Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala


Poorakkali is a ritual art form performed in the Bhagavathi temples and sacred groves across North Kerala. Performed during the nine day Pooram festival (mainly held during the Malayalam month of Meenam) in Bhagavathy temples, this art form focuses mainly on rhythmic foot steps resembling the movements of martial artform. The name Poorakkali literally means play on Pooram day. Originally, this was an artform of the women folk but today it is performed by men.

The Poorakkali performance begins after a series of ceremonies and has many  ritual components such as Pooramala, Ganapathy Paattu, and hymns in praise of Goddess Saraswathi, and Lord Sreekrishna before the performance. The stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata are narrated in the songs.

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