Tuesday, July 31, 2012


In Kerala the Classic art forms which are  having origin  in the state are "Kathakali,
Krishnanattam, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyattam ,Thidampu Nritham, Chakyarkoothu, Arjuna Nritham  Ottan Thullal etc  and Thiruvathira Kali(Kai kottikali), Margam Kali, Oppana etc  also possess a classical touch.
The visual art forms prevailing in Kerala in the category of Folklore group are
of many varieties and types.These are all having a long tradition and still follows the original procedures and cults.But the popularity of many of the
folklore art forms have diminished because of modern  urban life style .Different  communities in the society solely performed many of the art forms and the
new generations are not very much interested in them.But Government and many other
Padayani "Kolam"
enthusiastic social societies interested in the traditional culture are giving all kinds of encouragement and help
for the artistes.
The ancient visual art forms were usually intended for religious purposes.They
were having two uses either for propitiating Gods and or for safeguarding the society  from
evil spirits.
Several other visual forms were for purely entertainment purposes.Many were
used at the time of celebrations like harvest,marriage etc.
Singing folk songs were a tradition and custom  while doing works in the agricultural fields.The songs sung during sowing seeds were different from the songs sung during harvesting.
Margam Kali
When agriculture was the main occupation of the people of Kerala the present
month 'Karkadakom'(July-August) was a problem causing  month for farmers and a large sector of people.Epidemics were common during this time of the year and many  people would not be  having enough  money with them in this month.Next month Chingam is harvest period and therefore Aug-Sept would be celebration month.
The folklore art forms performed in olden days during 'Karkadakom' were mainly to remove evil spirits.(Mariyattam,Kalanattam,Vedanattam etc).In the month of Chingam "Oneswaran,Kummatty,Pulikali,Thumbi Thullal,Thiruvathira Kali,Kummi Kali,Kala Vela,Kathir Vela " etc are all performed and   boat races
including Snake Boat races etc are also held as part of the celebrations.From the month of Chingam festivities of different varieties  related to Temple,Church and Mosques as well as other types of celebrations are also common.
Natural materials are largely used for the folklore artistic forms.The easily available materials  such as Paddy,Rice, Coconut flower bunch,Arecanut flower bunch,Areca nut,Betal leaves ,Coconut,Golden laced red colour and white colour   silk clothes,arecanut tree sheaths,Rice powder, turmeric powder, turmeric powder mixed with lime,  powder of different colour natural stones ,charcoal powder,natural glue collected from certain type of trees etc are all necessary for folklore 
visual forms.
For classical art forms like Kathakali, colourful dress is used and colourful ornaments are also worn  on several parts of the body such as neck,ears,hands,shoulder,waist, nose etc..Mostly they wears ornamented headgears (Crown) also.
The ancient folklore variety such as 'Padayani Kolam', they   employs natural materials such
as arecanut sheaths,natural colours,tender coconut leaves etc.They make 
effigies with the arecanut tree sheaths artistically painted and tied on a bamboo frame.Headgears are all made with natural materials.The face of the
artiste's will be also covered with appropriate effigy.
Sarpam Thullal

The traditional musical instruments used in Kerala for the folklore art forms   are mainly "Maddalam,Thakil, Thoppi maddalam,Chenda,Murichenda,Kuzhal,Kudam,Veena,
Thappu,Udukku,Nanthuni,Chengila,Para,Thudi etc.
The ritualistic art forms are performed as per the rules and regulations which are followed exactly from generations to generations.The songs sung for these art forms are  all transformed from one generation to the next.
Some varieties of the folk art forms are performed by women but majority are
done by men only.Several  art form  needs special talents and physical training
like 'Kalari Payattu' for performing them.The names of some folklore visual
art forms are as follows:-
" Kaliyattam,  Karineeliyattam,   Karadiyattam,   Mayilattam,  Bhadrakaliyattam,  Theyyattam,  Neeliyattam,  Kurathiyattam

Tholpava koothu,  Kaniyan Koothu,  Malankoothu,  Ayyappan Koothu,  Pavakoothu,
Karadikali,  Ochira kali, Ivar kali,Uriyadi Kali, Ezhamuthi kali,  Kambadi kali,

Kalamezhuthi pattu,  Sarpam pattu,  Pana pattu,  Pulluvan pattu,  kalam pattu,

Kaliyoottu, Mudiyattam,  Garudan Thookkam,  Kuthiyottam,  Mayilpeeli Thookkam, Mudiyettu,

