North Malabar is has distinct identity. It is
manifested in beautiful landscape consisting of
unending mountains, fascinating backwaters and
beaches and breathtaking rivers. The people ,the food
and cultural heritage of the regions will fascinate
the visitors for sure .
Theyyam ,the magical dance of God ,was believed to have performed as long as 1500 years back. Theyyam festivals are performed during a period spanning from November to June.
The spectacular pageant of Theyyam deities - raises Kannur and Kasargod into a land of fabulous fantasies. Theyyam is truly the mesmerizing Dance of God. The art form is a combination of dance, music and rituals. Theyyam originated from Kaliyattam .The responsibility to perform Theyyam is mainly vested with indigenous tribal communities like Malayan,Panan,Vannan and Velan etc. The person designated to perform Theyyam observe strict physical and mental discipline including fasting for 41 days. Certain dangerous feats performed by the Theyyams are attributed to the divine power vibrating in them during the performance .Thaiparadevatha theyyam, Theechamundi theyyam, Puthiya Bhagavathi theyyam etc are classical examples. The mask and crown, which sometimes be as high as a coconut tree, is painted with deep, bright colors made from natural ingredients available locally.
The process of a dance performer slowly transforming to a Theyyam , the incarnations of God, is something intriguing, fascinating and magical. It is a most visually impressive form of cultural ritual among the people of different castes.
There are around 500 or more famous Theyyam festivals celebrated each year in North Malabar, Kerala. Muttappan Theyyams., is performed on a regular basis in quite a few Kavus (Secret Groves). Parshanikadavu is arguably the most famous one where Theyyams are performed on a regular basis. Karkitaka theyyam: performed after monsoon season, Devakkooth Theyyam in Thekkumbad, the only Theyyam deity performed by a lady are a few examples. If we delve deep into the history, we will find many dimensions, which relates to the feudal, social, cultural and religious practices prevalent in this part of the world. A Theyyam performance offers many acts and frames for passionate photographer.
Theyyam originated from Kaliyattam. In feudal Malabar Theyyam performance was in way an opportunity given to the lower cast to criticise the landlord and powerful class for the atrocities and the wrongdoing committed on the lesser mortal for the past one year. So it was a venting and ranting opportunity, to be heard and obeyed by the person in power because the orders are from God incarnated.
We have been networking with the famous Kavus / Secret Groves (local shrines) in the region and hope to act as a bridge for the Theyyam enthusiast . Let’s explore, understand and preserve this magical dance of the God.