Huli Vesha (Tiger Dance)
Huli Vesha or Tiger faced dance is a dance form unique to coastal Karnataka. Huli Vesha is performed by local youth during the Navratri Festival (the 9 nights long festival which often falls in the month of October).
Huli Vesha is performed to pay tribute to Goddess Durga, whose official animal is tiger. Goddess Durga is often known for her aggressive stance, capable of keeping evil forces away from her devotees.
The setup: Huli Vesha performance often involves a group of people dressing up in tiger costume- tiger face masks or paintings, tiger stripes on the body, accompanied by yellow or orange coloured shorts. The group moves on the main streets of the town, dancing, accompanied by drums and music, entertaining the public on the way, at times collecting donations from whoever offers the same. During the dance, they make stops and perform some stunts and formations to keep the crowd more entertained.
Where and when to witness Huli Vesha:
Huli Vesha is seen in all coastal Karnataka towns, such as Mangaluru, Udupi, Kundapura, Moodubidiri, Karkala and so on. While there is no fixed time table and location to spot Huli Vesha performance, there will be a very high probability of witnessing Huli Vesha near temples, city centers and popular public places during the Navratri festival season. Huli Vesha may also be performed during other popular festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Sri Krishna Janmashtami etc. Your local host/hotel staff may alert you about the best possible way to witness Huli Vesha.