Kola-Nema & Jatre-Utsava: Cultural festivities that enrich heritage in Coastal Karnataka

11:26 AM Feb 18, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

Along the coast of Karnataka, religious activities and related events are celebrated almost daily, with occasional specified breaks. The region boasts numerous sacred sites, including temples, Nagasthanas, and Garodis, contributing to a constant festive ambiance. Various programs such as Brahmakalasha, Nagamandala, Thambila, and Kambala augment the celebrations throughout the year, particularly in the coastal districts. The participation of organizers and devotees adds uniqueness to these events.


Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts host a plethora of educational institutions, from Balawadi to higher vocational education, ensuring a perpetual festive atmosphere along the coast. Jatrotsavas and Brahmakalashotsavas extend for 3 to 10 days in many locations, while specific clans observe customary rituals like Nema for their deities.

Similar rituals are observed across all religions in the district, such as the Mahamastakabhisheka in the Jain tradition, Santmari in the Christian tradition, and Uroos in Dargahs.

These activities, both religious and cultural, provide a supportive environment for various sectors. Art activities during festivals enrich cultural heritage, while sports and entertainment activities attract youth. Sabha programs featuring lectures and speeches by dignitaries foster knowledge dissemination among the populace.

Coastal folk sports hold a significant heritage, with organizations reviving traditional games through competitive events like the Kesaru Gadde Oota (muddy paddy run). Festivals also feature showcases like firework shows, painting exhibitions, dance performances, and talent shows, adding to their allure.


The coastal region of Karnataka has preserved its religious and folk heritage since antiquity, as evidenced by inscriptions dating back several centuries. These rituals serve to foster a spirit of communal unity, reflecting the inherent teachings of religious doctrines. Various religious thinkers expound on the purpose and significance of these rituals, ensuring their meaningful observance.

Annual celebrations such as Shivaratri, Ugadi, Ashtami, Chauthi, Navaratri, Deepavali, and Christmas are multi-day events celebrated with zeal across the region. Schools and colleges prioritize such activities to enhance students’ personal as well as personality development.

These festivals serve not only as occasions for celebration but also as platforms for the promotion of righteousness and virtue.

Certainly, celebrations are incomplete without communal dinners. Each region boasts its own variety of food, adding excitement to the festivities.

Translated from Kannada article by Manohar Prasad


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