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Padayani - the martial ritual art

Padayani (patayani) is a form of ritual dance in Kerala, South India, which is slightly war-like in its tone and steps, enacted in many temples of the southern districts of Kerala.

The highlight of the padayani dance costume is a huge and elaborate headgear called the kolam and the characters of the dance are identified by the kolam they wear, known variously as Yakshi, Pakshi, Kuthira, Kalari, Gandharvan, Maadan etc. The kolam known as bhairavi kolam, representing Goddess Kaali (bhadrakaali), is the more predominant one among them.

Padayani is enacted in the months of February, March and April. It is a weeklong festival, culminating in a grand procession on the seventh day.