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Patayani Ritual Art

Patayani is one of the most popular ritual arts of Kerala. This week-long ritual dance is held in Kali temples on the banks of the Pamba river during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Medam (March - April). Patayani is associated with the Devi (goddess) temples of Central Travancore area. The slaying of the demon Daarikan by Goddess Kali is the choice theme of the dancers. The performers target various communities for criticism by means of gestures.

The steps and movements of the dance differ according to each Kolam or character. Bhairavi (Bhadrakaali), Yakshi, Pakshi (bird) and Kaalari (Shiva) are the prime characters. The performers dress up as Kolams and perform a dance procession which generally culminates at the altar of the deity. Thappu is the major percussion instrument used for Patayani accompanied by a few Chendas.

Decorated spectacularly, the performers of Patayani ritual art of Kerala wear masks painted with a grotesque touch of fantastic imagery. You will be amazed sighting the round eyes, triangular ears, and the enormous size of the headgear worn by the dancers. This unique mask, complemented by the exemplary dance, makes Patayani ritual art a sight to watch on your Kerala Tour.

Patayani is performed with lots of zeal and enthusiasm in nearly a dozen village temples of Kerala. The villagers share the ritual experience and the responsibilities actively. Kadammanitta, Kadalimangalam and Othara in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala are renowned for annual Patayani performances