Yakshagana is a colourful folk drama - which features colourfully attired artistes typical to this beautiful folk art – and entertains the spectators with a night long performance. Since it narrates stories from the Hindu mythologies through songs, dances and dialogues, the artistes represent characters from the Hindu pantheon of gods.
This art form has a history of more than 200 years. It is popular in the district as an art form that is both entertaining as well as didactic. As the theme is drawn from mythology, it has a moral message communicated through music, dance and dialogue in the vernacular Language (Kannada as well as Tulu).
To strengthen the glory of Yakshagana, Shri Heggade established the Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Yakshagana Kala Kendra. This Kala Kendra encourages young and aspiring artists to learn this performing art and provides them with a six month training course every year. In the coastal region of Karnataka the funding and presentation of an yakshagana performance is seen by devotees as an expression of their gratitude to Lord Manjunatha for the blessings bestowed on them by the Lord. Many such devotees show their gratitude to Lord Manjunatha by organizing and funding a yakshagana performance by the Dharmasthala Yakshagana troupe. The troupe is so popular that one has to book a performance by the troupe years in advance if one wants to undertake such a religious offering.