Folk Dances & Music of Kerala
the great elephant pageant of certain temples in Kerala. Bejewelled tuskers
numbering ten to hundred, line up for this exotic spectacle with mahouts siting
atop them carrying the muthukuda (tinsel covered silk parasols) and waving the
venchamaram (white tufts). The pageant is accompanied by the panchavadyam which
gradually works up to a crescendo. The most fascinating aspect of the pooram
is the Kudamattom ritual, the ceremonial synchronised changing of the colourful
parasols held aloft the elephants.
(the term today describes any endeavour that is reckless and
expensive). This festival is a replication of the cultural extravaganza held
every 12 years by the zamorins of Malabar in the middle ages. Royal families,
principalities and chieftains from all over Kerala used to participate in this
great cultural event which was held on the grounds of the Thirunavaya Navamukunda
Temple at Ponnani in Malappuram.
is a ritual art performed by artistes in peacock
costume. It is performed in Subramanya in south Kerala. Oppana is a Muslim bridal
(literally, a column of army) is a colourful ritual art which
is symbolic of the victory march of goddess Kali after she defeated the demon
Darika. The elaborate costume of this art form bears slight resemblance to Theyyam.
is a folk art more commonly performed in the Bhagavathy
temples of Malappuram. Pootham is the character who accompanied Durga in her
combat with Darika asura. The performers, usually three in number, undergo a
week of austerity before the presentation. Colourful and intricately designed
masks carved out of the pala and murukku trees are the highlights of the attire.
fifteen minute performance starts slowly and works up to a frenzy towards the
end. The thudi provides rhythm to the dance which is usually rendered at night.
also known as kaduvakali is a common sight in Kerala during
festive seasons. Performers painted like tigers in bright yellow, red and black,
dance to the loud beats of percussion instruments like the udukku and thakil.
is a harvest dance in which the dancers, both men and women
move in a swift rhythm, linked in a back lock or holding arms. The costumes
are in striking red and white.
is a spectacular procession of huge, gaudily decorated motifs
of bulls (kaala.)
is one of the most outstanding folk arts of Kerala and has its
origin in the northern parts of the state. Also called Thirayattam, (because
every thira or village performed this ritualistic art at the village temple)
this primitive ritualisic art demands long hours preparation before the performance.
TheTheyyam (a form or shape) represents a mythological, devine or heroic character.
There are over 350 Theyysma in northen Kerala.
Kalampattu (kalamezhuthu pattu)
is another folk art form that belongs
to the northern regions of Kerala. This art form which is over 600years old
is performed by a group of five to fifteen people in Bhadrakali and Ayyappa
temples. The rituals is performed around the kolam -an elaborate picture, usually
of Bhadrakali, drawn on the floor, using five colours.The performance in the
light of temple torches lasts through the night. The singers are neatly dressed
with women wearing their hair on the side of the head. A series of songs (kalampattu)
are sung to the accompaniment of nanthuni and elathalam.
is the comprehensive system of martial arts if Kerala,
regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Kalaripayattu
training aims at the ultimate co-ordination of mind and body. The traditional
training in a Kalari includes specialisation in indigenous medical practices
too. Kalaris are also centres of religious worship.
is an eight day long colourful folk ritual which re-enacts
the combat between goddess Durga and the demon Darika. The ritual is performed
in different stages. The climax of the play- the ritual called paranettu- is
performed on a specially constructed 100 feet high stage on the eight day.
is a ritual art and a swift dance form, performed to the accompaniment of devotional
folk songs and the resounding drum beats is usually performed in Bhagavathy
is a ritual dance offering in Subramanya temples. The group
of devotees wearing bright yellow or saffron costumes with ash smeared all over
the body, dance in a frenzy carrying Kavadis on their shoulders. Kavadis are
colourful bow shaped wooden structures rising six to ten feet high. The ambalakavadi
is structured and decorated like a temple. The Pookavadi has clusters of colourful
paper, cloth or plastic flowers arranged on them. The resounding beats of percussion
instruments like udukku and chenda and the nadaswaram are characteristic of
the kavadi procession.
is a spectacular pageant of colourfully decorated effigies
of gods and goddesses, and images of animals like the horse, bull etc.
is a group dance form of the farming community in Kerala. Twelve
to twenty four dancers move rhythmically in a circle around the ceremonial lamp,
tapping the two feet long wooden sticks held in their hands.
a temple folk art and an awe inspiring mask dance.
