Celebrated to honor harvest, Padayani is a celebration of fertility and happiness. Padayani is performed two districts Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha of Central and Southern Kerala. Alappuzha is costal and Pathanamthitta is mountainous regions. Nurtured by the mountains and the ocean, it is the festival of a people who believe that their lives are the gift of the great mountains.

Padayani is a ritual art form related to the Devi temples (temples of Mother Goddess) in Central Travancore, Kerala. It has tremendous theatrical value and very evocative language. It represents nature in its varied of North Kerala like Theyyam and Thora super-human characters. This ritual art possesses the sense of rhythm, vision, aesthetics and power of imitative quality of people, who are directly involved with nature. It elaborated man’s relationship to nature. For the ordinary people, it is the epitome of life. The text of this is derived from our tribal ethos and culminated in the Siva cult. In short, the hidden text of Padayani is rooted in the Siva and Shakthi cult, which have all tartaric rituals. It is ritual sacrifice performed by the village before the primal Goddess.

The Kolams who dance in frenzy on the stage of Padayani are its main characters. During the performance a number of realistic characters also appear and disappear on the arena. Kolams dance according to the tune of songs, but songs do not accompany the realistic characters. They provide improvised dialogues. Their primary aim is to add amusement. A highly theatrical story is provided by the characters who perform comedy. This is illustrated in the presentation of 'paradesis' (exiles) to the Kolam. They appear in different opportunities, and their actions vary from place to place. These characters are on a par with the 'Paala Kolams' in significance. Padayani performances last for twenty-eight days in the courtyard of Kaali temple. Its make-up materials are taken from the nature, like Spathe of Areca palm ('paala in Malayalam), Terra-cota powder, and charcoal and turmeric powder. There are different varieties of effigies to represent like Yakshi palkshi, kaalan, kuthira Maadanm marutha. Pisach,Ganapathi,Bhairavi and kaajiramaala. There are effigies with masks and crowns. Padayani is replete with human creativity and natures bounty which all leads to excellent aesthetic extravaganza.

The most important instrument is "Thappu" (A percussion instrument with a wooden ring covered with leather on one side). Another speciality in padayani is different rhythmic ensemble. They are the rarest of the rare "Thaalaas" prevalent only in South Kerala. Some of the major Thaalaas are 'Marma' 'Valiya Lakshmi' 'Cheriya Lakshmi', 'Champa', 'Kaarika', 'Kumba', 'Adantha', For all these thythms there are corresponding stylised body movements. They are not only important in rhythm bur represent the characters with moments of acting which all basically based on rare rhythms. All these rhythms start mainly from a wider canvas and recede towards a conical structure.

The methods of actor transforming himself into characters is intriguing. The performer maintains strict spiritual discipline (Vratham) for days together prior to the actual performance. By this, the presenter of the character changes his 'Self' into the self of the character and analyses the character very deeply before the actual day of the performance. The made up performer who carries heavy masks and decorative body fitting forgets himself and reaches to an unconscious state of affairs - a trance - in it's full sense. Here the conscious actor slips into then mental state and sub conscious to unconscious sate which is nothing but a non-performance. One should study properly all these aspects from a modern psychic level so that the transformation of 'self' to the character is a psychological process which is full and final when it reaches the trance.

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