Kummattikali or Kummatti Kali is the famous colorful mask-dance and devotional art form of Kerala, prevalent in Thrissur district (also Trichur, Trishur)
About the Festival –
During Onam festival these dancers collect jaggery, rice or small amounts of cash while moving from house to house.
Dancers hold and manipulate long sticks of residuary agricultural produce called ‘Kummattikali’.
Their dance is related to Shaiva myth. This dance is performed in the honour of a regional God and Goddess and several magical arts.
There were different teams in the same locality each having their unique set of masks.
These paitings are made with coloured powdered chalk.
The “talla” attached to the mask and it gives the appearance of a toothless open mouth.
The costumes worn by the Kummattikali dancers are the most interesting aspect of the dance. The performers wear colourful wooden masks (made out of saprophyte, jack fruit tree, Alstonia scholaris, Hog Plum tree or the Coral tree) and sport sprigs of a type of grass called, Kummati Pullu.
Some of the masks looks really fierce. Most of them are very old inherited from generations and are painted to render a fresh look.
There is quite a chaos with everyone getting ready for the procession.
The procession begins…
This article would be incomplete without a big Thanks to my friend and festival-guide Ashit Desai who was kind enough to invite me to accompany him during his travel.
This article is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer. He strives to ‘make every camera-owner a great photographer through his Photography workshops and Photo Tours and Photowalks.
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