Bhooteru (also known as Bhooteyas) is one of the oldest communities of Bidar and of India.

Bhooteyas are performers of one of the many folk art forms in Bidar. Their art form is fast fading today. This community has women and nonbinary gendered individuals who are worshippers of Bhavani Mata.

They perform for Gondal/ Gondula (ಗೊಂದಲ; गोंदल) which means problems/complications, in Kannada, Marathi, and Telugu. Their performances usually will be in and around the temples of Bhavani Mata mainly during Hindu festival of Dussehra, celebrating the legacies of Bhavani Mata and kings and queens.

Bhooteru_Non-binary gender group performing for Dussehra at Kalika Mandir in Kumbarwada_blurred.jpg

Image 1: Bhooteru performance for Dussehra at Kalika Mandir in Kumbarwada (Credits: APC Report)

Bhooteru_Kalika Temple at Kumbarwada where Bhooteru and Aradhi perform their songs and folklores during the festival time of Dussehra.jpg

Image 2: Kalika Temple at Kumbarwada where Bhooteru perform their songs and folklores during the festival time of Dussehra (Credits: APC Report)

Google Maps Link to Bhavani Temple:

Bhavani Temple · XGJF+W6G, Benakanalli, Karnataka 585402, India

During the ten days of Dussehra celebrations, they practice unique rituals and performances on the day of Ghattasthapana which is the most important ritual that is performed by most of the Bhavani Mata devotees inside their houses. Ghattasthapana basically involves the use of various types of Grains which are mixed and put in two small mounds of Black Soil(locally called Madana) on the temple pedestal of their homes. 2 small earthen pots(stumbler) are then kept and on one of them one of them and a cotton wick is lit in the clay lamp that is used to cover the earthen pot. This is then kept for days ranging from 5 to 9 days. And the seeds germinate to give it a look of a tiny little forest, hence the name Ghatta.

The artifacts that are used for performances enable the narration of the stories, and processions and these are also part of rituals. Some of the properties used have multiple usages. The attire consists of bright-colored sarees, coral-shelled neckwear, bangles flower garlands around the head and neck, etc.

Bhooteru_Tayatha (amulet) on a Kaudi Sara (coral shell neckware), part of the attire of Bhooteru during their performance.jpg

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