Gondaligara Ata (Narrative performing art of North Karnataka)

Gondaliga's are "Ambha Bhavani worshipers, either two or three artiste  together  gives theatrical performance in North Karnataka  and in Maharashtra, The performance theme mainly on divine tales or folk tales or historical legends. The performance given in the public during the nighttime only. The performance rendered by the "Gondal" community people so it is called  the "Gondaligara Ata" in Kannada. The Gondal community people are itinerants, few are now settled, on invitation the Gondal priest goes and gives the performance. They speak Marathi as their mother tongue, also well known the regional languages.

The term "Gondal"  means  the army of Shiva Spirits. The shiva spirits  are called "Gana" and  the troupe of the "Gana" is called "dal" Combining these two words "Gan +  dal" which became "Gan-dal" but in the regional language used as "Gondal". The main theme of the “Gondal” ritual is appeasing or appeases the Shiva spirits or mother deity spirits. In propitiation of these mystic spirits ritual is called "Goondal puja". 

The myth states that "Parusharam" son to "Renuka" decimated the demon called "Baanasur". Threading veins from "Baanasur's" body through his skull "Parusharam" created an  instrument which, when plucked, yielded a sound approximating "tintini". Today this instrument is known as chaudike. "Parusharam" went  to worship "Renuka"  while playing on the instrument and thus was begun the tradition of performing a goondal. alternatively it is also put forward that the goondal tradition was established when "Parusharama" killed kshatriya King "Sahasrarjun". The goondaL's who worship "Devi Renuka" are know as Renukraai and those who are devotees of "Tulja Bhavani" are called kadamraai.


Article by 

S.A.Krishnaiah
Chief Co-ordinator (Research Wing)
Regional Resources Centre
For Folk Performing Arts
M.G.M.College Campus
Udupi - 576 102 , Karnataka, India
E-mail: mmusica@sancharnet.in