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Bantwal: Koraga Community’s ‘Gajamela’ Attempts to Uphold Their Distinct Culture

Bantwal: Koraga Community’s ‘Gajamela’ Attempts to Uphold Their Distinct Culture

Mounesh Vishwakarma
Daijiworld Media Network—Bantwal (RD/CN)

Bantwal, Nov 4: Although the scheduled tribes, also known locally as Koraga community, who were shunned socially, they nurtured their indigenous culture but its begun to lose its sheen for various reasons. 

The spoken language of the Koraga community is facing the danger of oblivion, along with their contemporary traditions and culture. 

So, a few alert leaders of the community have formed their own indigenous arts troupe to foster the cultural splendour of the community.  Known as Koral Arts Troupe, they staged a cultural show titled ‘Gajamela’ at Kuddupadav, near Vittal, recently in association with Kannada and culture department.


Drums have a great significance for the Koraga community and drum beats that were a part of their life during times of happiness and sorrow have been vanishing over the past decade or so.  Gajamela was formed by chronicling the various rhythms of drum beats, which are of intrinsic value to the community.   The audience got a chance to witness various rhythms of drum music used for various occasions.
Gajamela has staged shows across the state in association with Kannada and culture department.  They have been engaged in educating people across Bantwal and Puttur about their rich cultural hierarchy which is little known to the new generation of their own community.

Gajamela troupe’s rhythms with the traditional saxophone and drum beats, folk dance in groups of both men and women to the rhythms of music, enthrall the audience.  The drum beats performed held during ‘Bhootaradane’ and other occasions are mesmerizing. 

Their dance recital depicts their community’s traditional profession of weaving baskets by drawing twines from woods, wedding ceremony, adventurous act of breaking a coconut into two-halves in the palm, the heroic art of stick fight, and their soldierly qualities.

The music of drums depicting mourning at a funeral ceremony moves the audience to tears. A compere explains the significance of music at various stages and women also showed their skill in drumming.
Ramesh Manchakal is the president of Koral Art Troupe, assisted by community artistes Balaraj Mangalore, Ramesh Gundavu, Babu Pangala, Kudupa Saccheripete, Ravi Kaikamba, Kogga Ramesh Kodikal, Sumati Kinnigoli, Malati Kodikal, Malati Mangalore, Sasikala Kodikal, Harish Attur, Sudar Belvai, Sanjeev Kodikal, and Geeta Pilikula.  The troupe has staged shows across the state including Ravindra Kala Mantap at Bangalore, Kolar, Ramanagar, and Kodagu.

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Comment on this article

  • Dr.M. SELVADURAI, Tamil nadu

    Wed, Feb 5 2014

    i am Ph.D, Research work in KORAGA Tribal. so many artificial in Koraga tribal. Now working Research paper in Koraga tribe. Very good information in this article.
    The Koragas are expected to perform “ajal” duties. In other words, a particular area is assigned to a group of families and they are expected to play a key role in certain occasions like village festivals, death ceremonies social and religious functions. The Koraga men beat drums and play flute during deaths and other socio-religious functions. They also announce the dates of festivals, village functions, etc. for performing these duties.

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  • sasi, bangalore

    Thu, Sep 6 2012

    This is a good article, informing about the drums and other dances of the community. Koraga dolu may be developed to the level of famous "Dollu Kunita" of Karnataka.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Harold D'cunha, Mangalore, India

    Sat, Nov 5 2011

    Good beginning by the Moraga community to upkeep their culture. We wish them good luck. Hope within short period of time, they will unite all Moraga community people in the coastal area and fight for their cause for equality, justice. And to get benefit of the funds allocated to them by the govt. for their upliftment

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