Neelamperoor Padayani Festival of Kerala

in Module
Published on: 01 August 2018

M.R. Vishnuprasad

M.R. Vishnuprasad is a young poet and performance art researcher currently based in New Delhi. He received a fellowship from Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India in the field of Folk/Traditional and Indigenous Arts in 2017. For the past twenty years he has been writing poetry in Malayalam and is credited with two anthologies. With a postgraduate in environmental sciences, Vishnu is currently pursuing his PhD in theatre and performance studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Vishnuprasad’s intervention in art is a tripartite synthesis of poetry, ecology and performance art.

Padayani, also called Padeni, is a traditional folk dance and a ritual art form of Kerala performed in Bhagavati temples. Translated as a 'row of warriors', Padayani is an art form that blends music, dance, theatre, satire, masks and paintings. There are different kinds of Padayani performances in Kerala and Neelamperoor Padayani is the only kind in which effigies are made instead of dances being performed using masks and headgear. It is held at Neelamperoor, Kuttanadu taluk, Alappuzha district, Kerala. Padayani is regarded as a remnant of the Dravidian forms of worship that existed before the advent of Brahmanism. Neelamperoor Padayani represents a synthesis of both Hindu and Buddhist cultures.