Patayanikolam kerala Photo Gallery
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The figures in Patayani consists of Pisachu, Kali, Karakkura, Pillatini, Bhairavi, Kalan etc. The masks are painted with a grotesque surrealistic touch. The round eyes and the triangular ears and abnormal size of the head gear give a touch of super human dimension.

Pillatini literally means one who devours. In the song accompanying the dance a child is described as dwelling the blue mountains top from where she is invoked by the chanting of meaningless syllables and with burning torches (making them blaze by throwing of a powder). The spirit is supposed to descend from the heights and occupy the painted mask of sheath worn by the dancer. This Kolam is called 'Pillatini' because its main action is pouncing on a symbolic child with a cannibalistic hunger. This Kolam is danced as a ritual to ward off evil eye on a family or its off springs. Kalan Kolam is another variety in the Patayani with black colour predominating the facial make up of the dancer. Kalan is the god of death. The Kolam appears as the symbol of time and shows how the human soul (in the epic theme of Markandeya) is chased by Yamadharma. The narrative of the story tells about a Brahmin who had no children. He performed penance to Lord Shiva who asked the Brahmin whether he wanted a child with little intelligence who would live for a hundred years or one who was highly intelligent but would have a short life. The Brahmin asked for a great and glorious child. This is how Markandeya was born. He was destined to live for sixteen years only. When his sixteenth year came Markandeya started rigorous penance. When Yama visited him, he embraced the Sivalinga so that Yama could not take him away without involving the Sivalinga also. While Yama tried to take the life of the boy Shiva opened his third eye and Yama was turned to ashes. This drama is enacted in Kalan Kolam. The character of Shiva is not represented as such. The last moments of the pangs of death of the god of death form a dramatic sequence. The actor rushed into the crowd and creates in the congregation a sense of contact with the invisible world, people move away in awe. Sometimes the Kolam snatches away a boy from the crowd signifying the hunt of Markandeya. In a subtle way, the same actor enacts the chaser and the chased suggesting the unending drama of life and death. There also emerges a third concept of 'Kala Kala' the supreme custodian of time or the destroyer of the destroyer. The great cosmic dancer, Shiva is symbolized in the ritual and the Kolam is also known as 'Kalari' or the enemy of Kala.


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Chuvannathadi -kathakali
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Shangumugam mermaid Sculpture
Kummi Dance
Theyyam Artist

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Women Kathakali Seethankan thullal

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