Images of India : Tiger Dance ends Onam Festival…

pulikaliPerformers painted as tigers take part in the ‘Pulikali’, or Tiger Dance, in Thrissur in Kerala. The folk-art event is held every year in the town during the ‘Onam’ festival. Pulikali is a colorful recreational folk art. It is performed by trained artistes to entertain people on the occasion of Onam. Also known as Kaduvaakali, it is a 200 year old art, carefully preserved by the artistes of the state. Literal meaning of Pulikali is the ‘play of the tigers’ hence the performance revolves around the theme of tiger hunting. Artistes paint themselves in bright yellow with patterns of black and red. A tiger mask on the face completes the get up. Artistes spend a whole night prior to the performance day on their make-up. It is a wonderful sight to see humans in the guise of tigers roaming in the streets. Children, specifically take great delight in their performance as the entertainers dance, pounce and walk like tigers.