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Kalamezhuthu in Kerala

One of the prettiest regions in the world, the beautiful land of Kerala is made even more special by the presence of one of the richest cultures in the world. Still proudly preserved in the hearts and souls of almost all the people of Kerala, the rich culture of Kerala manifests itself in a number of ways led predominantly by the various ritual arts of Kerala, like the Kalamezhuthu.


One of the most exotic artistic expressions of Kerala, the ancient art of Kalamezhuthu is one of the most well- preserved ritual arts of Kerala. The word Kalamezhuthu literary means the drawing of the "kalam" or the image. Traditionally used as an art with which to please various deities like Kaali, Ayyappan or Vettakkorumakan, the ancient art of Kalamezhuthu is performed by skilled artists who draw powder drawings or "dhulee chithram", depicting the images of the deities.

Using the floor as his canvas the skilled artist performing the ritual art of Kalamezhuthu paints the portrait of the deity using only natural colors which are made using the materials like paddy (black), rice powder (white), dried and powdered leaves of `Vaaka'- Acacia (green), turmeric powder (yellow) and a mixture of turmeric powder and quick lime (red). Using skilled fingers, the images made by these artists depict a range of emotions which give these images a characteristic image. After the "kalam" or image is finally complete, the boundaries of the image are made even more special by the addition of a sacred canopy of palm fronds, garlands of red hibiscus flowers and thulasi or Ocimum leaves.