Mandarti mela aims for Guinness, Limca record

Mandarti mela srtistes staging yakshagana.

Yakshagana is a traditional art form of coastal Karnataka and has a history deeply rooted in the tenderness of the soil of the land. Mandarthi Mela (troupe) with a history of more than 500 years, is one of the oldest mela that exists in the coastal districts.

Mandarthi Mela is run by the Mandarthi Temple administration.  The reference to the Mela is found in the manuscripts of Vadiraja.

Even though the manuscript provides no specific details on the history of the Mela, it does reveal the fact that the Mela existed during his period.

The Mandarthi temple administration had four Yakshagana troupes initially but when the demand for staging yakshagana increased over the years, the administration introduced one more troupe, to accomplish the vows of the devotees offering to get ‘Yakshagana’ staged in the name of Goddess Durgaparameshwari of Mandarthi temple.

It is believed that to please the Goddess, the devotees vow to organise Yakshagana by any of the troupe of Mandarthi Yakshagana Mela.

Devotees book the mela in advance to stage the performance. However, the advance booking for staging Yakshagana is already done till the year 2027 to 2028.

As many as 12, 240 shows have been booked already. The number of shows to be played till 2028 is truly astounding as no other Yakshagana Mela in and around Udupi district can boast of similar popularity.

There are as many as 42 members in each mela, of which 28 are the Yakshagana artists.
Speaking to City Herald, Mandarthi Durgaparameshwari Temple Dharmadharshi Dhananjaya Shetty said “earlier the shows were fixed through notifying. Once I took over the temple administration in 1987, the entire process is taken up by the temple authorities. Everything is decided by temple administration,” he added.

Five troupes

The second troupe was introduced in 1992. The third and fourth mela was introduced in the 2000 and 2003 respectively. Fifth mela was ready on November 17.

The Mela played the ‘prasanga’ of ‘Mandarthi Sri Kshetra Devi Mahatme’ in its inaugural show.

According to temple CEO N S Doddamani about 1,100 to 1,200 shows can be staged every year.  The mela works for 180 days in a year. Besides, there are 100 shows to be played as permanent shows in the year, he said.

The Yakshagana season begins during mid November, immediately after ‘Sankramana’ and concludes either on May 20 or 22.

Limca record

Shetty said temple administration is making preparation for entering into Limca and Guinness Books of World records for maximum number of plays being staged every year. “We intend to take up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner” he said. If everything goes well, then the temple administration has plans to initiate two to three additional ‘Melas’ in the coming days to meet the demands of the devotees.

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