Saturday, March 30, 2013


Which is the most colorful and nostalgic moment everyone in gramam loves to remember?  Surely it is the time of pooram and vishu, the memories of which will take you off to your childhood days. The nature will be in full bloom - the kani konna will be in glittering gold and the chembakams will be fully opened. The distant noise of crackers will tell you of the impending vishu. The vacations are on and for two months we are not expected to attend the boring classes. Everyone will find out ways  to collect maximum possible money for purchasing crackers. Money for crackers form elders is unthinkable and so cashew nuts which are in plenty proved to be the best option for money. 

Poorotsavam in Malabar has an entirely different connotation. Elsewhere pooram is synonymous with thrissur pooram. Here Pooram is a fertility festival.
All the temples with mother deities celebrate this festival of the spring. In all homes young girls nearing puberty will invocate kama, the god of love with gaiety. Pooram starts from karthika to pooram in the month of meenam. On these days young girls make an idol of kama in flowers in their kottilakam with awe and respect, give water and fire to it periodically under the supervision of elders. On the last day they bid farewell to Kaman. They earnestly request  him to visit them early next yearsinging
  nerathe kalathe varane kama.

There will be a feast with poorakanhi and poora ada.
          In kavus, the ritual is followed by drum beats and the deity is immersed in the holy pond on the last day. There will be a poorakkali and maruthukali in all the kavus.  In ashtamachal Bhagavathi temple in theru the ritual is very symbolic. All the village folk assemble before the sanctum sanctorum and the men folk perform a poorakkali with a beautiful song which runs like this
                       Poopparikkan poyakanni
Pookkandu, poomaram kandu
avidavide thamasichu
Then they proceed to madathumpadi temple for the holy ablutions with the four deities on decorated wooden horses. After the team return in the evening, there is keleepathram , ayyakkapodi and thidambu nritham. On the last day there is saliya porattu which is a sarcastic criticism of society pronounced in a somewhat vulgar language. The entire ritual can be conceived as a fertility cult resembling kodungallur bharani. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013


                      Payyanur Kolkali will enthrall anyone interested in folk culture. It is not a replica of mappila kolkali or other kolkali forms elsewhere. It is unique. It can even be termed classical as the songs and the rhythms resemble karnatic music. It requires a lot of acrobatic skills as kolkli is a prelude to kalarippayattu. The disciples of kalirippayattu requires the sharpness and alertness of body which is inculcated to the young disciples through a series of kolkli performance. In kolkali, the players are provided with two small sticks (made up of Kara) fitted with steel bangles. When they are struck together they make a musical note. The players assemble in a circle. 

There should be a minimum of 16 players. The players are grouped into two types - the aka, meaning those inside and the pura, meaning those inside. The kurikkal and the singers will occupy positions outside this circle. They dance according to a sett rhythm sung by the singers and echoed by the players in unison. There are plays which have to be played in a sitting position then in a standing position and finally in a moving position. While the pay progresses the kurikal utters talams loudly like munifo po (meaning Move forward) madakkam po (meaning go backwards etc) . The play ends with a vaithari thalam. There are some 50 different varieties of  play but usually some twenty are  played. In olden times there used to be kolkali on all festivals like nira, puthari etc at Payyanur temple. There, beneath the erinhi tree the first play is enacted as an offering to lord Subramhanya. 

 The kolkai songs are melodious and are usually invocation to gods. Kalasappattu by Anidil Ezhuthachan is a classic work which appears to be penned down solely for kolkali. Kalasappattu describes the brahma kalasam at payyanur temple in Malayalam era 1002. The temple which was completely destroyed in fires during tippu’s carnage was rebuilt by an anderjanam of thazhakkattumana and the song describes the various rituals of the celebrations in connection with the renovation of the temple.

                  The charad kuthi kali is the most attractive item in Kolkali. Here a pole is erected at the centre of the playground. Atop the pole a circular disc is attached from which coloured strings are tied down. The other ends of these strings are tied to the little finger of all players. While playing, the strings intersect each other forming a fine net. When the net is complete, the play is reversed and the same song is repeated. Exactly when the song  ends the net will be undone.  WATCH CHADUKUTHI KALI AT