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Halakki Farmers of Uttara Kannada

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Halakki Gowdati
A Gowdathi Goes to Bazaar

Halakki Vokkals are confined to the coastal talukas of Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. They are agriculturists living on farm lands located at the outskirts of towns that are sandwiched between the mighty Western Ghats in the East and the expanse of the Arabian sea an the West, 75,000 Halakkis live in Koppas under direct control of their community heads. Mud walls and floors of their thatched huts are elaborately decorated with "Hali" (white Rangoli against black or red background.) "Halakki Kannada" refers to the dialect of the state language in which these people converse. They have a rich folklore.

Their women (Gowdathis) are graceful, light in color and very pretty. The hair are parted in the center and brought back into a pendulous bun. Their nose, ears, necks, arms and ankles are loaded with ornaments made of brass, copper and silver. They have a great fancy for blue, yellow and red beads, and wear them in large numbers, around their necks in the form of strings. Women are extremely hard working and a bridegroom has to pay "Tara" (bride price) to his father-in-law prior to wedding.

Men are of darker complexion and wear a short rumal on their heads. The old timers do not like to wear more than a loin-cloth, but the youngsters go in for shirts. However, men are in their true colors at the time of "Suggi Kunita" (Harvest dance) celebrated at the time of Holi festival. Two weeks in advance they commence practicing singing and dancing in an open space, at nights. They lavishly spend their hard earned money on gorgeous costumes and musical instruments. On an auspicious day the dancers gather in a community pendal and offer prayers to their deity and seek blessings of the elders. The village head has the privilege of witnessing the dance performance first.

The dancers costumes will put a male peacock to shame. Their turbans are decorated with red, yellow and blue beads. An attractive "Turaayi" (head gear) is inserted in the center of the turban. The local Gudigars prepare them from pith and "begadi." Some of the red and yellow flowers have pith birds on them. Each dancer wears a long kurta, red or yellow pyjama and flowing shoulder robes. They carry "kuncha" (a bunch of peacock feathers inserted in a wooden handle and "kolu" (playing sticks.) "Gumate" (tow faces ear--then drum one face of which is covered by "chappa" skin,) "jagate" (beating disc,) and "Tala" (cymbals) provide a loud background music. The dancers move in a circle singing devotional songs. The master of the ceremonies controls their singing and rhythmic steps. They perform a great variety of dances including "kolata" (stick dance.) Tired troupes are honored by offering of refreshments and coins. Their landlords and traditionally recognized persons have the good fortune of witnessing the "Suggi Kunita" at their residences. The troupe moves from on village to another and spends the nights at temples. After three or hour days' tour they return to their villages on full moon day, where a hero's welcome awaits them.

 


See Also:


The Halakki Tribe
The Halakki Tribe
Index

See More
The Burden of BeadsThe Turayi Headgear of a Halakki TribalShe is very rich in beads.Tribals Making Festival Headgear from BamboosAlpana Ritual Art of the Halakki Tribals
Folk Musicians, the Village of KavalakkiHalakki Tribal CoupleHalakki Tribal Woman and her ChildHalakki  Woman in front of her HabitatPicture of a Halakki Tribal Woman
The Children of SoilA Proud Housewife of Halakki TribeGrandma Gowdati (Halakki Lady) caring for a ChildGumatepak (seasonal music offerings) TroupeHalakki Gowda Farmer
Pictures of Halakki CommunityA Village Woman

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