Dance & Theatre
Dance & Theatre 667 Videos
Tholpavakoothu of Kerala

Tholpavakoothu or shadow puppetry is performed as a ritual at the Bhadrakali temples in and around the district of Palakkad in Kerala.

Based on Kamba Ramayana, the Tamil version of the Indian epic Ramayana, Chinnathampi Vadhyar a scholar composed the script for Tholpavakoothu plays. Kamba Ramayana was authored by the great Tamil scholar and poet Kambar who lived in the 12th century. Poems and narrations accompany the play. The entire story of Ramayana is composed as 21 parts and is presented taking 21 nights.

Most of the Bhadrakali temples in Palakkad have Koothumadams, permanent structures for staging the puppetry. The stage is curtained-off with a white cloth and leather puppets are held up with sticks, behind the screen. Earthen lamps are placed behind the puppets to create shadows on the screen.

Here is an excerpt from the performance made by the Krishnan Kutty Pulavar Smaraka Tholpavakoothu and Puppet Centre in Palakkad. The troupe was founded by the descendants of the late Krishnan Kutty Pulavar, a doyen of this art form