Kerala is an amazing travel getaway where one can witness the spectacle of Indian culture and experience its spellbinding charm. The same splendour of Kerala also reflects in its festivals and events. One such festival is Kadammanitta Padayani, a popular festival of the state that is celebrated for 7-10 days annually at Kadammanitta Bhagavathy Temple, as well as the other Bhadrakali temples in the region, as part of the Pathamudaya Mahotsavom. Kadammanitta Padayani 2021 will be celebrated on April 21..
Since ancient times, Padayani has been a ritualistic dance form associated with the magic healers of Kerala who mostly used to be men. These ritualistic dances were performed to heal chronic illnesses and deep psychological dysfunctions of people. Apart from this pseudoscientific aspect, Padayani is essentially a theatre art form and has its roots associated with all the local Goddess temples in regions of Central Travancore.
The word Padayani has evolved from the combination of two Malayalam words Pada and ani. These words mean a group of soldiers and rows respectively, thus, the meaning of the word comes across as Row of Warriors. Historically, these warriors were believed to have been aggressively trained in Kalaripayattu martial arts. The intense training helped them in displaying their strength and chivalry to scare their enemies.
Usually observed in the Malayalam months of Makaram, Kumbham, Meenam, Medam and Edavam which are the months of January, February, March, April and May as per the gregorian calendar; this festival sees many religious rituals. These rituals generally vary from temple to temple, with only minor differences in their overall details.
1. Ritual of Padayani. In ancient times, this ritual began when the Marar (temple musician) came holding a sacred lamp in his hands. And, the Oorali (Oracle) performed a ritualistic dance. Then, impressed with the oracle’s dance, the Goddess appeared on a Thidambu (decorated image) which was carried by the local priest. The Goddess then was taken out of the temple and visited everyone’s house in the village. Practised till today, this ritual is specifically called as Parayeduppu. And once all the houses are done, the Goddess returns in a ceremonial fashion to the temple again.
2. Local Thanksgiving. This festival is also celebrated as thanksgiving for a great harvest. It is believed that a good harvest is not at all possible without the intervention of the Goddess's grace and the blessings of the Gods. People also believe that the festival and its rituals also act as a purification ceremony carried out by the villagers to ward off the evil forces.
3. Padayani Kolam. Kolam Thullal which means dance of the effigies is one of the most captivating parts of the Padayani festival. The kolams or the effigies are prepared in the vicinity of the temple using green spathes (Sheathing of leaves) of the areca nut trees and kuruthola (decorated leaves) made out of the coconut leaves.
The green portion of the spathes (sheathing of a flower or a leaf) is cut out into different sizes and shapes for the purpose of forming the headgear of different forms of Kolams. It is to be noted that for the purpose of maintaining the freshness of the spathes, all the kolams are just made sometime before the performances. And to ensure that everything is done without any mistake, the whole village participates in making these kolams.
4. Music. Music is an essential part of just about every Indian festival. And like every other celebration, folk music is a lifeline of Padayani ritual as well. The synchronized steps of the Kolams are supported with lively music beats. For this, various instruments are used to do justice to the performances. One of the major musical instruments is Thappu. Thappu is a small-sized drum made out of animal skin and is played using the palms of both the hands accompanied by cymbals. Apart from this, other instruments used during the festival celebrations are Para, Kumbham, Ilathalam, Kuzhal and Kombu.
Kerala is one of the most amazing places to travel and is considered a prominent heritage hub of India, especially if you want to taste the charm of Indian culture. It is located at an approximate distance of 2,500, 462, 1,200, and 2,200 km from Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata. Here is how you can reach Kerala via the following means of transportation.
By Air. Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest aerodrome from the temple, situated at a distance of 120 km (approx). This airport sees direct flights to and fro major Indian cities. After deboarding at the airport, you will need to cover the remaining distance by some means of public transportation like a cab.
By Road. Depending on your location, you can also travel via well-maintained road networks. For this, you can hire a cab or bus. If nearby, you can also consider travelling by your own vehicle as well.
By Train. If you are planning to travel via train then your best option would be Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station. This train station is located at an approximate distance of 120 km from the temple. So, after deboarding the train, you will need to travel by some means of public transport.
You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here