News Karnataka
Saturday, December 09 2023

Roaring with Tradition: The Pili Parba Tiger Dance Competition

Organised by Kudla Samskritika Prathisthana, the competition witnesses the participation of 15 teams. The tiger dance which started in the forenoon went on till late in the evening. Each team was given 20 minutes to perform on the stage erected for the purpose
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Mangaluru: The beats of drums and “taase” filled the air as “human tigers” danced to the tunes of a bandset during the second edition of Dasara ‘Pili Parba,’ a tiger dance competition unfolded at the Nehru Maidan here on Saturday, October 21.

A Vibrant Spectacle of Tiger Dance

The Nehru Maidan in Mangaluru came alive with vibrant performances during the second edition of the Dasara ‘Pili Parba’ – a tiger dance competition that has been delighting audiences and participants alike. This captivating event, organized by Kudla Samskritika Prathisthana, featured 15 teams, each vying to showcase their unique and artistic tiger dance performances. From the early hours of the day to late in the evening, the stage was set for a thrilling display of tradition and creativity.

Breathtaking Body Art

What sets the Pili Parba apart is the artistry displayed by the team members. Their bodies become canvases for intricate and colorful designs, bringing the essence of the tiger to life. Each team member embodies the spirit of this majestic creature, captivating the audience with their striking appearance.

Thrilling Performances

The performances went far beyond mere appearances. The participating teams presented a diverse range of tiger personas, from the fierce “kari huli” to the graceful “mari huli,” the playful “tayyi huli” to the elusive “patte huli.” These “hulis” performed heart-pounding stunts and mesmerizing flips, adding an extra layer of excitement to the competition.

An Act of Precision

One of the most thrilling aspects of the performance involved a daring feat. A designated tiger performer within each team was tasked with biting, lifting, and either throwing or swinging an “akki mudi,” a unique type of headgear. This demonstrated not only the performers’ bravery but also their precision and skill.

Tradition Meets Creativity

While the heart of the competition lies in tradition, it also encourages innovation and creativity. Each team, while adhering to the cultural roots of tiger dance, brought their unique flair to the stage. A notable challenge for the performers was dancing to the well-known Kannada folk song “Dharani Mandala Madhyadolage,” often referred to as “Govina Haadu.” This song, deeply ingrained in the local culture, served as the backdrop for their artistic expressions. In addition to this regional song, team members infused their performances with popular Kannada and Hindi lyrics.

Unearthing Historical Roots

The tradition of tiger dance in this region dates back centuries, typically beginning during Navaratri as a form of “harake,” a vow to express gratitude to a deity for fulfilling a wish. This historical practice reflects the deep cultural roots that continue to shape the identity of Mangaluru and its surroundings. By participating in the Pili Parba Tiger Dance Competition, teams are not only celebrating their heritage but also showcasing it to the world.

Preserving Tradition Amid Contemporary Expression

The Pili Parba Tiger Dance Competition bridges the gap between preserving ancient traditions and embracing contemporary creativity. While honoring their cultural heritage, each team also has the opportunity to infuse their performances with a touch of innovation. This delicate balance between tradition and creativity is what makes the Pili Parba competition so special.

A Celebration of Culture and Heritage

As the human tigers danced to the rhythms of the “taase” and the bandset, they not only entertained the audience but also celebrated their cultural heritage. The tiger dance tradition, rooted in centuries of history, continues to thrive and evolve in Mangaluru. The Pili Parba Tiger Dance Competition not only showcases this rich cultural tradition but also provides a platform for contemporary creativity and artistic expression within the context of this age-old practice.

The audience, including esteemed guests like Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada, M.P. Mullai Muhilan, were treated to a spectacular display of tradition, art, and creativity. The colorful designs adorning the performers’ bodies, the heart-pounding stunts, and the dynamic choreography all came together to create an unforgettable experience.

Emphasizing the Deep-Rooted Significance of Pili Vesha

During the event, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel took the stage to emphasize the deep-rooted significance of the traditional Pili Vesha in the coastal region, especially during festivals. He highlighted how the customs and rituals of Tulu Nadu are steeped in profound beliefs. Pili Vesha, once limited to temple festivities, has evolved into more than just entertainment; it has become a symbol of devotion, particularly during the Navaratri festival. Kateel also noted that these competitions have extended beyond Mangaluru, reaching other parts of the district, playing a pivotal role in preserving this traditional art form for future generations.

Under the Leadership of Mangaluru South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath

The event was organized under the leadership of Mangaluru South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath. A large number of enthusiasts attended the event and enjoyed the performances by the Huli Vesha teams. Their presence underscored the importance of preserving and celebrating cultural traditions that have endured for generations.

Distinguished Panel of Judges

The distinguished panel of judges for the competition included PS Venkatesh Bhat, Rohan Thokkottu, KK Pejawar, Naveen Kumar, Kadri Navneeth Shetty, and Kamalaksha Bajilakeri. These esteemed judges brought their expertise and discerning eyes to the competition, ensuring that each performance was evaluated with precision and fairness.

A Cultural Legacy Continues

The Pili Parba Tiger Dance Competition is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of culture, heritage, and tradition. As Mangaluru continues to evolve, these traditions serve as a reminder of the deep cultural roots that have shaped the identity of the city and its people. The competition allows each team to infuse innovation into their performances while honoring the legacy of the tiger dance tradition.

The beats of the “taase” and drums, the colorful designs, and the stunning choreography all contributed to a memorable and culturally rich experience. The Pili Parba Tiger Dance Competition is a testament to the enduring legacy of a tradition that has captured the hearts of generations and continues to thrive in the vibrant city of Mangaluru.


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