Kummatti kali,  Kummi Kali,  kai kotti kali,  kol kali,  Thiruvathira Kali,
Chuvadu kali,Kaala Kali,Charadupinni Kali, Seetha Kali, Paricha Kali, Visari Kali, Parichamuttu Kali,  Pavakathakali,  Sangha Kali,

Thumbi Thullal,  Kolam Thullal,  Theyyam,  Thira,  Adavi Thullal,  Amman Thullal,  Komaram Thullal,  Garudan Thullal,

Karaka Nritham, Thidampu Nritham,  Arjuna Nritham,  Garuda Nritham, Pambatty Nritham,

Kakkarassi Nadakam, Siva Nadakam,  Sakthi Nadakam, Chavittu Nadakam,

Poorakkali,  Theeyattu,  Arabana Muttu,  Daff Muttu,  Margam Kali,  Oppana etc.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Juma Masjid at Palayam Thirtuvananthapuram is the Principal Mosque of
Thiruvananthapuram.It is situated in the heart of the City on the main road side and can be reached very easily.
It is a Juma Masjid (Friday Mosque) which has facility and capacity  for 2000 devotees to
perform prayers.
Adjacent to the Mosque is existed Palayam  Ganapathy Temple and within few
meters is St.Joseph Cathedral  proclaiming the religious harmony prevailing
in Kerala.For the celebrations of these holy Shrines all the necessary help is provided each other.
When the Attukal Ponkala Festival which is a Hindu ritual is celebrated in which millions of women participates and the line of 'Pongala Hearths' extends
to several kilo meters,  Palayam Cathedral authorities and Palayam Juma Masjid Authorities provide all help for the women devotees.They keep open the gates  of these Shrines  for the women devotees to make arrange their hearths in the compound  for them to  prepare the sweetened rice and allow to take  sufficient water  also.
'Palayam' literally means the area where military camp is situated.During the
Maharajah rule,   near to this Mosque area was military camp existed.The soldiers and
Officers of Military regiments started this Mosque in the year 1813.During the following years Officers and soldiers of other regiments bought more land and 
constructed  building etc and finished the work around 200 years back.
In the year 1960 renovation work was done and the Mosque building was made as we see today.The Juma Masjid was inaugurated by the then  President of India
Dr.Zakkir Hussain in the year 1967.

The famous writer and poet Kamala Suraiyya (Madhavikutty) was buried in the compound of Palayam
Juma Masjid.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Martial art form 'Kalaripayattu'  has relationship and connection with
several folklore art forms and classical art forms of Kerala.
The rules and regulations of 'Kalari' are agreed and approved by both folklore
and classical wing.
There existed 'Ezhuthu Kalari' and 'Poythu Kalari' in Kerala.Ezhuthu Kalari were
village institutes to teach alphabets and digital numbers to small children and
now a days they became extinct by paving way to Kinder gardens and nursery schools.The number of 'Poythu Kalari' are less but they are still existing in several parts of Kerala and energetic youths are getting trained in them  mainly for getting 
physical flexibility, good health  and for self defence etc.
According to the sizes 'Poythu Kalari' were classified in to "Anpatheeradi Kalari,
Muppatheeradi Kalari, Pathinetteeradi Kalari, Panthrandeeradi Kalari".
'Anpatheeradi Kalari'  was the biggest and  'Panthrandeeradi Kalari' the smallest.
Each of the Kalari area were sub divided in to "Nedum Kalari,Thodu Kalari,Cheru Kalari, and Anka Kalari as according to the purpose of them and the item taught there at those areas.
Moreover other sections such as "Guruthara,Poothara and Deiva Thara" were 
in each Kalari which were sections for worship of God and to pay  homage for the departed souls of ancestors.
The 'Asan' or 'Guru' who is the instructor will be given much respect by the 
disciples(students).Initially and at the end of studies the students will pay cash and other presents to the 'Guru' and bow down to their feet for their blessing.
Every day before and after the class also they will bow to them and perform
'Bhoomi Vandanam' also.(Bow down  and touch the ground with the hands and
touch on the forehead as requesting and  accepting the blessing of Mother Earth).
The students pay homage and reverence  at 'Guruthara' "Poothara' and 'Deiva Thara' of the Kalari with flowers,rice and betal  leaves.
The Kalaripayattu  is comprised of four sections such as "Meythozhil,Kolthari,Angathari and Verum Kai".
In 'Meythozhil' the student is made prepared mentally and physically by giving