Kumbhamkali / kumbhamthullal (pot dance)
is a folk ritual dance of
devotees carrying pots on the head.
is a ritual art exclusive to the Devi temples of south Kerala.
A team of artistes perform this song and dance ritual. The songs include those
in praise of
Durga and other deities, Padapattu (war songs) and Kalaripattu (martial art
songs). instrumental accompaniments are mainly percussions, ganjira, bells
and chaplankatta. Faces are painted and red curtains are used as partitions
on the stage.
Sarpa pattu (sarpam thullal)
or snake dance is a ritual art performed
in shrines and temples devoted to Nagaraja the king of serpents. It is performed
by women who belong to the Pulluvar caste, in a specially decorated pandal,
before the sarpakalam (snake designs on the floor). The women dance in a frenzy
to the rhythm of the sarpa pattu, until they fall down exhausted. The sarpa
pattu is performed to the accompaniment of veena, kudom and kaimani.
is a devotional folk art. The dance is performed on
a special platform which carried around the temple by devotees even as the
performance goes on.
Nritham which is over 700 years old, is a ritualistic art form of North Kerala.
The dancer moves to the rhythmic beats of the chenda carrying the thidampu
(the idol of the deity) on his head. Seven artists accompany him on percussion
instruments while two others hold aloft the ritualistic lamps. The artiste
wears much jewellery and a decorated turban known as Ushnipeetam. Thiruvathirakali
is a dance form which is a pointer to the old customs
followed in Nair tharawads (joint families) where the women of the house dance
elegantly around the ceremonial lamp or floral decoration on festive occasions
to the accompaniment of the Thiruvathira Pattu (song).
is a devotional offering to Bhadrakali and Sree Ayyappa.
This ritual art is performed in a specially decorated pandal, before the Kalam
(five colour design on the floor), the traditional lamp (nilavilaku), and
peetam (stool). The performance usually starts at dusk. The artists sing and
dance to the rhythmic music of the chenda, elathalam and chengila. The costumes
bear resemblances to Ottanthullal and Kathakali, the distinctive features
are huge jingling anklets and face makeup with tiny white dots.
which is said to have originated in the 18th century
is also known as pavakoothu (puppet play) or nizhalattam (shadow play). This
entertainment art is performed on a special stage called koothumadam in the
Puppets (pavakal), usually representing four characters from the Ramayana,
are arranged behind a long white screen, in front of bright wick lamps. The
puppets made of deer skin are made to dance to songs from the Kamba Ramayana
(the Tamil version of the epic). The performance starts late at night and
continues up to daybreak.
is almost similar to Kolkali and is a folk dance in which
artistes tap the short sticks held in both hands.
is one of the most elaborate and spectacular martial folk
arts of Kerala. This ritual art form is usually presented within the temple
premises and is called Thirumumbil vela when performed before the deity and
Kulathivela when performed near the temple pond.Fifty or more performers in
the traditional attire of soldiers, bearing colourful shields and swords or
long canes, dance with war like steps in perfect orchestration with the resounding
rhythm of the thakil, suddha maddlam, elathalam, kuzhal and trumpets. A few
fighting techniques of Kalaripayattu are also displayed in the course of the
Special hall in the temple premises for ritual and classical
Stage specially erected for certain ritual and classical
art performances in the temple.
Journey with us ?
Yatraindia.com - Your One Stop Resource for Your Travel Arrangements in India. Please submit your complete travel request specifying the details of your journey so as we can suggest you preferred travel arrangements.
India is one of the most favourite nations amongst the travellers. From Culture, Adventure, Wildlife, Pilgrimage, to Modern Civilization, India has a lot to offer to everyone,
Welcome to India & Wish you an Incredible Journey in India !!