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History of Tulunad

In the hoary past the city of Mangalore & Udupi (Dakshina Kannada = South Canara) served as a gateway of India. South Canara landscape is beautiful, fringed with the green coconut palm groves, people do speak Tulu, Konkani, Kannada; Tulu speaking people are the earliest natives of this region, Robert Bruce Foote says that early man appeared in the Tuluva area in the metal age and that human life existed in this region as early as 1,000 B.C., (See Encyclopedia 1992 P.552). Tulu speaking people of Coastal Karnataka are hard workers and intelligent, preserved their own herited culture. In general, the Coastal Karnataka / Dakshina Kannada District, the Tulu speaking people are highly centralized and call their mother land as “Tulunadu” (The land of Tuluva’s people).

“Tulunadu” people have very rich culture of their own on performing arts, seasonal arts, ritual arts etc., The culture of this has conditioned the form of many performing arts, particularly on the basis of ancestral worship or Bhuta Worship. Along this many other related rituals, socioeconomic activities has contributed very beautiful form on folk theatre called “YAKSHAGANA” – live human folk theatre.

Foods/needs are culturally determined in the Tuluva people. On the other hand the herited performances like buffalo race, cock fight, are open field performances and more or less related with certain rituals. Tuluva people are governed in the matrilineal manner. Most of the Tuluva performances wested in the hands of the men than women folk. Women’s participation is found only in the “SIRI” epic performances or ritual of mass trance, which is observed once in a year on full moon day in a particular month. The ritual of the trance is observed only in few Hindu temples like “Mahalingeshwara Temple”.

From the month of November to May, the cultural performance are more frequently observed in Tulunadu. After monsoon people engage themselves in agriculture work.

The Coastal Karnataka has many religious events, performances, which run on a large scale like Nagamangdala (Snake Worship Ritual) Bhuta Worship, Kambala, Cockfight, Yakshagana, etc.

Community oriented performance are found more in numbers specially in the downtrodden communities like Mundala, Pana, Pambada, Parava, Muggerlu and ritual art performances of Marathi Nayak’s “holy” dance and ‘doolu’ drum beating dance of the Koragas are significant performances during the occasion. These performances occur with only the ritual context of the place.

Written by
S.A. Krishnaiah
Chief Co-ordinator/Chief Researcher
Regional Resources Centre for Folk Performing Arts
MGM College Campus
Udupi – 576 102, Karnataka, India.
E-mail: mmusica@sancharnet.in

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