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The Village of Gundabala

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Dancing for the Gods
First Online: August 06, 2001
Page Last Updated: January 03, 2018

List of Pictures

In a remote village off of the town of Honavar, in Gundabala (introduction - map), an amazing phenomenon happens every night for the non-raining eight months of the year. A classical performance of Yakshagana is played for the appeasement of Lord Hanuman, a popular deity of the village.

The practice has been going on for approximately eight hundred years! Night after night.

The performance is free to anybody. In fact, the performance goes on in full flow even when there is no audience. It is conducted for the deity remember? Human audience don't matter. 

The belief is that the presiding deity of Gundabala temple (Lord Hanuman, who himself is a fierce devotee of Lord Rama) just would not ignore any fair requests (examples of  fair requests are a cure for infertility, request for marriage, recovery of a child from a life threatening illness). The devotees take a vow to entertain the deity with his favorite dance for a night upon receipt of the favor. 

Apparently it works. The performing stage is back booked for six years; i.e., if you pledge a dance service today (2001), your turn comes in 2007!

The dance is performed by dedicated artists who are trained rigorously in the semi-classical dance of Yakshagana. Gundabala is known as the Mecca of Yakshagana (Yakshagana Kashi) in the Indian art circles.

The following is a collection of pictures taken in Gundabala during two separate visits -- one in the 1984 and in the year 2000.

Pictures by Vikas Kamat and K. L. Kamat

Table of Contents

  • Dancing for the Gods -- In the remote village of Gundabala, a classical performance of Yakshagana is played for the appeasement of Lord Hanuman every night for eight months.

  • Interview with a Gundabala Native -- Notes of a social conversation with Uday Bhat, a native of Gundabala village.


See Also:

  • Dance of the Celestials -- Yakshagana is a complete theater which includes song, dance and drama.

  • Path of Devotion -- Explore the Bhakti movement in India including the important proponents. A supplemental photo exhibition shows devout Indians at worship.

  • My visit to Gundabala by Hiryoung Kim Kamat Coming Soon



Dancing for Gods at Gundabala
Tradition at Gundabala

Backstage at GundabalaMidnight MakeupInvitation to Lord Ganesh
Midnight Offerings at Gundabala TempleStage Set for a Devotional Performance of YakshaganaMap Showing Gundabala


Kamat's Potpourri Timeless Theater Karavali Gundabala

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