A trip to Kerala is generally considered to be incomplete without experiencing the many ritual arts of Kerala, notable among which is Mudiyettu, a tribute to the Goddess Bhadrakali.
One of the oldest ritual arts of Kerala, Mudiyettu is basically a dance drama that is performed in an effort to pay homage to the Goddess Bhadrakali, one of the oldest forms of Goddess Shakti or the Mother Goddess.
Performed in the various temples of Bhadrakali scattered all around the southern and central parts of Kerala, Mudiyettu is generally performed by the Maran Community and based on the ancient legends and scriptures of Hinduism.
It is said that the ancient dance form of Mudiyettu has an origin that dates back to an age which preceded even the origin of temples in Kerala. Though its origin still remains untraced, Mudiyettu is said to be the depiction of a fierce battle which Goddess Bhadrakali waged against Asuras Daarikan and Daanavendran, two fierce demons which ended in the victory of the Goddess.
One of the most notable features of Mudiyettu is the complete absence of "mudras" or facial expressions, which is considered to be extremely important in almost all the dances of Kerala. Facial make up and headgear on the other hand takes the upper hand with elaborate masks and head gear being used by the performers. The role of the audience too is extremely important with a very prominent involvement of the audience and the performers, which has proved to play an extremely important role in popularizing Mudiyettu. However, the involvement gradually decreases and becomes less prominent as the characters get separated towards the middle of the performance when the scenes become more dramatic.