre’ (‘Natya’ is a theatrical performance) as implied in Bharata’s ‘Natya Shastra’. Unfortunately, for lack of effective propaganda and publicity (social and political reasons) Yakshagana has remained a lesser known great art.

Art cannot survive without generous patronage and art cannot grow without sense for good taste. Both thhese require concerted efforts of all art lovers. Being aware of these truths of art, 25 years ago an organisation called ‘Yakshagana Kalaranga’ came into existence in Udupi with the initiative of learned citizens like Dr B B Shetty, Prof. B V Acharya and Sundara Shetty. In the first two decades its activities were mostly confined to arranging Yakshagana shows highlighting traditional beauty and themes of Yakshagana. Yakshagana competitions were also conducted for the school-going children with a view to developing taste and ability in Yakshagana. Gradually the activities were extended to conducting seminars, lecture-demonstrations, workshops and honouring great as well as poor artists.

Of late, the next generation of organisers have come to realize that excellence in art, in the modern world, is unattainable without economic security for the artists. The Yakshagana artists put in strenuous effort in the nights during performances for more than fifty years for a meagre remuneration. In the evening of their life, in most of the cases, they are left with nothing but ill-health, poverty, misery and economic insecurity. Their condition is really pathetic as they are a disorganised sector in the society, unlike the organised workers in other professions. So the unbiased Yakshagana Kalaranga with sincere concern for the artists both Northern Style and Southern Style, has now extended its emphasis to the welfare of the artists in various ways. During the year of its Silver Jubilee Celebration 25 poor, old and deserving Yakshagana artists were honoured with Rs.5,000/- each. In the first 2 years it has provided Accident-Insurance to 305 artists, Manipal Health Card facility to 171 artists and Group Insurance to 289 artists. Besides financial aids were given whenever the artists were in serious sickness needing money.

Mainly with the humanitarian intention of giving succor to Yakshagana artists a charitable fund called ‘Prof. B V Acharya Yakshanidhi’ is now instituted. It is decided that financial assistance to the artists is to be given out of this fund or the proceeds of this fund. This dream will be materialised only when this fund grows to One Crore Rupees.

Yakshagana is a world heritage. Society has responsibility towards art and artists. Yakshagana Kalaranga with 550 members is a band of selfless, unprejudiced, devoted and dedicated workers and connoisseurs, who are fully aware of social accountability. Under the able leadership of Jagajivandas Shetty (President) and Murali Kadekar (Secretary) every farthing of public money is judiciously used and transparency in functioning and sincerity in approach have won them public acclaim.

