Tiger Dance


Tiger Dance - Udupi


Huli Vesha art form was born of the love, respect and veneration showered on the tiger by the people of Dakshin Kannada for whom the striped predator was but another face of god.It is performed mainly in the occasion of Krishna Janmashtani , Navratri and Ganesh Chathurthi. Its an internationally acclaimed Tiger Dance, which takes part in the procession of these Occasion. Men paint their bodies as Tigers and dance to the beat of drums which create the illusion of Tiger Dancing.

In Huli Vesha, Huli means "Tiger", dancers also painted themselves with leopard or cheetah motifs. Each person will be wearing just knickers, which usually has a tiger-skin motif. The rest of his bare body and face is painted with various designs that denote tigers, cheetahs and leopards. A mask made of fake fur and sometimes a tail is worn to complete the ensemble. The paint causes a burning sensation on the skin. But this is endured by the persons to be part of the celebrations and also to earn some extra money in the holiday season. Originally people used to do this as a part of a religious vow. The paint is kept on the body for a couple of days and repainted or retouched as desired.

Typically, young males form troop 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 the Krishna Janamastmi, these Huli Vesha troops will be roaming in the streets of the towns, accompanied by the drummers. They stop at homes and business or in the road side to perform ten minutes or one hour; they collect some money from people who have observed their performance. Tigers and dance to the beat of drums which create the illusion of Tiger Dancing.