Although Yakshagana had spread to foreign countries, its roots should be preserved in Karnataka, said Prasannanath Swamiji of Adichunchangiri Math's Shimoga branch.

He was speaking at the valedictory of the five-day Keremane Shambhu Hegde National Dance Festival in Gunavante in Honnavar taluk on Thursday. He said that it was astonishing that people were drifting towards light music (sugama sangeeta) from Bhagavatike (playback singing in Yakshagana).

The swamiji said that Yakshagana had been developed by people who were illiterate but had deep knowledge of culture.

This art had the capacity to change the minds and lives of the people. He expressed happiness over the Padmashri award being conferred on Chittani Ramachandra Hegde for his services to Yakshagana.

Lauding the achievement of Shambhu Hegde Keremane, a renowned artiste of Yakshagana, R.V. Deshpande, former KPCC president, said the late artiste had taken the Yakshagana beyond the borders of India. He promised financial help to the Yakshagana museum and library coming up in Gunavante.

Harikrishna Punaruru and Gururao Bapat spoke. The five-day programme was arranged by Sri Maha Ganapathi Yakshagana Mandali, Keremane.