All posts tagged: ritual

Chamayavilakku ~ an offering to god where men dressed up as women

The Kottankulangara Chamayavilakku Festival is an annual Hindu festival in Kerala, India in which thousands of men dress as women to get the blessing of Devi to get fulfill their desires. The festival takes place at the Kottankulangara Devi Temple at Chavara near Kollam, which is sacred to the goddess Bhagavathy. Every year this festival is celebrated on the 10th and 11th day of the Malayalam Month Meenam.The deity of the Temple which is believed as ‘Swayam Bhoo'(Self Origin). This famous temple having no roof made for the sanctum sanctorum. On the festival day, boys and girls dress themselves as girls and ladies to hold the traditional temple lamp. The traditional temple lamp is made fitted on a long wooden rod and is having provision for five oil wick lamps. The cross-dressing is part of traditional ritual festivities and at night devotees hold the lamps and walk in procession to the temple to the accompaniment of a traditional orchestra. The two day festival attracts thousands of devotees throughout the State. Believers from other States are …

Dance of god

Theyyam is a traditional art form of Kerala which incorporates dance, music and enshrines the fundamentals of ancient tribal cultures which attached great importance to the worship of heroes and the spirits of ancestors.  The staging area of Theyyam is known as Kaavu. Theyyam is also performed at home (Tharavadu) and fields. Theyyam’ performers belong to one of the Hindu communities (Malayan, Vannan, Velan etc.). Each individual caste has the right to perform certain deities and all performers must poses a wide range of extraordinary skills. They must know the ritual and character of every deity. They have the inherited right to perform, know-how to sing, dance with the drum, do the complicated make-up, costume style and character of each heroes and deities. Through these series of photographs I am trying to say the story of “Kandanar Kelan Theyyam”. Legend is that Kandanar Kelan is a yesteryear warrior. While he was out hunting, the forest caught fire. He climbed a tree, which was the home of two snakes. Fire consumed the tree, snakes and Kandanar Kelan. …