The impersonator putting on his makeup

 Bhuta Kola is one among many traditions of culturally very rich region of Tulunadu (region in South Indian coastal belt). Kola or also known as Bhuta Kola is a form of  worship of Bhuta (spirit). During  Kola the spirit possesses the body of the impersonator to communicate with the mortal human beings. Bhuta Kola is ritual practise followed by the people of Tulunadu. The belief is that Daivas are Gana’s (Spirits created by gods to take of humans) of gods . The gods sent Daivas to a earth when the humans were in troubles due to demons. The Daivas saved human’s from the demons and stayed on earth and were worshiped by humans. The Daivas aka spirit enters  into the body of impersonator after the rituals performed by the impersonator to communicate with its subjects in human form. After the impersonator is possessed by the Daiva the Daiva (In the form of impersonator) starts to dance. As the dance progresses the possession becomes higher until the imporsonator is completely possessed by the Daiva. After possession the Daivas are offered by the offerings which depend on the type of Daiva. After the offering the Daiva may talk to its subject and solve their problems regarding property problems, monetory disputes , robbery , breach of contract etc.

There are different types of Bhuta kola where different Bhutas are worshipped. 
These pictures are of Garadi Kola where the deitis are Koti and Chennaiya. One more deiti is Kujumba kanjava who was a human being later converted into Daiva by Koti and Chennaya.

*All info provided is from the research I did by sourcing information from different people and their beliefs

I will be writing a blog on Koti and Chennaya and details about Kola in my upcoming blog as this blog is getting lengthier.

The impersonators getting ready 

        The person to become a impersonator in Garadi Kola needs to be from Parava caste only. The impersonator puts on makeup which mainly consists of yellow paint made from natural materials. The process of making colours naturally is called as “Aradala” in Tulu micrlanguage. Most of the makeup used is made naturally.

“Chapparakombu”a silver oranament.
The impersonator in Garadi kola wears a ornament called Chapparakombu made of silver.
“Gaggara” a anklet used in kola
The brass anklets worn  by the impersonator. This is a very important component of the costume of impersonator.

Make up time

The impersonator putting on the makeup of natural lime put on beetle leaves

Wearing the gaggara


“Beremer” also know as “Kemlatta naga bermer”

Beremer also known as “Kemlatta naga bermer” is the lord of all the bhutas. As we have Mortal people as the kings of our villages Beremer is the king of the world of  spirits aka Bhutas. 

Deep thoughts before posession

The impersonaters are helped by someone mostly by the young people who want to become impersonators in future (a system like knight is helped in dressing up by his squire)

Completely ready
The recitation of  Paddana’s

                                  The beginning of the dance , the beginning of possesion.

The rituals inside the garadi
The dance after getting possessed

The dance is continued to sometime

As I was having severe fever during the Kola I couldn’t wait till late night where the Bhuta communicates with people. This dance is followed by offerings and the Bhuta talking with the people.

A special thanks to  Saurabh Shetty for providing me with the opportunity to click the pictures.

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