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‘Bedara Vesha’ is a folk dance performed days before Holi night in Sirsi town of Karnataka. It is also known as ‘Hunter Dance’. People of Sirsi celebrate Holi with this unique folk dance every alternate year. It attracts a large crowd from different parts of the state on all the five days of Holi.
‘Bedara Vesha’ is a unique folk dance with a legend of 300 years. According to the legend, after the reign of ‘Vijayanagar Kings’, Sirsi (then Kalyanapattana) and other southern India regions were taken over and ruled by Sonda dynasty.
In Sonda region, there was always a fear of Muslims invaders attacking. In order to protect them, the rulers appointed ‘Malleshi’, a young boy from Beda community and a warrior in the Vijaynagar Empire.
Initially, Malleshi performed his duties well, but later, he became a troublemaker and a womanizer. He wanted to marry Rudrambika, who was the daughter of local leader Dasappa Shetty. She was bold and fearless; for the interest of society, she married Malleshi.
One Holi night, while Malleshi was dancing, Rudrambika threw acid in his eyes which made him blind. He then tried chasing Rudraambika to kill her but was caught by 12 villagers and burnt alive. Back then, villagers practiced ‘Sati’ (a ritual where wife sets herself on fire on her husband’s funeral pyre)
In appreciation of rudrambika’s sacrifice, ‘Bedara Vesha’ was started and is performed even today.
How is it done?
The Hunter Dance is practiced for months before the actual performance. The artists are donned with peacock feathers, mustache, cotton and red cloth, fruits, shield and sword.
Popular places where it can be found
Nearly 50 solo artists’ perform the hunter dance with whistle blowers and a troupe of drum beaters.
- The Celebration of Holi
- "A unique folk dance". thehindu.com. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
- A unique folk dance - The Hindu
- "Sirasiyalli disguised as offensive expression, Holi special". kannada.oneindia.com. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
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