Events – Acheivements
Installation to Silver Jubilee Year (1975-2000)
  • 17-4-1975 – First proposal for forming the organisation
  • 20-4-1975 – First meeting in Hotel Apsara
  • 10-5-1975 – First Executive Committee Meeting
  • 24-5-1975Inauguration of the organisation by Kota Shivarama Karantha and first Yakshagana show 1) ‘Draupadi Vastrapahara’ by Karnataka Yakshagana Nataka Sabha, Mangalore  2). ‘Pandavashwamedha’ by Shri Guru Prasadita Yakshagana Mandali, Saligrama
  • 23-3-1976 – Kathakkali and Yakshagana ‘Jarasandha Vadhe’  by Karki Hasyagara Mela
  • 25-3-1977 – ‘Samagra Bheeshma’ by Sri Saligrama Mela and Guest artists Haradi Krishan Ganiga, Haradi Narayana Ganiga, Veerabhadra Nayak, Margoli Govinda Sherigar, Januvarakatte Gopalakrishna Kamath.  Felicitation to Sri Januvarakatte Gopalakrishna Kamath, Haradi Krishna Ganiga, Harady Narayana Ganiga and Veerabadra Nayaka by presenting Rs. 100/- each.
  • 25-5-1979 to 31-5-1979 – Yakshagna Competition for school children
  • 7-6-1979 – Felicitation to Saligrama Makkala Mela and Sri Mahalingeshwara Yakshagana Mandali, Brahmavara – on their completion of Foreign Tour. Yakshagana Performance ‘Veera Vrishasena’ and ‘Veera Abhimanyu’ from those teams respectively.   Prize distribution for the winners of Yakshagana competition for school children. Yakshagana ‘Gandharva Kanye’  directed and performed by members of Kalaranga
  • 23-5-1980 – 29-5-1980 Yakshagana Competition for school children
  • 31-5-1980 – Prize Distribution and ‘Sudhanvarjuna Kalaga and Raja Yayati’ by selected artists
  • 30-5-1981 – Special General Body Meeting; Welfare of Disabled and Retired Artists’ Proposed
  • 30-5-1982 – 1-6-1982 – Yakshagana Competition for school children’s troupes
  • 8-11-1983 – 12-11-1983 – Yakshagana Competition for school children
  • 26-10-1984 – 29-10-1984 – Yakshagana Competition for school children
  • 31-7-1985 – Registration of the organisation as per Karnataka Registration Act
  • 5-10-1985 – 11-10-1985 – Yakshagana Competition for Amateur Yakshagana Troupes on behalf of Decenary : Decenary Year Inauguration – Kota Shivarama Karanth
  • 12-10-1985 – 14-10-1985 – 3 day and night programme on behalf of Decenary.  Daytime programmes were respectively, Discussion on ‘Prasangada Aashayakkanusarisi Taalamaddaleya Nirvahane’, Dance demonstration of Badagu and Tenku Thittu.  Night programmes were Talamaddale of ‘Sudhanva Kalaga’, ‘Atikaya Moksha’, ‘Angada Sandhana’. Performance of ‘Hidimba Vivaha’, ‘Shabararjuna’, ‘Shringara Ravana’, ‘Rati Kalyana’ prasangas in Badagu style and ‘Ratnavati Kalyana’ and ‘Girija Kalyana’ in Tenku style.
  • 4-1-1986 – 6-1-1986 – Yakshagana Competition for school children
  • 19-4-1986 – Inauguration of Yakshagana Training Camp by Ammunje Nagesha Nayak. Teacher: T Jayant Kumar, B Narayana, B Sanjeeva Suvarna
  • 17-2-1987 – 21-2-1987 – Yakshagana Competition among 5 selected troupes
  • 17-10-1988- ‘Abhimanyu Kalaga – Dushyasana Vadhe’  in traditional torch light – by selected artists from Tenku Tittu
  • 3-9-1989 – Felicitation to Malpe Shankara Narayana Samaga and Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhatta;Seminar; Inauguration of ‘Ashuvaibhava’.  Inaugurator : Kota Shivarama Karanth; Talamaddales – ‘Sudhanvarjuna and Tamradhwaja Kalaga
  • 17-11-1992 – Demise of Dr. B B Shetty, the Founder-President of the organisation
  • 19-11-1993 – In memory of Dr B B Shetty, Inauguration of a book ‘Dr. B B Shetty Vyakti-Chitra‘ written by Prof. K. S. Kedlaya ; B B Shetty Award (Rs.1000/-) to Sri Sakkattu Laxminarayana – sponsored by V J U Club; Dr B B Shetty Kala Trust Fund – Inauguration by B Appaji Nayak, Mangalore ; Yakshagana Show – ‘Hidimba Vivaha’
