Festivals

FAIRS, FESTIVALS & FOLK ARTS

Kasargod, the land of charity, is rich in folk-culture, visual arts and festivals.
Different religions, groups and communities in their historical evolution
have subscribed to the growth of a dream like panorama of
folk art and visual art forms in the region.

Some of them are religious, highly ritualistic, but incorporate
dance, music, colours and light. There may be regional
variations in respect of rituals and songs but the visual appearance has no much variations.
Theyyam, Kolkali, Poorakkali, Yakshaganam, Kallampattu,
Porattu, Oppana, Mappillapattu, etc. are the famous folk arts of the District.
Kasaragod is also famous for its Cock-fight, and Buffullo race.

Kasaragod is a land of temples, mosques and churches.
Boothasthanam of Hindus,  Makham Uroos of Muslims and
Perunnals of Christians are the famous.
The festivals of Boothasthanams are known as Kalliyattam or Theyyam.

IMPORTANT FESTIVALS

HINDU FESTIVALS

Sarvajanika Ganeshotsavam at Kasargod Town
This festival is celebrated during September every year in connection with Ganesh Chathurthi, by the local people under the banner of Sarvajanika Ganeshotsava Samithi, Kasaragod. A big idol of Lord Ganesha is made with clay and adorned for five or seven days conducting poojas and on the last day the idol is taken with a procession through the town and to immerse in the Temple tank. This festival attracts thousands of devotees. Ganesh Chathurthi day has been declared as public holiday in Kasargod District.

Annual Festival at Anantheswara Temple, Manjeswaram
The annual car festival of the temple is on the Marga Shira month usually between the 3rd week of November and 3rd week of December. It is also called Shashti festival, which attracts thousands of devotees and pilgrims.

Madhur Srimad Anantheswara Vinayaka Temple annual festival
During the month of March/April every year. 7 days festival. Special festival Moodappa seva conducted periodically in view of the huge expenses involved. A large number of devotees attend the festival.

Mujamkavu Parthasarathi Kshetram Annual Festival
The temple is situated in Ednad village of Kasaragod taluk, 4 Kms. east of Kumbla. The annual festival lasts for seven days during February every year. On the day of 'Thulava Sankramam' a large number of devotees attend the temple for Theertha Snanam, holy bath which is said to be curing skin diseases.

Kumbala Sree Gopalakrishna Temple
Five day festival during the month of January every year. Display of fire works at the end of the festival is very famous.

Adoor Mahalingeswara Temple
Annual Festival of the Temple starts with Dhwajarohanam on the 27th of Kumbam (Feb/March) every year and concludes with the holy dip in the waters of Payaswini on the 4th of Meenam(April) every year. The Makara Sankramam is an important festival day in the temple when a Sahasra Kumbabishekam with feeding of a large number of people takes place.

Mallikarjuna Temple, Kasargod
One of the most important festival of Kasargod town, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The annual festival in the temple falls in the month of March and it attracts huge crowds. The festival lasts for five days. Legend says that the idol of Lord Shiva was adorned by Arjuna.

Mallam Durga Parameswari temple
The temple situates near Bovikanam in Muliyar village about 10 kms away from Kasargod. The temple dedicated to Durga Parameswari. The only one temple from where the devotees get daily annadanam (food). A large number of piligrim visits the temple especially women folk. Tuesday and Friday are very important days in the temple. The annual festival lasts for 7 days, which falls in the month of February-March every year.

Thalaklayi Subrahmanya Tmeple, Paravanadukkam
Situated about 5 kms away south of Kasargod town. Dedicated to Lord Subramanya. The Shasthi festival during the month of December-January every year is famous which attracts large number of devotees. Thefestival last for days.

Kizhur Sri Sastha Temple, Chandragiri
This is an ancient temple situated at Chandragiri which is about 6 kms away from Kasaragod town. This is the head quarters of  Anjooru Nayanmars - Troupes of five hundred professional singers sing jointly in praise of the greatness of the diety. This temple has close connections with Trikkannad Siva temple. The dignitaries of all the Kazhakams of Saliyas from Pattuvam to Panamboor (present Manglore) known as Pathinalu Nagaram assemble here annually on the second saturday of November.

Trikkannad Siva Temple
The temple is situated on the sea shore within one km of the Bekal bridge. The Pandyan Kallu, a rock rising above the sea near the temple is of historical importance. Legend says that when the Pandya rulers tried to attack the temple through the sea, the ship was burnt by the deity and the burnt ship became a rock, which is known as Pandyan Kallu. This temple is also known as Dakshina Kasi. The one week festival in the temple starts with the Kodiyettam (flag hoisting) during the month of March-April every year. Ashtami Villakku and Pallivetta are associated with the festival. Thousand of devotees from all over the district attend the festival. This is the only one temple with face to the west.

