The crazy colourful display of folk’s art in the Kerala state in the way of dancing and other artistic activities at the time of Onam are classified as Puli kali. This kind of celebration has its roots from 200 years old tradition, which has been well preserved by the artists of state. Every dance activity is performed by well-experienced artists. Their performance will leave you amazed.
“The Play Of The Tigers”
This very day, you will capture dancers with their facial looks and body decorated like tigers, dancing in madness in a style that copies the activities of a tiger. With the beat of drums and other sound-making devices commonly present in every temple of the Kerala state is the source of coordination among dancers. There is no fitness rule for the dancers and if you have larger the belly more you will be noticed as dancers. The statement Pulikali actually implies “the play of the tigers” so the overall performance centers about the concept of tiger hunting. This celebration is predominantly taking place and put to use in the districts of Thissur and Palaghat.
Pulikali takes place on the third day of the start of Onam. The artists put in their best for the show and colorful makeup of performers is the best way of their expression. It is extremely vibrant demonstration of leisurely folk art form displayed in the dance moves. Onam is the best time to pay a visit to the Kerala state as the overall state is in the celebration madness.
Pulikali, we have human beings decorated as mighty beasts like lion, tiger, and leopard brilliantly coloured in yellow, orange and black connecting to nature with their energetic dance moves. Such a creative expression of art clearly demonstrates an individual’s direct link with Mother Nature. As such a fantastic display takes place at the time Onam and at this location, their harvest festival Onam is celebrated as New Year.
After 2016 women have been allowed to actively participate as a dancer in the festival but now the number of participants has been declining instead of increasing. This rich cultural festival has government support and the top performers are given prizes by the government officials. Make-up of the artists usually takes about 6 to 7 hours and whole of the body needs to be shaved with the removal of hairs for smooth body paint coats. This is due to the fact that after one coat the body is dried in the sunlight and then the second coat takes place resulting in an extra amount of time taken. Dedication of artists and their skills make onlookers spellbound. Traditional values kept so intact makes local and visitors proud of what they are witnessing.
Connection with nature is somewhat lost in the developing countries and India is one of them. As the government has started preserving traditional values and celebrations, The heart of India is taking tourism to the next level. Well in India Kerala state is known as “Gods Own Country”. Rich in natural and cultural beauty, you must visit the state once in a lifetime. For getting more out of your visit, you must come in the month of September and it may in the 1st week or third week depending upon the yearly calendar. Hit the state while Pulkali celebration is taking place and watch Human beings as beasts, a true piece of celebrating art.
Featured Photo by muffinn