Sri Kateel Yakshagaana Mela is a famous Yakshagaana troupe. The Yakshagaana troupe, Kateel Sri Durgaparameshwari Yakshagaana Dashavatara Mandali, popularly known as Kateel Mela is an important ‘Harake Seva’ troupe.
It performs on request by devotees who have taken a vow (Harake) to arrange a show of Yakshagaana for fulfillment of a desire or as a service. The Adhidevatha of Kateelu Kshethra, Shri Durga Parameshwari Amma is fond of Music, Dance & Yakshagaana.
The Kateel Mela was founded in the middle of the 19th Century and is still running well, with increased support from devotees. When the demand for performances increased, two troupes were started in 1980s. Now Kateel Temple has Five full fledged troupes in its name! Yet all performances upto the next ten years are fully booked! Such is the support and popularity it has got. All the famous Yakshagaana artists of the district have served in this troup. The devotees deeply believe that Shri Devi Exhibits a part of herself during the Bayalaata shows. Devotees get all their desires fulfilled by performing such sevas. The troupe’s main area of tour is Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod district. Normally, the troup starts its seva play tour at the middle of November and ends it on the 25th of next May each year.
The presiding deity of the shrine Sri Devi, popularly called Kateeleshwari, is known to be found of fine arts like music and dance. Yakshagana is the favorite of the Mother. In the beginning there was a Yakshagana troupe by name ‘Kateel Sri Durgaparameshwari Yakshagana Mandali’. Devotees used to sponsor the performance of the Yakshagana drama out of their faith in the holy Kshethra. They would have the troupe brought to their place and arrange for the nightly performance on a grand scale as a service to the mother. As the years passed the number of such devotees went on increasing and a single troupe could not meet the demand of this increasing number. As such the number of troupes has multiplied over the years from one to six at present. Still, performances for about ten years get booked in advance. The Kshethra has stuck to its tradition of playing only ‘Puranic’ themes whereby it intends to disseminate knowledge of puranic literature and Indian culture and orient the devotees in stage dance and music, thus motivating them in head and heart to pursue the virtuous path. The temple, by this, is efficiently playing the role of a propagator of Indian culture. The annual tour of the troupes starts with first service-performance on the six podiums built in the car street of the Temple. This annual debut takes place on the day Fixed for the purpose soon after the annual Deepothsava. The reverse of this, closing performance and once again a service-performance, gets solemnized on the day after tenth of the second solar month which is itself an auspicious day that marks the end of summer and the onset of monsoon. Both these ritual performances last the whole night. The annual tours of these troupes are restricted, barring extraordinary occasions, to the three districts of Mangalore (D.K), Udupi and Kasaragodu. For the Kateel troupes Yakshagana, thus, is a God-worship and an art-worship simultaneously.
Sri Kalladi Deviprasad Shetty, troupe organiser is running and managing the troupes under the guidance of the Temple Trust. Kateel troupe’s performances are like a festival for the people.