Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form that combines unique blending of music, extempore dialogues, phenomenal dancing moves, rich make-up and intrinsically designed costumes. This theatre style is mainly found in Tulunadu and some parts of Malenadu region of Karnataka and Kerala. Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn. Its stories are drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other Hindu epics. Yakshagana evolved as a dance form during the Bhakti Movement.
Narahari Tirtha, a disciple of Madhvacharya, is said to be the first person to introduce Yakshagana in Udupi. He was also the founder of Kuchipudi. An inscription dating around 1556 CE has been evidence that Yakshagana existed from a long time. This inscription has been the first written evidence to cite about this dance form. The inscription was found at the Lakshminarayana Temple in Kurugodu, Bellary. Another evidence was found at Ajapura, present day Brahmavara. The manuscript is said to have mentioned about Yakshagana in the form of poem that was authored by Ajapura Vishnu.
Researches and Experts have placed the origin of the Yakshagana approximately in the period of 11th and 16th Century CE. Yakshagana became an established art form during the time of Parthi Subba, who was a Yakshagana poet.