Kantara: When folklores and traditions inspire travel

Kantara: When folklores and traditions inspire travel

There’s a big takeaway from the movie
Kantara – when folklores are involved, it is always a good idea. It’s not just about the interesting stories that get told in the process, it is also about so many new things we learn about a particular community or a place. When you mix these with travel, you have experiences that are not only unique but are also something that you will be talking about for years to come.

Also read:
The legend behind Karnataka’s Namada Chilume

The movie, Kantara, is based on the culture and folklore of a community and place that doesn’t usually see the light of day. Keradi in coastal Karnataka is where this movie was shot. The movie Kantara may be a fictional story but it is most definitely inspired from the real stories and traditions of Keradi village.

Kantara: When folklores and traditions inspire travel

The movie beautifully explores the age-old tradition of
Buta Kola, a ritual dance held in honour of the local deities. It is an annual tradition practiced in several parts of coastal Karnataka, especially in the Tulu-speaking regions. The importance of demigods, rituals dedicated to them, their influence on the local community and their beliefs, do these remind you of something similar? Are you also thinking about the tradition of
Theyyam from North Kerala?

You wouldn’t be wrong if you did because
Buta Kola and
Theyyam are closely related.

Kantara: When folklores and traditions inspire travel

During the months of December to May, the annual ritual of
Buta Kola is performed where local folklores, called
paddanas, are recited to invoke the deity. These rituals are usually performed, as per the legends, to resolve conflicts between man and nature. In real life, the ritual is also observed as assemblies, where village conflicts are resolved. What we have here is folklores inspiring cultures and traditions, and this has to be one of the most interesting things you will come across in your travels.

Just like we have
Buta Kola and
Theyyam in the South, there is a similar story about the relationship between man and demigods or deities, from Northeast India.

Kantara: When folklores and traditions inspire travel

Some of the Nagas from Nagaland and Manipur have one thing in common when it comes to their villages. If you have explored Northeast India, especially these two states, you must have come across big elaborately carved wooden gates, right before you enter a particular village or town. Most of the travellers wouldn’t care much about that, maybe take a picture or two of it. Little do they know about the interesting reason why these gates are placed in the first place.

For some, these gates are installed in honour of the Naga warriors. And then, there are some communities who believe that these gates are there to protect the villages from any evil. In some of the Naga folktales, it is said that every village has its own protector demigod, usually a hornbill.

For some communities these gates are sacred and no funeral processions are allowed to go through the gate.

Now, there is no way to prove any of these legends and folktales from north to south, as true or false. They exist as stories and one thing we can say with most certainty is that they make for some great travel stories to bring back home. Learn more such stories on your next travels to these culturally rich places in India; there is a lot more that is yet to make its way to the silver screen.

  1. Where was the movie Kantara filmed?
    Kantara movie was filmed in Keradi village in Udupi district, Karnataka.
  2. What are the two main local traditions shows in Kantara movie?
    Buta Kola, a ritual dance held in honour of the local deities, and Kambala bullock race.
  3. Is Kantara movie based on real life events?
    Kantara movie is a work of fiction inspired by the real traditions of the people of the coastal regions of Karnataka.

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