Palakkunnu Shree Bhagavathy Kshetram is one km. north of Trikkannad on the Kasargod  - Kanhangad road (Chandragiri route).  It is one of the famous temples of the Thiyya Community.  The treasure house of the temple is situated near the railway gate of Kottikkulam railway station.  Important deity is Mootha Bhagavathy (Kurumba Bhagavathi).  Ilaya Bhagavathy, Dhandan, Ghandakarnam,Vishnu Moorthy and Gulikan are the sub deities.  Padinhatta Chamundi, and Moovalamkuzhi Chamundi, are also worshipped in the Treasure House. The famous festival of the temple is Bharani Maholsavam which falls in the month of March every year.  Maruputhari festival, during the month of December-January, Kalam Kanippu Maholsavam during the month of January and 'Poorolsavam' of  March-April, are the other festivals of  the temple.  Bharani  festival starts, the next day of the Arattu festival of Trikkannad temple.  palakunnu1
palakunnu2 This temple has close connection with the Trikkannad temple.  The rope used for Dhwajarohanam at Trikkannad temple is used for the Dhwajarohanam in the Palakkunnu temple, for Bharani festival .  Bharani festival ends with the Auirathiri Ulsavam. The temple has jurisdiction over the areas of Pallikkere Panchayath, Udma Panchayath, Chemnad Panchayath, and Kolathur village of Bedadka Panchayath.  Every year on the festival day the deities of these areas give great offerings to the temple. These offerings are taken to the temple through colourful processions which is known as Kazhchae.  After the end of each processions, brilliant fire works display, is conducted.  A large number of people from all over the district and other districts and Karnataka state attend the Bharani festival especially to witness the Kazhchas and the fire works display which lasts for hours.

Bekal Fort Mukhya Prana temple festival
Temple inside the Bekal Fort.  Rama    Navami is celebrated in the Bekal Fort, Mukhya prana temple dedicated to 'Hanuman' , during the month of March- April  every year.  Various programmes are conducted in connection with the festival like Kathakali, Yakshagana, Harikatha, Ganamela etc., which attracts large number of people.

Madiyan Kooloom Temple at Madiyan, Ajanur village
The famous  Madiyan Koolam temple is situated about 5 kms. from Kanhangad, the head quarters of  Hosdurg Taluk .  The main deity of the temple is Bhadrakali (Kalarathri).  There are also other deities like Kshethra Palan, Bhagavathy, Bhairavan etc.  A peculiarity of this temple is that  a Brahmin priest performs pooja only in the noon, while in the morning and evening poojas are performed by poojaris from Maniyani sect.  The festivals in this temple are very famous which are known as 'Kalasam' and Pattulsavam.  'Kalasam' falls in the month of Edavam (May and June every year).  'Pattulsavam' falls in the month of Dhanu (December-January every year).  Theyyam is performed during this festivals.   Cultural performances religious rites, grant procession Fire works display etc. makes these festivals colourful.

Mannanpurathkavu, Nileshwar
Mannan purath kavu temple is situated at Nileshwar, near railway gate. This temple is dedicated to 'Durga' where poojas are performed by a sect called Pidarar. Another specialty of this temple is that Kurathi is performed here by sacrificing cocks. A large number of devotees visit this temple on Tuesday and Friday,  the important days of the temple.  Annual festival in this temple is known as 'Kalasam' which falls during Edavam (May) every year. Theyyam is performed on these festival days. Cultural performances and religious rites attracts thousands of devotees. Grand four in also conducted in connection with the festival.

MUSLIM FESTIVALS

Kasargod acquired over the years, considerable importance as a centre of Islam, on the west coast.  The District is famous for Mosques.  Festivals known as Urooses are celebrated in the Makhams (grave of  holly persons) every year.  The Makhams are also known as Jarams and Urooses as Nerchas.  The famous Urooses in the district are as follows.

Malik Dinar Mosque Uroos
The mosque, Juma Masjid which is one of the best kept and most attractive in the district is located at Thalangara, 2KM. away from Kasargod Town.  This is believed to have been founded by Malik Ibu  Dinar.  It contains the grave of   Malik Ibu Dinar and the place is sacred to Muslims.  The Uroos conducted in the name of Malik Ibu Mohammed. Once in every three years is very famous.  Religious speech is also conducted in connection with this.  The one special feature of the Uroos is poor feeding.  The Uroos attracts Pilgrims from all over India.

