Padayani is a word which has originated from the word 'Pada' which means army or force in Malayalam. Padayani is a traditional folk dance which is performed to please the Bhadrakali or Goddess Kali. This is a special type of dance which involves the use of semicircular masks worn on the head with the face painted. This dance form is presented at temples which houses the Bhadrakali. The period of dance is usually between Dec to May month. This dance form is most popular in the Travancore region comprising of the district of Pathanamthitta. The Padayani is considered as an old dance form which existed much before the advent of Brahmanism.

The Padayani dance form resembles the Theyyam which is popular in Northern part of Kerala. The typical instruments that are used by the Padayani artists include Kumbham, Thappu and Chenda.

The Mythological Importance of Padayani

As per the mythological story, the Goddess Kali became angry after killing the demons Daruka. The servants of Lord Shiva also called Bhoothagana's are believed to have performed this dance form to reduce the anger of the Goddess.

The colors which are used to paint the face and make the kolam are natural colors. Charcoal, Turmeric powder, Sindhoor and plant extracts are used to make the different colors.

The song and the sequence of events

The songs are simple and easily understandable for a person who has the basic knowledge of Malayalam. Thappu is the only instrument which is played along with the song. The dance begins with a ritual called Thappu Choodakkal which means heating the instrument. The thappu is faced towards fire and then tuned. The Padayani contains various types of small dances like Pakshi, Marutha, Kalan Kolam, Madan, Yakshi and Bhairavi kolam. Each form has its own prominence and is performed based on type of occasion.

Padayani festival at various locations in Kerala

Kadammanitta Padayani festival

The state government is taking all possible efforts to protect this dance form. The principle person involved in gaining recognition to this dance form is Prof. Kadammanitta Vasudevan Pillai. He has also carried out several literary contributions on the subject.

The popular Kadammanitta Padayani festival is held every year to recognize his contribution to this dance form. It is performed between the Mar-Apr months (Medam month of Malayalam) at the Kadammanitta Devi Temple of Pathananthitta district along with the Pathamudaya Maholsavam. The festival marks the presence of well known Padayani performers, tourists from worldwide and other dignitaries. Trivandrum is the nearest airport to reach Pathananthitta.

Neelamperoor Pally Bhagavathi Temple Padayani Festival

The other prominent place where this festival is held is at Neelamperoor Pally Bhagavathi Temple in Allapuzha District. Here the Padayani is performed to please the local deity Goddess Vanadurgaalso also known as Maa Kali. This festival is celebrated along with Onam in the temple. Cochin is the nearest airport to reach this temple located at a distance of 75 km.

The tourists visiting Kerala in the above mentioned periods can make use of the opportunity to witness this unique dance form. Concerts of Kathakali or Mohiniyattam can be experienced anywhere in the world, but this is a dance form which can be experienced only in Kerala in the most traditional way.

Related Image


Also Browse Following Under This Section

Related Topics

Pooram Festivals

Pooram festival is celebrated annually in various temples of the state that are dedicated to Goddess Durga. This festival....

Boat Races

Kerala is a wonderful place that is located in the southern part of India and is known for its tourist places. Every year thousands....

Theyyam Festivals

Theyyam is a dance festival that is considered...

Traditional Festivals

When it comes to Kerala festivals, one can...