Kerala’s Theyyam Festival
Seeing online the colourful photographs of Theyyam festival that happens during winter months in Kerala, a few of my friends and I decided to travel there.
Called “Dance of Gods”, the Theyyam celebrations mainly happen in the Northern Malabar regions of Kerala (Kasargod, Kannur Districts) across thousands of Temple in the area and beyond. The folk culture of Theyyam is believed to be over 800 years old. The musical dance act is performed with elaborate Headdresses, make-up, masks and accompanied by musical instruments include Chenda – parade celebrations bringing their offerings to the Goddess – and barefoot ritual fire walking.
We travelled from Chennai by air to Mangalore, from where we hired a taxi to Bekal. We stayed for two days in Bekal and travelled in the morning and evening to the nearby temple of Pulikunnu Shree Ivar Bhagavathi temple, Kasaragod. The temple was recommended by a local resident who we had befriended through Facebook. Not knowing much about the festival and the local practice, we approached the temple authorities for help who were more than happy to assist the visitors from their neighbouring state (Tamil Nadu). They even assigned one of the devotees to be our “unofficial” guide who acted as our host for next two days. Spending several hours in the Temple, watching the celebrations one after the other, we had a great time and loads of blessings from the Goddess.