All Stories in Nostalgic Kerala Arts & Festivals

Aana yottam (Elephant Race)

Aana yottam (Elephant Race)

The Elephant Race is connected with the flag-hoisting ceremony. Some selected elephants, out of the temple’s forty-odd elephants, take part in the race. They stand in a line at Manujulal before they are made to run towards the temple. However, only some five to eight …

Patayani

Patayani

Patayani is a ritualistic dance, which literally means an array of common people. Patayani involves many powerful themes of esoteric appeal. The whole village activity corporate in this popular art. The figures in Patayani consists of Pisachu, Kali, Karakkura, Pillatini, Bhairavi, Kalan etc. The masks …

Sarppam Thullal

Sarppam Thullal

There exists an elaborate ritualistic ceremony called Pampinthullal (serpent dance) conducted for propitiating the serpent gods. This ceremony takes place during the Malayalam months of Kanni, Thulam, Kumbham and Medam. The Ayilyam (the Aslesha star) on which falls the birthday of serpents is held auspicious …

Velakali

Velakali

Velakali, a dance evolve from the martial culture, is performed in some temples as a spectacle during festivals in which the whole village participates. This dance originated in Ambalapuzha which gained importance in the16th century AD as a coastal principality ruled by a Brahmin Raja …

Kalam

Kalam

The Kalam in the Kali cult, denotes a floor painting of the goddess. Before the form of the goddess is painted, a Chakra in the tantrik structure is drawn using two colours, white and yellow made respectively of rice and turmeric flour. On the north …

Mudiyettu

Mudiyettu

This is a more elaborate and dramatic form of ritual dance in which the Kali cult emerges in all its entirety. This is Mudiyettu, the portrayal of the fight between Kali and Darika, ending up with the slaying of Darika. Mudiyettu begins with Kalamazhikkal (wiping …

Kottamuri

Kottamuri

In Kotamuri, the cow is held as the symbol of prosperity of the village. The vegetative cult find its identity with the social context in the form of a ritual in which a young boy is made up as Kotamuri. A protruding wooden cow face …

Parichamuttukali

Parichamuttukali

It is a group dance with the dancers holding sword and shield made of wood. With a major stress on the Kerala folk tunes, the rhythmic mould of these being shaped from the meaningless syllables which form the language of the folk instruments. The dancers …

Chavettu Pada

Chavettu Pada

This is a Martial art In the feudal society of Kerala there were suicide squads, whose motto was to kill or get killed. These dare-devil type of soldiers were known as Chavettupada. The members of the squads were dedicated to the presiding deities of famous …

Margam Kali

Margam Kali

Among the performing arts of Christians, Margamkali deserves special mention. It is a group dance developed by the Syrian Christians of Kerala. The word ‘Margam’ means path, way, religion or creed. The real source of inspiration for Margamkali was Kalaripayattu which was very popular when …

Ramanattam

Ramanattam

Ramanattam was introduced by the Raja of Kottarakkara. As the name indicates, this play was based on Ramayana. Ramanattam was in Manipravala style and performed by the Raja himself and his Nayar soldiers. Actually, this was brought into being as a challenge to another form, …

Yathrakali

Yathrakali

Yatrakali is differently known as Samghakkali, Chattira Ankam, Sastramkam, Kshatramkam, Panemkali. It is an art of the Nambootiris which had socio-political aspects at the time when it was conceived and later evolved as a performance form. It is believed that the formation of the art …