Theyyam: Kanathoor


The Nalvar Boothasthanam Kanathoor temple is at Kanathoor, about 20 kms east of Kasargod town. The festival at this temple is famous for its array of theyyams. The festival that usually is held in December lasts for five days. They include Chamundi theyyams and Vishnumoorthy theyyams. The colorful pageantry, the enthusiastic crowds and the religious fervour are all worth witnessing. Theyyam, a colorful ritual dance of Kerala that attributes great importance to the worship of heroes and ancestral spirits, is a socio-religious ceremony.  Every village in North Kerala was duty bound to perform it in connection with the local Kavu (shrine). Theyyams are performed before the shrines. This sacred dance is believed to bring about wellbeing for the society and the family. Theyyam – also called Kaliyattom, presents divine forms as well as heroes from history and myth. Each manifestation in a Kaliyattom is known as kolam (the "shape" or form of the God, goddess, hero or heroine).   Each kolam has very stylized and specific forms, each with its own specific representative aspect. The awe-inspiring features are painted with craftsmanship and artistry which, by itself, is a unique tradition. Many of the kolams take 7 to 10 hours to prepare. The figure of each Kolam is bound by the rules and strictures prescribed by tradition.  Each kolam also has very special colors, crown, headdress, breastplates, arm ornaments, bangles, garland, woollen or cotton garments. They are all elaborately furnished and singularly shaped. This accounts for the veneration, and wonderment that kolams bring about in the people who seek blessings. **How to reach there** Buses are available frequently from Kasargod town to Kanathoor. Nearest railway station: Kasargod, about 20 km away. Nearest airport: Mangalore, about 50 km away.