Thangal Uppappa Uroos at Muhayuddin Juma Masjid, Nellikkunnu, Kasargod  Thangal Uppappa Uroos at Muhayyuddin Juma Masjid, Nellikkunnu near Kasargod Town is celebrated once in two years in memory of Thangal Uppappa Valiyullahi Mohammed Haneef.  This is celebrated during December-January.  The Nercha celebration lasts for seven to eleven days.  Religious speeches by Muslim scholars are also conducted in connection with the festival.  On the   last day of  the Uroos, mass-feeding takes place.  It attract6s people in thousands.

Eriyadi Makham Uroos at Bandadukka, Parappally Makham Uroos at Ambalathara in Hosdurg Taluk.  Bekal Makham Uroos Paika Manavatty Uroos etc. are also famous and attracts a large number of people irrespective of caste and religion.

CHRISTIAN FESTIVALS

The Perunal Festivals of Churches are also famous as far as the District is concerned. There are two famous churches which were constructed during 1879-1880 period. They are at Kasaragod and Bela.

The Church of Our Lady of Dolurus at Kasargod situated near the Railway Station Road constructed during the year 1880 is also famous and the Thirunal Festivals of the Church attracts thousands of people.

The Mother Dolorus Church of Bela is about 11 K.M. on the Kumbla-Badiadka Route. This Gothic Style Roman Catholic church under the Mangalore diocese has celebrated it Centenary recently.  Perunal (Thirunal) festival in the Church falls during the month of December every year which attracts large number of people.

Sacred Heart Church at Vorkady, Church at Manjeshwar, ChristuRaja Church at Kayyar, St. Veronica Church at Kumbla., Sacred Heart Church, Ukkinadukka, St.Johns Britanica Church at Narampadi, are the churches constructed between 1911 and 1942,  and the Perunals of these churches attracts large number of People.

The other Churches in the District were built after 1943 when the Christians migrated from Travancore to the Eastern hilly areas of the district. The important among them are Rajapuram Church, Ranipuram Church, St Antonys Church at Balal, Christu Raja Church Bheemanadi, St. Marys Church at Kadumeni, St.Geevarghese Church at Kanhiradukkam, St.Sebastian Church at Maloth, Marypuram St.Mary's Church at Karivedakam, St.Thomas Church, Thomapuram, Cherupuzha at Vellarikundu.  All these Churches celebrates the annual festivals (Thirunals) in a befitting manner, which attracts thousands of people. Grand processions and firework display makes these festivals colourful.

MUSLIM ARTS

The muslims has adopted several foreign and Kerala visual art forms and made them their own with suitable changes. Of the several forms of art popular among the Mapplias are Aravana (Duff Muttu ), Kolkali, Oppana etc., which are fast dying out with the advent of modern forms of entertainments. Some of them are purely Arabian in origin, while others are either indigenous or partly indigenous and partly foreign. Following are the famous muslim arts.

Oppana
Oppana is a song and dance ritual. It resembles the Kaikottikkalli practiced by women in Kerala. But it has more resembalnce to the song and dance ritual prevalent in Arabian countries, where women sit and sway their bodies as in a dance performance. It goes far into the night. It is held on the occasion of adorning the brides hand and feet with henna (Mailanchi). Circumcision of boys, first menstruation of girls, ceremonial bath of woman on the 14th day after parturition etc. on the occasion of henna ceremony eight or ten women sit around the bride and sing songs, or stand around her singing, in praise of the bride and dancing. On the night previous to the marriage, in the bridgroom's house also his friends stand and sing in praise of the bridegroom. As an art it is performed in the stages and students and others irrespective of religion perform this art for competitions and in various functions. There are famous oppana troupes in the District. There is no doubt that it enchants the visitors.

Aravana Muttu
The muslim people of Kasargod also performs this art at the time of marriage or Urooses and other functions and ceremonies connected with mosques. The Aravana or Duff is a musical instrument of Arabian origin. In the Aravana Kalli, Duff muttu or Duff Kalli, as the art form is variously called the players (usually six in number) stand or sit facing each other sing songs, sway the body in different directions, just like in dance and produce rhythmic sounds by striking with their palms or figures on the duff.
There are several troupes of Duff Muttu connected with mosques and Madrasa. As an art it is also performed in the stages, and competitions are held in this item.

Kolkali
Kolkali in the district is performed and conducted by Muslims as well as Hindus. Muslim Kolkali is different from Hindu's kolkali. Muslims performs this art as a form of entertainment very popular at the time of social gatherings and marriages. In the case of Hindus it is performed at the temple festivals and in connection with Theyyam (Kalliyattam). With its fast bodily movements and corresponding vocal expression, Kolkali attracts every body. The players acting in pairs, strike the koles in the hands of other players in a systematic manner in tune with songs sung in a captivating style. It is played according to Vaithari or Thalam by the Gurukkal (Teacher).