  • 21-1-1994 – Dance Demonstration by Keremane Shambhu Hegde
  • 11-7-1994 – Beginning of ‘Avalokana’ (review) of the Yakshagana show held on 10-7-94
  • 16-10-1994 – 21-10-94 – Makeup – Costume Workshop; Inauguration of 18 accomplished artists’ Camp by N B Annaji Balla, Trustee ; Guests : A Krishna Nayak, H Gopala Rao ; Valedictory Function : President – Dr Kota Shivarama Karanth
  • 17-11-1994 – Dr B b Shetty Award presented to Harady Narayana Ganiga ; Release of ‘Harady Narayana Ganiga‘ by H Sridara Hande
  • 18-11-1994 – Demonstration by Harady Narayana Ganiga ; ‘Pratijna Prapancha’ Yakshagana by members of Kalaranga
  • 19-11-1994 – ‘Yakshagana Astavadhana’ by Dr Vasanta Bharadwaja
  • 20-11-1994 – Felicitation and Seminar on the achievements of Malpe Ramadasa Samgaga and Keremane Mahabala Hegade
  • 18-3-1995 – Demise of Prof. B V Acharya, who did execellent work as the President of the organisation
  • 10-7-1995 – ‘Gana Vaividhya’ by 8 bhagawathas of Badagu Tittu; Participating Bhagawathas : Airody Rama Ganiga, Maravante Narasimhadasa, Hosthota Manjunatha Bhagavat, Mariyappa Achar, Subrahmanya Dhareshwara, K P Hegade, Ganapathi Bhatta, Heranjalu Gopala Ganiga ; Maddala Players : Hunchadakatte Srinivasa Acharya, Durgappa Gudigar, Shankara Bhagawat Yallapura, A P Patak ; Chande : H Subraya Malya
  • 11-9-1195 – ‘Yakshaganada Anubhava’ – A discussion with Malpe Vasudeva Samaga
  • 17-11-1995 – Dr B B Shetty Memorial – Dr B B Shetty Award presented to Tonse Kantappa Master ; ‘Sudhanva Kalaga’ Yakshagana by Saligrama Makkala Mela (Hiriyara Tanda)
  • 18-11-1995 – Book Release on Malpe Ramadasa Samaga and Keremane Mahabala Hegade by Sri Pejawar Swamiji ; ‘Jambavati Kalyana’ Yakshagana by Tenku Tittu artists
  • 16-11-1996 – Speech by Dr M Prabhakara Joshy – ‘Yakshagana Prasangagalalli Pauranika Kalpane’
  • 17-11-1996 – Dr B B Shetty Award presented to Shirimata Panju Nayak
  • 30-3-1997 – Demonstration by Hosthota Manjunatha Bhagawatha – ‘Yakshaganada Vishista Mattugalu’ in Ambalpady Temple
  • 16-11-1997 – Dr B B Shetty Memorial – Dr B B Shetty Award presented to Vandaru Basava Nayiri ; ‘Shri Rama Niryana’ Yakshagana by Idagunji Mela
  • 4-7-1998 – ‘Bhagavata Naranappa Uppoora’  and ‘Yakshagana and Nataka’  books by Shri M Sridara Uppoora – Released by Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhatta ; Discourse on ‘Shri Krishna Sandhana Prasanga Prayoga’ by Dr M Prabhakara Joshy; Honoring  Dr Joshy on his DoctorateFelicitation to Udyavara Madhava Acharya on becoming the member of Karnataka Janapada Yakshagana Akademy
  • 15-11-1998 – Dr B B Shetty Memorial – ‘Gana Vaividhya’ – Bhagawathas – Matyadi Narasimha Shetty, Kappakere Subraya Bhagawat, Balehaddha Krishna Bhagawat, Haradi Annappa Ganiga, Aargodu Govindaraya Shenoy, Kadatoka Manjunatha Bhagawat ; Accompanied by: Hiriyadka Gopala Rao, A V Patak, K J Ganesh, Ramakrishna MAndarti ; Award presented to Kunjalu Ramakrishna ; Inauguration of Prof. B V Acharya Trust Fund ‘Yakshanidhi’ by Udyavara Madhava Acharya ; Talamaddale ‘Sharasethu Bandha’
  • 7-2-1999 – Conference of the owners of Professional Troupes in Ambalpady Temple. Inauguration by Trustee  Sri N B Annaji Ballal
  • 5-5-1999 – Starting from date, tax-rebate (80G) for the donations to the organisation
  • 9-5-1999 – Fundraiser for Prof. B V Acharya Trust – ‘Yakshanidhi’ – Release of photo-bouquet (‘photo-guccha’) of 10 well-known artists from Tenku and Badagu Tittu (Price Rs.100/-) by Hosthota Manjunatha Bhagawatha

