Yakshagana ( Kannada : “ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ”, Tulu : “ಆಟ”) is a traditional theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form. This theatre style is mainly found in Tulunadu and some parts of Malenadu regions of Karnataka and Kerala. Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn. Its stories are drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other epics from both Hindu and Jain traditions.
Yakshagana literally means the song (gana) of the yaksha (nature spirits). Yakshagana is the scholastic name (used for the last 200 years) for art forms formerly known as and daśāvatāra. It is believed to have evolved from pre-classical music and theater during the period of the Bhakti movement. It is sometimes simply called “the play” (ಆಟ) in Tulu Language. Yakshagana is strongly influenced by the Vaishnava Bhakti movement. Yakshagana was first introduced in Udupi by Madhvacharya’s disciple