some suitable exercises and body massages.The 'Guru' and his associates give Massage known as 'Uzhichil' with hands and using toes known as 'Chavitti uzhichil' to make their body very much flexible.This will be performed every week so that they will find it easy to practice and master the lessons easily.
In 'Kolthari' the students are given training to fight using sticks(rod of wood)
of different lengths.They will be trained to use the stick to defend and to use
it to attack  using as a weapon.
In the section 'Angathari' fighting using real sharp weapons are taught.Sword and shield,Spears and daggers are used in this section.How to defend and protect one self and  moves used to defeat the opponents are taught.
In the last section 'Verum Kai' no weapon is used but to protect oneself and
also to attack an armed person is taught.Moves  with lightning speed is required and  ideas to employ the very suitable 'adavu' or movement is taught in this section.
Kalari payattu was not taught for military purposes only.In artistic forms such
as "Kanyar Kali,Daf Kali,Margam Kali,Arjuna Nritham,Mudiyettu ,Kaliyoottu, Theyyam ,Thira"  etc people trained in Kalaripayattu could  perform nicely.
For Kathakali,Krishnanattam,Thidampu Nritham etc Kalaripayattu training is 
very much useful.
The Kalaripayattu people use a long piece of cloth as 'Kachakettu' which is
used in Kathakali and Krishnattam also.Flexibility of the body is very much
required for these art forms.The body massage known as 'Uzhichil' is done 
for Kathakali and Krishnanattam students also.
For the art forms 'Vela Kali' and 'Paricha Muttu kali' Kalaripayattu training is
essential.These art forms are a display of martial arts with the use of percussion instruments rhythmically.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thiruvilwamala Temple And Punarjani Cave

On the banks of Bharathapuzha river,  at Thalappally Taluk in Trissur District
on a serene rocky hill shaded with Peepul trees is situated the famous and ancient 'Thiruvilwamala' Temple.


This temple is known as 'Vilwadrinatha Temple' and Lord Srirama  and his brother Lord Lakshmana are  enshrined here along with Sri Anjaneya Swami.(Hanuman Swamy).Once the deity of this temple Mahavishnu killed a demon by taking a fierce form and Vilwamangalam Swamikal made him calm by chanting mantras.Thus the temple derived the name 'Vilwadrinath Temple'.
The legend is that this temple was established by Sage Parasurama.After annihilating the 'Kshatriyas' Lord Parasurama performed a penance on this hill
Steps on rock 'Rakshasapara.'
praying Lord Shiva.Lord Shiva appeared before him and presented a Mahavishnu idol which he consecrated at the eastern shrine of this temple.Lord Mahavishnu summoned the wandering souls of the 'Kshatriyas' and asked them to stay at 'Bhoothamala' adjacent to the shrine .By the blessing of 'Vilwadrinath' the souls attained salvation.
The legend about the western shrine is as follows.The son of  'Kasyapa Prajapathi' whose name was   ' Sage Aamalaka' performed a rigorous  penance to propitiate Lord Mahavishnu by consuming only gooseberry in small quantities.After a while  Mahavishnu appeared with Mahalakshmi Devi and Serpent Ananda before him.As per the request of the Sage there formed a 'Swayambhoo idol'(Self formed Idol) of Lord Vishnu which we see in the western shrine at this temple.The devotees suppose the Western shrine idol as 'Sri Rama' and worship him in that form.
People witnessing Punarjani Guha  'Noozhal'
The Eastern Shrine idol is supposed as Lakshmana and worshiped in that manner.
The protector of this temple is  Hanuman Swamy who is consecrated at the eastern side.
The celebrations of this temple includes 'Thriputhari of Malayalam month Chingam,'Niramala'  of Kanni month,'Panchagamyam' of Vrichikam month,Srirama Navami of Meenam month etc.A large mass of devotees who
comes to perform 'Bali' for the departed souls on  'No Moon' day in Thulam month visit this temple to worship 'Vilwadrinath'.
After bowing down to Hanuman Swamy the devotee enters the eastern Shrine
and goes to the western Shrine after visiting Ganapathi also.They worship the Boothanatha deity also and goes round the sacred peepul tree.They go to
Saraswathikundu and bows in remembrance of Amalaka Sage.This routine is followed here.
Punarjani Guha
Two kilometers east of this temple is 'Punarjani Guha' which is a natural cave
tunnel in the rocks  which is 150 meters long.It is believed that the architect
of Semi Gods 'Viswakarma' made this cave   as per the request of Lord Parasurama.The  souls of Kshatriyas blessed  by 'Vilwadrinath' got salvation
by going through it.On the cliff of a large rock is this tunnel existing.One can
go through it with very difficulty by walking a small distance,in some parts they have to sit and move,in many parts they have to crawl.Going through
the cave tunnel from one side to the other is performed by devotees  only
on one day in an year- Guruvayoor Ekadasi Day- in the month of Vrichikam(Nov-Dec).
The crawling through the tunnel is called in Malayalam as 'Noozhal'  and thousands of devotees flock here every year. Devotees perform it to  get relieved their sins and to get  
blessings for liberation of birth and death for one's soul.The souls will attain
'Moksham'(Salvation) with no rebirth again is the belief.In this ritual small
children and women are not allowed to participate but women in large numbers come to witness it.
The devotees touch the Ganapathi Theertham as the beginning of the 'Noozhal'.Then they will go to take bath in 'Papanasini Theertham' and start
this ritual.After coming out of the cave they will again take bath in Papanasini Theertham.They will visit the 'Pathala Theertham'  'Kombu Theertham' and 'Ambu Theertham'. They 
pay worship by taking a little water from them.Kombu Theertham is believed
as made by elephant  of Devendra 'Airavatham' by its tusk where as Ambu Theertham was made by Devandra by his arrow.Papanasini Theertham and Pathala Theertham were made by Lord Parasurama.
Thiruvilwamala Temple and Punarjani Cave  are  situated 20 km from Thrissur
and 22 km from Palakkad.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Peralassery Subramanyaswamy Temple