Activities of Silver Jubilee Year

  1. 27-6-1999 – Inauguration of Silver Jubilee Year by Sri Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji, Pejawar Mutt and Sri Sri Keshavananda Bharati Swamiji, Edaneer Mutt ; Felicitation to Smt and Sri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde ; ‘Rukmavati Kalyana’ Yakshagana by Kalaranga members ; ‘Gadayuddha’  Yakshagana by famous artists of Badagu Tittu

  2. 4-7-1999 – ‘Nala Damayanti’ Yakshagana by well-known artists of Tenku Tittu

  3. 15-7-1999 – ‘Shurpanakha Maana Bhanga’ Talamaddale by renowned artists ; Release of ‘Kudiyana Kombirel’ – book by Sri Bottikere Purushottama Poonja by Dr B M Hegde ; ‘Kudiyana Kombirel’ Tulu Yakshagana by selected Tenku Tittu artists

  4. 22-8-1999 – ‘Ramanjaneya Matthu Chandrahasa Charitre’  Yakshagana by artists of Saligrama Mela ; Transfer of ‘Bhagawatha Naranappa Uppoora Trust Fund’ Rs.50,000/- to Kalaranga by the family members of Bhagawatha Naranappa Uppoora

  5. 25-9-1999  and 26-9-1999 – Camp of young  Bhagawathas of Badagu Thittu ; Discourses : 1.’Bhagawathikeya Thulanaatmaka Vishleshane’ by Sri K M Raghava Nambiyar 2. ‘Bhagawathike Haagu Paathrabhinayada Sambandha’ by Sri Gururaja Marpalli 3. ‘Bhagawathikeyalli Thaala’ by Sri Sridara Uppoora ; Camp Directors – Sri H Sridara Hande, Sri T Jayanta Kumar and Sri Sadananda Aithala ; One-man Ballet ‘Panchali’ performed by Dr H Rajendra Kedlaya ; Director : Prof Udyavara Madhava Acharya

  6. 25-10-1999 – First conference of Yakshagana professional artists in Puttige Mutt Auditorium ; Inaugurated by Sri K Govinda Bhat

  7. 31-10-1999 – ‘Shashiprabha Parinaya – Jambavati Kalyana’ Yakshagana by renowned artists of Badagu Tittu in Poornaprajna Auditorium

  8. 14-10-1999 – Dr B B Shetty Memorial – Dr B B Shetty Award to Sri Chandragiri Ambu (On behalf of V J U Club ; Prof. B V Acharya Award to Sri Nebburu Narayana Bhagawath ; Bhagawatha Naranappa Uppoora Award to Sri Matyadi Narasimha Shetty – A purse of Rs.5,000/- each was presented to the award winners ; ‘Hidimba Vivaha’ Yakshagana by students of Udupi Yakshagana Kendra ; ‘Brahma Kapala’ by members of Sri Laxmi Janardana Yakshagana Mandali, Ambalapady ; [Since Sri Chandragiri Ambu could not receive the award personally, due to ill-health, the award was handed over to him at his residence in Kanjnagad, Kerala by Sri Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhat on 21-11-1999.]

  9. 5-3-2000 – 12-3-2000 – Talamaddala Weeklong Competition in Srikrishna Mutt Rajangana ; Inaugurated by Sri Sri Vishweshwatirtha Swamiji, Sri Pejawar Mutt ; ‘Shoorpanakha Maanabhanga’  by Sri Mahaganapthi Yakshagana Kalasangha, Dodda Baale, Sagara; ‘Chuudamani’  by Havyasi Balaga Kadri ; 6-3-2000 – ‘Karnarjuna Kalaga’ by Sri Mahalingeshwara Havyasi Yakshagana Mandali ; 7-3-2000 – ‘Atikaya Moksha’ by Yaksha-Vijaya Kalasangha, Mittanadka ; 8-3-2000 – ‘Sudhanva Moksha’ by Talamaddale Vedike, Putturu, Udupi ; 9-3-2000 – ‘Makha Samrakshane’ by Sri Vinayaka Yakshagana Mandali, Tadambail, Suratkal ; ‘Chitrasena Kalaga’ by Yakshakala Koota, Parkala ; 11-3-2000 – ‘Garuda Garvabhanga’ by Shedikapu Partisubba Yakshagana Sangha (R) ; 12-3-2000 – Prize Distribution by Sri Sri Vishweshatirtha Swamiji ; First Place (Rs.3000/-) – Havyasi Balaga (R) Kadri; Second Place (Rs.2000/-) Sri Vinayaka Yakshagana Mandali, Tadambail, Suratkal ; Third Place (Rs.1000/-) Talamaddale Vedike, Puttur, Udupi

