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Bhūta kōla or spirit worship is an ancient ritual form of worship prevalent among the Tulu-speaking community in Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, and Kodagu districts in Karnataka and Kasaragod taluk in Kerala alternatively known as Tulu Nadu. It has close a resemblance to theyyam, a ritual form of worship common among Malayali of North Malabar.
With bhūta referring to a class of supernatural spirits and kōla referring to a ceremony for the bhūta, the further understanding is that "a bhūta kōla is performed to appeaase and solicit assistance from the spirit(s) remaining an ancient ritual of spirit worship. Such ritual forms of worship remain as ancient practices intended for the blessings of the supernatural not unlike "in Indus Valley and other ancient civilizations, mother goddess had been invoked for fertility and prosperity"
The coastal Karnataka is known for two art forms, namely bhūta kōla, a highly stylised version of the ritual dance of the spirit impersonator and a fine tradition of yakṣagāna, creating a world of divine and supernatural beings with all the paraphernalia of costume, make-up, music, dance and dialogue.
ritual dancer with makeup of jumadi daiva
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