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Art and Craft

Indian Art and Craft – Kanyarkali

Indian Art and Craft – Kanyarkali

Kanyarkali is a folk dance performance practiced in some villages like Alathur and Chittur of Palakkad district of Kerala. This art form is a ritual performed in Bhagavathi Temples and Vettakkorumakan (Vettekkaran) temples of Palakkad district. Members of Nair Community usually performs the Kanyarkali.

The dance form is performed at night which ends by dawn. It is performed for three to four consecutive nights. The beginning of the dance starts with Vattakkali, a rhythmic circular dance ritual performed by men. It is followed by Purattukali another entertainment form. To announce the beginning of the it, Keli Kottu a form of Chenda performance is usually done.

The first item is Nadavattom, a ritual where the players enter a square stage (Pandal). The main singer is called “Kaliyachan” who recites the “Vaythari” – the basic syllables and the performers play accordingly. The play centers around a traditional lighted lamp kept at the center of the stage. There is no specific costume for the players. The singers occupy the center stage. Chenda, Maddalam and Elathalam are the instruments used.

Here is one typical Kanyarkali/Porattu performance Day-1, for your entertainment.

Picture and Video used for illustration only – Credit: Varsha’s World

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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