Bharat Stories
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Pulikali Folk Art form of the State of Kerala

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Pulikkali has a literal meaning, where Puli denotes leopard or tiger and kali means the play. This is a famous recreational folk art form of the state of Kerala. This art form is performed on special occasions such as Onam, harvest festivals and many more. Performers who perform this dance form get themselves painted as tigers and hunters in colors like bright yellow, black and red and dance to beats of Thakil and Udukku. Pulkali also means the play of the tigers and it is of utmost importance for the people of Kerala. This dance form is mainly practiced in the Thrissur district of Kerala. This dance form is at its best on the fourth day of Onam.

There are few dance steps and signature steps involved in this dance form. The history of this dance form dates back 200 years ago. A large number of artists gather and apply paint on the performers. It is a meticulous and lengthy process and often starts from the wee hours in the morning. By afternoon the Pulikkali groups or ‘sangams’ as they are called, gather from all four corners of Thrissur and eagerly wait for the performance. The dance by pouncing, shaking their bellies which reflect the wild and macho spirit of the festival of Onam.

This dance for has a huge significance for Malayali people. In Kerala this dance form is celebrated with lots of delight and excitement. The most important thing about this dance form is that it is age old and is celebrated by every single person in the state during different festivals. This dance form reflects the age old history of the state and its culture and is unique from all other cultures and their dance forms. People of Kerala enjoy this dance form and also have a lot of importance and respect for this dance form. Every single person from a kid to adult enjoy this dance form.

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