Peralassery Subramanyaswamy Temple is situated at Mundallur, 15km from Kannur on Kannur-Koothuparaba Road.This is a very ancient temple and believed  as established by Lord Srirama and Hanuman Swamy.
Once Lord Subramanya asked Lord Brahma Deva the meaning of 'Ohm'.The meaning and its  explanation given by Brahma Deva was not felt  satisfactory for Lord Subramanya.He captured him and put him in a cell in custody.Lord Shiva when
understood about this horrible  mistake of his son he released Brahma Deva and explained to Subramanya that his deed in that regard was a great sin.
For that sin Subramanyaswamy had to take the form of a serpent and had to live in an isolated well.To protect him from Sun and rain other serpents stood
over the well with raised hoods.The  place where the serpents protected Subramanya is Peralassery according to the legends.
When Parvathy Devi came to know that her son was  changed in the form of a Snake she begged to Lord Shiva to give back her son.Lord Shiva recommended her to perfrom 'Shasti Vrat' and after eighteen Shasti Vrat Lord Subramanya
appeared in the form of a Serpent in front of her.Parvathy Devi recognized that the 
six  hooded serpent who stood in front of her was   her son and hugged him.Subramanya at that moment was 
changed back to his original form.
In the 'Thretha Yuga' when Sri Rama reached here in search of Sita Devi he reached this place.There was a temple at this place known as 'Ayyappan Kavu' and presiding deity was Lord Ayyappa.Sri Rama recognized presence of Subramanya there.He told Hanuman Swamy to bring an idol from the Himalayas.
Hanuman did not reach in time of the auspicious moment to consecrate the idol and so Sri Rama consecrated his bangle instead of the idol.The bangle is called as 'Vala' in Malayalam and  the bangle of the prince was called as 'peruvala'.Thus the place name was derived as 'Peruvalassery' which got transformed as 'Peralassery'.
When Hanuman Swamy reached with the idol it was also consecrated  there
by Hanuman Swamy himself.After the consecration, for performing the 'unction'
Hanuman Swamy created a pond by hitting on the ground by his tail  with great force.
The idol of Lord Maha Vishnu was also consecrated.The temple Hanuman
consecrated came to be known as 'Markadakassery' and later became 'Makreri'

The main offering of Peralasseri Temple is hen's egg which are available from the temple itself. 'Sarpa Bali' is an important offering here.Main days are 'Ayilyam,shashti,Sankramam' in this temple.
The yearly main festival is conducted in the month of 'Dhanu'(Dec-Jan) and will be for eight days.Kathakali,Chakyarkoothu,Ottanthullal,Parayanthullal etc will be held as part of the festivities and also a religious feature known as
'Thidambu Nritham' which is performed by the temple priest.
Large number of devotees visit Peralassery temple to get rid of 'Sarpa Kopam'(the bad effects of Serpent curses).
Devotees of all faiths  are allowed to enter this temple for worship.