Theyyam season begins in North Kerala beckoning believers and art tourists

Believed to be the divine channel to god, the ritual art form is also practised in some parts of neighbouring Kasargod districts. Photo: Shutterstock/Mazur Travel

Kannur: Are you one of those tourists who love exploring regional art forms? Did you love theyyam performances in the Kannada film 'Kantara'? If so, this is the right time to tour North Kerala, as its theyyam season has just begun. For the next few months, the colours, music and myths of this traditional art form will fill the air of the region transforming it into a picturisque land of stories. Theyyam is one of the oldest colourful ritual art form of Kerala and its drumbeats and 'Thottam Pattu' (divine music) will be heard across Kannur and Kasargod districts in the season.

The festival spirit starts off with the observation of the sacred day 'Pathamudayam' on the 10th day of Malayalam month Thulam. It is also known as 'Thulapath'. Theyyam artists, who are believed to be the representatives of God and goddesses, observe a four-month-long rest period- between last half of June and the first half of October. Now, they are busy with the fresh season, which kick-started with the performance of the ceremonious dance known as 'Kaliyattam' at the Sree Chathampally Vishakandan temple, Kolachery, Kannur and  Anjoottambala Veerar Kavu at Nileshwar of Kasargod on October 26 and 27. On the same day, the ritualistic dance form was also practiced at the Karamel Sree Padiyil Kottakkolly Azheekkode Gurunadhan Devasthanam in Kannur. The next performance was held at Muthachikunnu, in Cherukunnu Panchayat of Kannur on October 29.

Season lasts till second week of June
Between November and March, the ritual art form will rule the North Kerala with performances at around 2,000 different locations in Kannur, Kasargod and Wayanad districts. The season lasts up to around seven and half months and winds up by the second week of June with a performance at Kalarivathukkal Bharathi temple, Valapattanam and Neeleshwaram Mannanpurath Kavu.  Believed to be the divine channel to god, the ritual arts form is also practiced in some part of neighbouring Kasargod districts, apart from Kerala's Northern districts like Kannaur, Kasargod and Wayanad. Being a ritualistic performance having elements of dance, mime and music, there are around 456 varieties of Theyyam. Among this, 112 are very important and widely worshipped by the people.

Types of theyyams
There are four kinds of theyyams, such as Bhagavathi theyyams, Saiva Vaishnava theyyams , Manushika theyyams and Purana theyyams, classified based on their various features. Reksha Chamundi, Karichamundi, Muchilott Bhagavathi, Gulikan, Pottan, Kathivanoor Veeran, Kuttichathan, Manakkott Amma, Sree Muthappan Theyyam are some popular tTheyyams being practiced in Malabar region.

Here are some of the important theyyam venues and the special rituals performed there:
November 7 to 15: Erikkulam Sree Vettakkorumakan Temple, Madikkai.
Theyyams performed: Vishnumoothi, Paradevatha.

November 27 to 28: Narikkode Sree Puthiya Kunnath Puthiya Bhagavathi Kshethram, Ezhome.
Theyyams performed: Puthiya Theyyam, Vishnu Moorthi, Gulikan, Veeran, Veerali, Bhadrakali.

November 29 to December 1: Chittothidam Sree Mantharamoorthi-Thayiparadevastha temple, Katyam, Aroli, Thaliparamaba.
Theyyams performed: Bairavan, Thottinkara Bhagavathi, Sasthappan, Agni Kandakarnan

November 30 to December 1: Kottila Sree Vettakkorumakan Temple , Ezhome
Theyyams performed: Vettakkorumakan, Urpazhassi, Kuttitheyyam.

December 2 to 3: Sree Mankulath Kavu, Thalassery.
Theyyams performed: Cheriya Bhagavathi, Valiya Bhagavathi.

December 9 to 10: Kathivanoor Veeran Nercha Theyyam, Peringom, Payyannur
Theyyams performed:  Kathivanoor Veeran.

December 20 to 22: Kappana Sree Veera Badra Swami temple, Nellipara, Thaliparamaba
Theyyams performed: Gulikan , Vannathi Bhagavathi, Arakkoor Veeran, Chamundi, Eeravaari, Kattumundantha Amma, Arakkoor Chamundi, Kammiyamma, Paragaliyamma, Naattumoorthi. Aalada Bhagavathi.

December 22-26: Kottayam Eruvatty Eranjikkal Sree Porkali Bhagavathi temple, Kathirur
Theyyams performed: Vishnumoothi, Gulikan, Vasoorimala, Porkali, Kandakarnan, Gurukaranavar, Nagabhagavathi, Manathanakaali Bhagavathi, Veeran Daivam.

December 30-31: Edappadi Sree Kalari Bhagavathi temple , Vengad
Theyyams performed: Gulikan, Vishnumoothi, Bhairavan, Uchitta Bhagavathi, Sasthappan, Reksha Chamundi, Porkali, Karuval Bhagavathi.

January 15-16: Odenkaavu, Kannapuram
Theyyams performed: Veeran Veerali, Gulikan.

February 17 to 20: Andalur Kavu, Palayad, Darmadam. Theyyams performed: Vettakkorumakan, Bali, Sugreevan, Nagabhagavathi, Angakaran, Bapooran, Thovakkali, Malakkari, Ponmakan, Puthucheekkon, Nagakandan.

March 19- 21: Sree Kunnathu Vettakkorumakan Temple. Theyyams performed: Vettakkorumakan, Oorpazhassi Daivathaar.

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