Saturday, January 19, 2013


This year there are reported to be about 38 Dakkebali days as decided by the management committee, each sponsored by a person, organization or a village. Usually held between middle of January and middle of March every alternate years when there is no paryaya at Udipi, the number is decided by demand from sponsors and available days during this period. Generally the elders of Padubidri plan this event after the Navarathrii Thambila is over and decide the days on which Dakkebali can be held. As a thumb rule this is not held on Miondays, Ekadashi days and Amavasya days. Why Dakkebali is special to Badettu family? Our founder Narnappaya was a senior Pathiri in Brahmasthana for a number of years after being chosen by the Brahmeru and performed there for more than 3 decades. While the first and the last Dakkebali events are in the name of Padubidri village, the second Dakkebali seemed to have been reserved for Badettil. Here is a small description about it as understood by the outsie world.

"Dakkebali held once in every two years is one of the major events held in this region. It is held at Sri Khadgeshwari Brahmasthana temple in Padubidri, where Goddess Vanadurga resides.  Dakke, a small instrument, made of bronze and leather, is first placed in the holy place and then played by the possessed pathri moving spherically. Devotees carry their offerings, called 'Hore Kanike' in Kannada and 'Pude' in Tulu language, from the famous Padubidri Mahalingeshwara Maha Ganapathi temple to the Brahmasthana, in a long procession passing through Padubidri town, spanning more than a Kilometer, at times. The offerings mainly consist of fruits, flowers, tender coconuts etc.  Before the procession, 'Anna Santarpane' is held in which thousands of people will be offered free meals at Mahalingeshwara Maha Ganapathi temple premises, during those days when Hore Kanike starts from this temple.
Padubidri Dakke Bali-2011. This kind of a bi-annual worship is held during the certain nights starting from usually 14th January to 2nd week of March, except during the year when ' Paryaya Utsava' at Udupi is held. This year, it was held between 18th January and 12th March. This ritual always starts in the night and continues till dawn. At the end, the entire decoration around is pulled apart and everything on it, including tender coconut, flowers, fruits are offered to all the crowded devotees".

Here is what Vedavyas, the present "light house beacon" for Badettu clan has to say about Dakkebali: "Pathiris, persons who play Dakke are essential for this seva, besides the purohit, Devakari, Gurikars and countless volunteers. Dakke is a Damaru,like instrument. made of bronze or wood. It is played by hand like Mridangam or Tabla by the Dakke Pathiris.
The beating of Dakke is synchronized with the Tala play, giving a special musical blend that electrifies the atmosphere. Dakkebali is performed in other places also but the one Brahmasthana, Padubidri is exceptional and unique in that it involves Devi as well as Naga worship. While Nagamandala performed widely in south Karnataka to please Naga Devaru only, during Dakkebali there are Naga Pathiris and Dakke Pathiris are involved. The decoration of Brahmasthana with flowers, fruits, pingara (flower of arecanut tree), tender coconuts, starts immediately after the "Pude" from the sponsor is brought in. Those who do the decoration are volunteers from Padubidri village and they are highly experienced and adept in doing this job with speed and fineness. completing the task within a matter of 4-5 hours. Entire Brahmasthana is converted into a floral palace by the time the sacred function starts. Plantain stem sheathing cuts and designed green leaves are used to frame the "Devi Gudi" while all stone pillars are wrapped with Pingara flower , fruits, tender coconuts bunches, plantain bunches, and flowers of various hues and color transform the place into a majestic place. Full credits to those volunteers who do these decorations fresh every day when Dakkebali takes place.Probably the atmosphere so created sensitize the devotees to the presence of Goddess there blessing them."

Here are some video showing glimpses of Dakkebali that was held in 2011 ( Many believe that Dakkebali is a manifestation of Nature worship for which South Kanara, as this region was known earlier, was a reognized center. One can get an idea about this dimension from the following account.  The pathris who by custom belong to the Shivalli Brahmins of the place which is called Bengre in Padubidri. These pathris are not selected by the people nor compelled to play that role. They are in a way accepted as pathris by the presiding Deity of the place Khadgeshwari. When the Shivalli Brahmins of the place feel that they must have a pathri according to the custom, they assemble together in the local Mahalingeswara and Maha Ganapathi Temple, pray and proceed to Khadgeshwari Brahmasthana in a Bhajana (devotional songs) procession and arrive at the Brahmasthana. They continue to chant the sacred name of the Lord loudly by saying Govinda!, Govinda!, until they get a person of their community possessed by the Holy Chaitanya. There is a customary procedure in accepting the pathri of the place. The Shivalli Brahmins of the place who have assembled there will have to extend their formal opinion before accepting a new pathri by the Deity of the place. This opinion is called upon by a verdict given through existing pathri. When the Shivalli Brahmins of the place extend their consent. The family of the pathri is summoned to the holy place and was called upon to give their whole hearted consent. Thereupon, the pathri who is also called as koradu is accepted by the Deity of the place blessed with 'Abhaya' (assurance of protection of the Deity). The pathris of the place cannot perform as such in any other place without the consent of the Deity and the Shivalli Brahmins of the place. There used to be nine pathris once upon a time but now, only three. The viniyogas (work connected with worship) of this place are supervised by three persons of different family called Gurikaras who represent the Shivalli Brahmin community of Padubidri from each of the three families viz., Kornaya, Balappa and Murudi. For performing the pujas the priests belonging to Rajapurohit Class was chosen. The administrative work relating to the worship of this place is carried out by a trust called Sri Vanadurga Trust which has a centralized administrative system covering all seva activities. The Shivalli Brahmins of this place elect the members of Vanadurga Trust once in three years.

Dakkebali starts by 2 am on the appointed day and continues till morning but must be over before arunodaya as per tradition. According to those who visit Brahmasthana frequently during Dakkebali season it is a sight to watch all the Pathiris, dressed in special gears standing before the Gudi for the darshan of Devi. after waving the "Arati", each pathiri starting from the senior one, gets possessed of the Goddess. Each of them is then taken by the main Dakke Pathiri to the Mandala side though it requires two or three attempts before the other pathiris obey the main pathiri! Finally jumping, running and holding "Dondi" lights, shouting "Ho" they reach the Mandala. What happens there after is amazing and must be watched to admire the tradition evolved in this famous shrine over decades. After watching Dakkebali, at least once in a life time, it leaves an indelible imprint in the minds of all those participating this popular event in Padubidri. If our forefathers undertook tedious pilgrimage to places like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gaya, Varanasi Rameshwaram, Tirupathi, Sabarimala, Vaishnodevi temple etc, there must have been some thing in their  mind which our present generation is not able to gauge properly.  Whenever any of us from Badettu Family take the trouble of going to Padubidri and watch Dakkebali will definitely miss our beloved Ajja (Narnappaya) who had performed the role of senior Pathiri there for a number of years though one can experience his presence there!


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