Kolkali Troups usually contains sixteen to twenty players. One of the players will sing and it will be repeated by others. Owing to the changes in fashions and tastes, Kolkali has also changed, just like other folk arts. There are famous Kolkali troups in the district connected with mosquesand Madrasas. Competition are also conducted in this item. A visitor will get immense pleasure in seeing this art.

THIDAMBU DANCE

Thidambu dance is a ritual temple art form performed only in North Malabar areas of Kerala. It can also be seen very rarely in some parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Thidambu means the replica of an idol in a temple which could be taken out of the sanctum sanctorium for certain rituals connected with the poojas/festivals of the temples. It represents the idol of the presiding deity in the sanctum sanctorium. Thidambu is made by using bamboo pieces like a half circle, which is known as Chattams. These Chattams are adorned with flowers and gold/silver ornaments. The metal idol which represents the presiding deity in the sanctum sanctorium is joined with the Chattam. This is known as Thidambu. Thidambu dance is performed only in connection with the annual festivals of temples, by the Brahmins.

The dancer dances carrying the Thidambu on his head according to the rhythm of the chenda(drum) and the connected instruments. Usually this dance is performed in the rhythm like Thakiladi, Adantha, Chembada, Panchari, etc.

There are no records to know about the origin of this dance. It is said that the brahmins migrated from Karnataka-Tamil Nadu during the period of Chirakka Rajas started this dance. Late Sri.Vethiramana Sreedharan Namboodiri of Pattena, Nileshwar was a famous thidambu dancer. Sri.P.T.Keshavan Embranthiri, Nileshwar is a famous Thidambu dancer and he is the first award winner of the Sangeetha Nataka Academy for Thidambu dance. Sree Rama Agiithaya, Thachangad of Panayal village is a famous Thidambu dance artist who performs this dance in Kasargod and Kannur districts. Krishna Adiga of Muttathody of Madhur village and his son Narayana Adiga, are the other dancers who perform the dance in various temples of Kasargod district. The  prominent  ritual art forms of northern Kerala, especially in Kasargod and Kannur district.   It is staged by a group of artists in the Bhagavathy temple premises and in front of sacred Bhagavathy Kavus (groves) and shrines.  This is an integral part of pooram festival celebrated during the month of Meenam (March-April).  The festival lasts for 9 days, starting from karthika day to pooram day.  Pooram is celebrated to praise and please the god of love named Kamadeva.  Though pooram is mainly meant for the women folk and maiden young ladies poorakkali is performed by men folk.  It is said that in ancient days poorakkali was performed by women folk.  A group leader who is well versed in the art and poorakkali songs leads the other artists in the group, who is known as Panikkar.  The song sung by the group leader is repeated by the other artists ,in chorus.  This is a dance rhythmically around a sacred lamp with elegant steps.  While dancing the players clap their hands uniformly to the tune of the song and according to the Thalam by the group leader.  Poorakkali has got 18 different forms.  Most often stories from the epic Ramayana constitute the subject matter of the ritual songs.

The ritual dance form warrants intense training and good physical stamina.  The forward and backward movements and the abrupt variations in the speed and directions enthralls the spectators.

Invariably poorakkali is followed by a dual of wits staged to test the intellectual capacity of the rival group leaders. This is known as Marathukali. Where in intrigating questions are put by one leader to the other side who is expected to answer suitably. This splendid ritual art form has become the monopoly of certain castes namely Yadavas or Maniyanis, Thiyyas (Ezhavas) Mukayas, Saliyas, etc. of Hindu religion.

IMPORTANT FOLK ARTS & FAIRS
BUFFALO RACE
Buffalo race forms a part of Tulunadu culture and is prevailing only in Kasaragod Dist. in Southern parts of Dekshina Kanada Dist. It is usually coincides with the starting of agricultural operations in the paddy fields. It declares the glorious importance of soaring and harvesting. In the beginning the race was confined to the fields prepared by ploughing. But later on it grew to a large scale involving hundreds of bull buffullos and thousands of men, conducted in extensive race fields. Strong and fatty buffaloes were breeded specifically for this purpose. There were people who devoted their entire life for the race.

Though it resembles the bull race in other parts of Kerala, the buffalo race is different in many aspects. The race course usually having a length of 500 to 100 feet and a breadth of 20 to 50 feet, formed in to large boroughs in the muddy fields which is known as Kanbalam. There used to be permanent Kanbalas or race course, in prominent places.
buffalo race #1
buffalo race #2

Races were conducted annually in those places. When unusual races are conducted occassionally, the organisers invite renouned riders to the occassion . They bring bulls and buffalos from distant places.