  10. 20-4-2000 – To commemorate the first meeting to form the organisation (20-4-1975), get-together of old and new executive committee members organised by Sri K Vishwajna Shetty

  11. 25-4-2000 – Inauguration of ‘Group Insurance’ to 165 Yakshanidhi members – Sponsored by Ambalapady Lions Club

  12. 23-5-2000 – 29-5-2000 – Yakshagana Sapthaha at Mathura Chathra and Rajangana ; 23-5-2000 – ‘Bhisma Pratijne’ Yakshagana by ‘Yaksha Degula’, Bangalore ; Director – K Mohan ; 24-5-2000 – ‘Vidyunmati Kalyana’ Yakshagana by Sri Shankaranarayana Yakshagana Mandali ; Director – Dinesh Uppoora ; 25-5-2000 – ‘Sainya Palarjuna Kalaga’ by Sri Nandikeshwara Yakshagana Mandali, Matapadi ; Director: T Jayant Kumar ; 26-5-2000 – ‘Rati Kalyana’ by Gajanana Yakshagana Sangha, Thottam ; Director – Bhojappa Salian ;27-5-2000 – ‘Abhimanyu Kalaga’ by Sri Dasavatara Yakshagana Mandali, Kajaraguttu ; Director : Hiriyadka Gopalarao ; 28-5-2000 – ‘Indrajitu Kalaga’ by selected artists from Tenku Tittu ; Director : Bottikere Purushottama Poonja : ‘Tala Vaividhya’ Demonstration by Sridara Uppoora – Participated artists : Sri Balipa Narayana Bhagawatha, Sri T Jayantha Kumar, Sri B Narayana ; ‘Veeramani Kalaga’ by Sri Maranakatte Troupe ; Direction : M M Hegde and H Sridara Hande : 29-5-2000 – Valedictory Function 30-5-2000 – Artists Conference ;  Review of the yakshaganas performed during the Sapthaha

  13. 2-7-2000 Valedictory  – Award Distribution Function – Blessings by Sri Sri Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji, President: Dr D Veerendra Heggade, Chief Guest :U R Sabhapathi, Book Released by: Dr Kalegowda Nagavara, President of Janapaga and Yaksagana Akademi, Felicitation to Sri P Sridara Hande and Sri H Subbanna Bhat – Honour to Sri K Vishwajna Shetty and Sri S V Bhat;

25 Senior Artists who received Silver Jubilee Award

Sri Belanja Venkappa Rai Sri Vandse Mutta Ganiga Sri Udyavara Basava Ganiga Sri U Sundara Rai Sri Navunda Mahabala Ganinga Sri Mavvar Sanjiva Rao Sri Yadthadi Sheena Kotari Sri Harady Babu Ganiga Sri Baikadi Gopala Madivala Sri Kasaragodu Venkataramana Sri M Timmayya Sri Karki Satyanarayana Bhandari Sri Harady Basava Ganiga Sri Gundmi Basava Sri Timmanna Yaji Mannige Sri Vandse Narayana Ganiga Sri Kolyuru Narayana Bhat Sri Hosahithlu Mahaling Bhat Sri K V Narayana Rai Sri Honnayya Samagara Sri Shiriyara Gunda Kotari Sri Kemmannu Vittala Shetty Sri Pakala Kunja Krishna Nayak Sri Koppate Muttu Gowda Late. Sri Ujre Raja.

  • Identity Cards were distributed to all the members

  • 1999 April-May : Almost all the artists were met either at their residence or their office to strengthen the bond with the organisation. Requested special assistance for the Silver Jubilee Celebration.

  • 1999-2000 : During the ‘Tirugata’ season of the professional troupes, all the troupes were contacted and registered more than 200 members.

  • Collected more than Rs.1,00,000/- for ‘Prof B V Acharya Trust Fund – Yakshanidhi’ through ‘sale of photo-bouquet campaign’

  • Rs.3000/- was given to artist Hosangady Jayarama Ganiga who was suffering due to ill health, at his own residence.


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