'Hoovinakolu' awaits revival

'Hoovinakolu' awaits revival

It is popular during Dasara celebrations in coastal belt.

The century-old unique art, which is disappearing in the modern days, awaits revival.
‘Hoovinakolu’ was very popular in Udupi and Kundapur taluks, particularly during Dasara festivities. It appears like a subsidiary of Yakshagana, and has played an important role in strengthening it. However, it has more resemblance towards Talamaddale than Yakshagana Bayalata.

Interestingly, the members who play roles here are children. There are no dance or colourful costumes like Yakshagana Bayalata, and there are not even different characters like Yakshagana Bayalata. But the art resembles both Yakshagana and Talamaddale since it follows their style in song and speech, as well as the ‘himmela’ (the accompanies). While Yakshagana presents a whole plot with different members performing different roles, ‘Hoovinakolu’ has only two speakers presenting a small scene from a plot. However, there are members of himmela such as ‘bhagavatha’ and the performers of ‘maddale’ and  and ‘shruthi’.

200-year old

‘Hoovinakolu’ has a history of about 200 years. It is especially performed during Dasara festivals. On the first day of Navarathri, the team with 5 to 6 members, visit the local temple and later perform the art till Vijayadashami.

The first two members are children who perform the roles. They may be students or the ones getting trained in Yakshagana. They are accompanied by a bhagavatha, and the ones with a ‘maddale’ and a harmonium. In the earlier years, people used to use the dried cover of bottle gourd for making ‘shruthi’. Now, it has been replaced by harmonium.
There used to be one more member with the team, a non-artiste. He is an assistant to the team, to help the members to carry the instruments, and the grains they receive in return to their performances. However, nowadays the members are honoured with monetary returns and hence, there is no necessity of the 6th member.


While entering any home, the boys in the team hold a stick decorated with flowers in their hand. They keep them aside only after the performance begins. In the beginning, the boys perform invocation, wishing the well-being for the family head. Then onwards, the ‘bhagavatha’ begins the actual ‘prasanga’ (plot of the day).

The episode ends within 10-15 minutes. The boys converse on the lines of the song sung by the ‘bhagavatha’. Usually, they select an interesting situation from a plot having two important characters from mythology such as Arjuna-Babhruvahana, Karna-Arjuna, Sudhnva-Arjuna etc. There can be a pair of male-female characters such as Krishna-Satyabhame, Arjuna-Subhadre, Abhimanyu-Uttare etc. However, boys used to perform the female roles.

The art has been disappearing due to several reasons. The media of entertainment in villages have grown manifold. On the other hand, the remuneration being given to the artistes has also gone down. Moreover, people started feeling that going from home to home with the team expecting something in return, was an inferior job.

There is lack of support and guidance to revive the art form. Senior artistes like Samaga, Naranappa Uppura, Hiriyadka Gopalarao, Sakkattu Lakshminarayanaiah, Gundmi Ramachandra Navuda are not in the field, which has affected it a lot.

Yakshagana Kalakendra Hangarakatte near Brahmavar is organising ‘Hoovinakolu’ competition every year to revive the genre.