This grand rural sport is very popular in the northern parts of Kasaragod district especially in Kumbala and Manjeswar. The majestic and graceful animals exhibit their brutal strength and speed when aroused by the skillful riders. Though accidents occur in rare cases,by and large it is not a dangerous sport and no harm is caused to the animals or the rider.

This race gives great enthusiasm to both the spectactors and participants and keeps the cultural heritage of Tulunad alive and evergreen. No spectactor can deny the enchanting powers of this rural sport. By taking adequate measures this can be transformed into a tourist attraction.
There are two types of races. In the first case a wooden plank is connected to the yoke by a long wooden pole and a pair of buffullos harnessed to the yoke, the wooden plank touches the muddy ground in a slight angle enabling the rider to stand on it. While riding, the rider keeps his balance by clutching the tales of the buffullos. There is a hole in the wooden pole and while riding fast, the muddy water splashes through the hole. The speed of the buffaloes and the expertise of the rider are measured by computing the height reached by the splash. In the middle of the Kambala a banner is put up across it at a considerable height. It is a challenge to the rider to get the banner tarnished with the muddy water splashed through the hole of the wooden plank.

In the other case, buffullos are harnessed only with the yoke. The woodenplank and connecting pole has no role. The rider has to run after the buffaloes and the winner are selected by their speed with the use of a stop-watch.
buffalo race #3

COCK-FIGHT



Cock-fight is another rural attraction in Kasargod District. It has got a legendary origin and it is extensively referred in the folk songs of Malabar. Till recently cock-fights formed an insperable and unavoidable part of temple festivals, especially in the northern parts of Kasargod district. Though it is legally forbidden, cock-fights are conducted secretely and clandestinely in many parts of the district.

In olden days a religious tint is attributed to this sport and that is why even now cock-fight is conducted in the precincts of temples. Special breeds of cocks are grown for the fight. These fighter cocks have great vigour and stamina and they exhibit formidable courage during the fight. A sharp double edged small weapon is tied to one of the legs of the bird. The fighter bird rises high and tries to kick the enemy bird. Usually one of the birds gets fatally wounded and dies. Sometimes the defeated bird runs off from the arena. The owner of the successful cock is entitled to get the defeated or killed cock. If both cocks are killed in the fight the owners used to exchange the dead birds. Largescale betting is also prevelant in many parts.

Instant traditional treatment are given to the wounded cocks from the fighting arena, making them fit again to resume the fight. The owners are well versed with the physiological features of a good fighter cock and they derive this knowledge from the ancesstors. It provides an entertainment to the rural folks, eventhough we have to admit that it is a cruel sport, causing immense pain and harm to the poor creatures. This also keeps the cultural heritage of Tulunadu, alive and there is no doubt about its enchanting powers. Women are prohibited from watching this sport.

POORAKKALI

Poorakkali is one of the  prominent   ritual art forms of northern Kerala, especially in Kasargod and Kannur district.   It is staged by a group of artists in the Bhagavathy temple premises and infront of sacred Bhagavathy Kavus (groves) and shrines.  This is an integral part of pooram festival celebrated during the month of Meenam (March-April).  The festival lasts for 9 days, starting from karthika day to pooram day.  Pooram is celeberated to praise and please the god of love named Kamadeva.  Though pooram is mainly meant for the women folk and maiden young ladies poorakkali is performed by men folk.  It is said that in ancient days poorakkali was performed by women folk.  A group leader who is well versed in the art and poorakkali songs leads the other artists in the group, who is known as Panikkar.  The song sung by the group leader is repeated by the other artists ,in chorus.  This is a dance rhythmically around a sacred lamp with elegant steps.  While dancing the players clap their hands uniformly to the tune of the song and according to the Thalam by the group leader.  Poorakkali has got 18 different forms.  Most often stories from the epic Ramayana constitute the subject matter of the ritual songs.

The ritual dance form warrants intense training and good physical stamina.  The forward and backward movements and the abrupt variations in the speed and directions enthrals the spectactors.

Invariably poorakkali is followed by a dual of wits staged to test the intellectual capacity of the rival group leaders. This is known as Marathukali. Where in intrigating questions are put by one leader to the other side who is expected to answer suitably. This splendid ritual art form has become the monopoly of certain castes namely Yadavas or Maniyanis, Thiyyas (Ezhavas) Mukayas, Saliyas, etc. of Hindu religion.