The Background Story of Mandarthi Yakshagana Mela
Once in the past there was a robber named Surgoli Anthu .He used to loot the rich people and help the poor by distributing it to them .Once he wanted to loot Lord Ganesha temple which was on a hill. While climbing the hill he was confronted with a big elephant which blocked his way. He failed to reach the temple .Then he prayed the Lord Ganesha not to stop his work of helping the poor people. The Lord Ganesha told him to come alone with pure heart and devotion and take the thing which he would find for the first time. Accordingly Anthu went to the hill alone and found a box in front of the temple and took it away. While coming near to Mandarthi temple the box became very heavy he opened it. To his surprise he found an idol of the Lord Ganesha and anklets used by Yakshagana artists. The Idol became so heavy that he could not lift it. So it had to be consecrated at Barali. Later it became famous as “Barali Ganapathi” Anthu was totally disappointed and he returned from the temple while coming near Mandarthi Temple his assistant started dancing, taking the anklets. Then he heard a voice (Akashavani) that said to him to offer the anklets to the Divine mother Durga.
This incident initiated a tradition at Mandarthi. When Yakshagana is enacted. The artists wear the dresses and get ready for the performance at the Barali Temple itself.
Now Mandarthi temple has five Yakshagana troupes each troupe has its own bus as a means transport .The stories and episodes of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are enacted on the stage. Nearly forty-five members constitute a "Mela" or a troupe.
The People of costal Karavali and others view Yakshagana with all earnestness and devotion. The devotees offer “Yakshagana Seva” for the fulfillment of their wishes. It has been a fine blend of Art and spirituality in life.