Bhootha Aradhane or Bhuta Kola is a ritualistic folk dance in Karnataka. It has originated from the coastal parts of Karnataka and Kerala as a way of Tulu worship. Tulu is a regional language in Karnataka. This form of dance is rarely seen. Bhootha means ghost. The references to these creatures` dates back to myths. In mythology Lord Shiva`s attendants are referred to as Bhuta Ganas. Their chief responsibilities were to serve the Lord and protect Dharma.
During this form of dance the performer is required to make up his or her face in a specific way and wear certain costumes and jewelries. The performer will then dance on a special music. The main idea behind this folk dance is to appease the devil and protect the environment. A procession with idols of `bhoothas` is taken out. Drums and firecrackers accompany the procession. At the end of the procession the idol is kept on a pedestal and the dancer begins his performance. He dances with swords and bells whirling round like a bhootha. He acts as if he is possessed and pretends like a prophet.
Bhootha Aradhana has different forms. Several kinds of ghosts are represented through this folk dance. Kallurti, Koraga Taniya, Shiradi Bhoota, Koratti, Punjurli, Kuppe Punjurli, Kalkuda, Ali Bhoota, and many others are revered in places like Bantwal, Puttur, Uppinangadi and Mangalore. Rajya daiva, Kuntikana Dhoomavathi, KinniMani, Guliga, Koraga, Poomani Ullakalu and Raktheswari are the bhootas worshipped in temples. Both as a tourist and as an art enthusiast you will love Bhootha Aradhane. The dance is performed twice in year, once in the month of January and again after the annual festival.