Pooram Kali

Poorakali, a folk dance popular among the Thiyyas of Malabar, is conducted in the Bhagavathy temples of northern Kerala. It is performed as a ritual offering during the month of Meenam(March - April). In Poorakali, performance is done by a group of 10 to 15 persons who dance around a nilavillaku(lamp). The dancers are specially trained and often experienced in Kalaripayattu, one of the ancient martial arts of Kerala. Each performance has eighteen different stages with characteristic rhythm and a complimentary song with or without musical accompaniment.

Payyanur and nearby places like  Vengara, Ramanthali, Karivellur, Trikaripur are very famous for this art form.  The names of Mambalam Raman Panikkar, Vengara Krishna Panikkar and Ramanthali Krishnan Panikkar are some of the names always remembered in Poorakkali.'Poorakali' is a traditional art form performed by a group of people chanting the holy verses from 'Ramayana' or 'Bagavata'. During the 'Pooram' season boys and men used to perform this art in all evening. Poorakkali was a ritual dance performed by men during the nine day Pooram festival in Bhagavathy temples. The festival, to propitiate Kamadeva ( the god of love), begins with the Karthika asterism and concludes on the pooram asterism of the Malayalam month of Meenam (Pisces). Performed by a group of young men in loin clothes, this pirouette around a huge multi-decked 'nilavilakku' involves a lot of martial skills and masculine movements. Maruthukali, a  sort of competition, also forms a part of Poorakkali. This includes scholarly debates on grammar, literature and mythology. Maruthukali is lead by two Panikkars (eminent Poorakkali artistes) who are well versed in mythology, grammar and music.