Kaikottikali Home > Kerala > Culture In Kerala > Dance In Kerala > Kaikottikali


The Kaikottikali dance is one of the most popular South Indian dances from the Hindu communities of the state of Kerala. It is a dance performed exclusively by women mainly during the Malayalam festival of Onam and during the Thiruvathira day that usually falls between December and January, or any other festive occasion.

The Kaikottikali dance is very popular among the Hindu Malayalam women who prepare painstakingly for this special occasion. The unmarried young girls believe that the Kaikottikali dance will bring them luck in marriage and a happy married life. The attire that the women adorn is special and is made up of two parts: the upper body is covered with a blouse which is in turn covered by a piece of cloth called the Neriyathu, while the Mundu is wrapped like a sari covering below the waist. Wearing a small garland of fragrant jasmines is also a part of the traditional preferences of the Kerala women.

Dance Form

The Kaikottikali dance is believed to be developed out of the classical Kathakali dance of Kerala. Kaikottikali involves a dance ground and in its centre a ceremonial brass light known as the Nilavilakku is placed over a traditional flower decoration called the Pookalam. Around this centre the women and young girls arrange themselves in concentric circles and start to dance in a circular motion to the beat of their clapping and meter of their singing.

Musical Instruments

There are no musical instruments that accompany and give music to Kaikottikali dance. All the music is given by the clapping and singing of the women. The clapping keeps the time while the lead singer (usually the most influential of eldest woman present) starts singing. The singing is similar to the call and response pattern of music. The lead singer calls the starting of the verse, which is then responded by the rest of it by the remaining participants in chorus. All the folk songs have religious of mythical themes, describing scenes from the legends and Vedas, especially that of king Mahabali.


Kaikottikali has great significance in the Hindu Kerala community. It is the central event for some of the main festivals of the year like Onam. It is the day, it is said in the legends that the mythical King Mahabali comes to visit his subjects of Kerala. The Kaikottikali dance is known around the world due to the Malayalam Diaspora.


There are no variations for the Kaikottikali dance.

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