ritual dance



In Malayalam,Puli means tiger,and kali means play. The other name of Pulikali is kaduvakali, and it’s a  common folkart of kerela. Its performed by skilled artists to entertain people during the occasion of onam, which is the annual harvest  festival, celebrated in Kerela.On the fourth day of onam,the performers ,are painted like tigers in bright red ,yellow and black, and dance and move in a way resembling tigers, to the loud beats    of percussion instruments like udukku and thakali.

Pulikali is mainly performed in the Thrissur district of Kerala. Its origin is dated back to around 200 -300 years ago, during the reign of Maharaja Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran, the then Maharaja of Cochin, who  is said to have introduced the folk art, who wanted to celebrate Onam with a dance that reflected the wild and macho spirit of the force. The dance has been evolving since then. In  the early days, masks were not used at all and participants would have themselves painted all over, on their faces as well. But now, ready made masks, cosmetic teeth, tongues, beards and mustaches are used by the participants along with the paint on their bodies. cenes such as the tiger preying on an animal, and a tiger being hunted by a game-hunter are enacted beautifully in between. Thousands of spectators line the streets enjoying the dance, cheering the dancers some of them even trying to join in. The groups assemble at Naduvilal in the Swaraj Round, Thrissur in front of the Vadakkunnathan Temple and offer a coconut each to the deity of the Ganapati shrine (Naduvilal Ganapati Kovil) here, before going on a procession around the ground. The procession also include floats from each village. The different troupes vie with each other to make the best floats as well as the best dressed tigers.


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