“THE HANDSOME BULL ( KOLE BASAVA )”
A tradition or folk art of Southern India called “Kole Basava”. The elaborately decorated bulls accompanied by their masters are trained to entertain people . The pictures are from the Indian state of Karnataka.
These people are gypsies or nomads who wander around the streets, blessing people in exchange for money, clothes or food. The masters are usually talented musicians who play some musical instruments or demonstrate some trick. He may even ask questions to the bull and the bull will nod his head to answer Yes or No . The heavy bulls also perform some stunts like standing on the stomach of a person without injuring him. The bull being associated with Hindu God Shiva, has been considered holy in India. Women of the villages offer ragi, paddy, chillies, salt and tamrind. They even worship the bulls with turmeric, vermillion, agarbathi sticks.
The kole basavas are taken good care by their masters because they fill their feeding bowls. During performance, the bulls are gaily dressed, colourful ribbons are tied to the horns and are capped at the tips. Anklets are tied to its legs and a bell around its neck. One can also find gypsy girls along with their kole basavas seeking alms in front of temples or festival grounds.