Dasara Special: Hulivesha performances in Mangalore

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Mangalore: As the festival season begins in Karnataka, the streets of Mangalore are seen with the tiger dance performers which is unique to only southern India.



Hulivesha is folk dance unique to the Tulu Nadu region of Karnataka. Hulivēṣa is performed during Navaratri to honour the goddess Sharada – an aspect of Saraswathi whose favoured animal is the tiger.



Tiger dance, locally known as the ‘Pili Vesha’ is a unique form of folk dance especially in Dakshina Kannada that fascinates everyone regardless of their age.


Typically, young males form troops of five to ten members or more, which will have three to five males painted and costumed to look like tigers, and a band with two or three drummers. This troop is accompanied by the manager of the group. During Navratri, these troops will be roaming the streets of their towns, with the accompanying drum beats of their bands.


A typical troupe consists of 7-15 members. But there are troupes of much larger sizes also. The formal dance begins with a Ganesh pooja following the Navarathri festival. The troops perform until the last day of Navratri, and almost all of them form part of the Sharada procession. After the procession is over, performances are stopped and the paint is removed.

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