Most ritual art performances are related to the land and its climate. Padayani, a popular ritualistic dance of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kollam districts of Kerala in South India, is no exception.
Padayani is performed by trained artistes. The master performer or trainer is called the aasan. Mastering this art, especially the footsteps, requires a lot of patience, effort and regular physical exercises.
Some well-known training centers are the Gothra Kala Kalari at Kadammanitta; Kurampala or Koorampala Padeni Kalari at Pandalam and the Gothra Kala Peedam at Kunnamthanam; all in Pathanamthitta district.
Padayani or Padeni or Patayani art is performed in temples at night and is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. The performance is a spectacular event of dancers wearing headgears or kolams, amidst dazzling fireworks and beating of drums.
Usually it is a week-long event and the Valiya Padayani on the seventh day marks the grand finale of the event. A ceremonial procession carrying motifs is held on this day. Music and drum ensembles add to the charm of the procession.