Kadammanitta Padayani, Kerala's fascinating dance (Thullal) -Festival date 2024 : April 14 to 23.

Kadammanitta Padayani kolam (dance) Kali..adotrip.com

In the God's own country Kerala state, there are many festivals like Thiruvoonam, Thrissur pooram, etc.  One of the popular  festivals that falls in the month of  April is the Kadammanitta Padayani. It is a 10 day annual fete associated with Kadammanitta Bhagavathy Temple and is  part of the annual Pathamudaya Mahotsavom. The annual festival starts from the first day of Malayalam month Medam to the 10th day, called the Pathamudayam.  The temple Devaswom and the Kadammanitta Gotra Kala Kalari jointly make arrangements for the smooth conduct of the festival that attracts huge crowds from the neighboring places.

.Kadammanitta Padayani kolam  cloudfront.net

Kadammanitta Padayani kolam (dance,) indianholiday.com

Padayani at Kadammanitta begins with the chootu vaipu or the lighting of the fire. The fire (agni) for this ritual is brought from the sacred lamp inside the sanctuary of the  temple (Sreekovil) and is followed by the drumming of thappu and chenda. 

The rituals of eduthu varavu or the procession of various Padayani Kolams / thullals (dance of the effigies)  are held in the following days.  It  begins with the kolam of Ganapathi. Any Hindu  temple festival  begins with invocation to God Ganesa or Ganapathi who is known for his wisdom. 

Kadammanitta Bhagavathy Temple, Kerala, .blogspot.com

The Valiya Padayani that is held on  the 7th day, begins with the ceremonial procession of kolams from the village center. The giant Bhairavi kolams gets the attention of the onlookers and  others. What is special about this special kolam effigy dance is  it is made of areca spathes and intricately cut palm leaves that imparts the look of  live images of  the Bhoothaganas, supposedly the guards of the female deity - Goddess Bhadrakali.   Bhadrakali worship is popular across Kerala and there are Tantries who are specialized in the worship of Kali. The special Kolam is brought out in the bright  light of indigenous torches made of dry coconut leaves (choottukatta). Making of this kind of kolam is a tedious one and needs patience and skills. 

The sight of ‘Bhairavi Kolam’ performance deserves much attention and is in tune with  the specified padayani songs in Malayalam that are handed down by the elders. This kolam / Thullal is headed by more than one person due to its heavy weight.  Besides Ganapathi Kolam, also included on that day are other  kolams performances, four Marutha kolams , one Kalan kolam , eight Yakshi kolam , Kanjiramala , and Bharavi kolams. The Valiya Padayani concludes on a positive note with  artistes and  devotees singing boat songs - Vallappattu invoking the  divine blessings of the deity.  it is also a way to drive out negative forces in the living space. The ten day celebration is symbolic  of Goddess Kali's victory over demon king  Daariken.

The Padayani kolams or effigies are hand made with meticulous care  in the vicinity of the temples and the size and shapes vary from place to place. The artists use only various parts of the trees to make them.  Centered around Travancore  the inspiring feature of  Padayani is an example of the union of rhythm of melodious folklore music,  heavy drumming and the foot movement of the dancers carrying effigies. Various gods and goddesses in the Hindu Pantheon are represented in kolams at Kadammanitta. The other events associated with this fete highlight the rich native culture of Kerala that is in way related to their unique geography. Pathanamthitta in Kerala is popular for hosting  this unique  festival. 

Kadammanitta Devi Temple - Padayani Festival 2024 date is April 14 to 23. Valiya Padayani is observed on Medam 8 and in 2024 it is on April 21. During the festival time the Sun enter Aries constellation as per western calendar. This festival is a sort of thanks giving to the Almighty whose divine blessing  is important for a successful harvest and, no doubt, it has a rustic flavor. In the olden days the goddess was taken out of the temple to visit each household before the beginning of the festivities. After the kolam/ thullal is over, the Padayani festival culminates with a final ritual  called pooppada .