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Thitambu Nritham in Kerala Attractions

Posted on February 22, 2012 | FestivalsNo Comment



North Kerala is a land of culture, traditions and the ideal travel delights. Enconsced in the best surroundings in this part of the world, the Thitambu Nritham in Kerala is a ritual art form that is more than seven centuries old. Mainly performed by the Namboothiris, of Kerala, this is an art form that has not died with times. Started by the Late Vethirmana Sreedharan Namboodiri, this is an art form that goes down to ancient times.

The dancer in absolute traditional style, performs the usual rituals and then comes out of the sanctum sanctorum, and stands under the flag. The dancer then holds the replica weighting around 10 kg to 30 kg on his head and then starts the divine dance. One of the Namboothiris bears the Thitambu while there are more than seven players playing on the percussion instruments. Two people carry the lamps. For the performance of the Thitambu Nritham 10 dancers are needed. The dance starts with the “Kotti Urayikkal” which is the drumming to show that the dancer is possessed. When the dancer comes out carrying the replica, the “Maraar” drums very typically and the rituals are performed. Thitambu means the direct sight of the deity. There is a turban or headgear that is used for keeping the replica on the head. This headgear is called the Ushnipeetam. In the southern and central part of Kerala, this sight of carrying the idols and walking around is a common thing and this has come from this Northern region of Kerala.

Thitambu Nritham Festival
The replicas are called “chattam”. These are made of bamboo and the frame with the exquisite designs look very nice.

The Thitambu dance has great footwork. This is very important in the dance and is danced to the rhythm of the drums. There is a different beat for each circumlocution. The Thitambu Nritham has gone through a lot of changes and with the passage of time, the style has also changed. The basic styles still are the Thaalavattom, the thaalam. There are lot of novel touches added to the dance.

Thitambu Nritham danceThitambu Nritham is a typical tradition of North Kerala. Normally other Brahmin communities do not participate in it. This ritualistic form of art has not died with the withdrawal of Sreedharan Namboothiris the founder of the dance. Today Matamana Sankaran Embranthiri and Brahmasree Puthumana govindan Namboothiris are carrying on the tradition in the northern part of Kerala. This is an absolutely pure dance, and has got great beat and layam. But this is not a part of the temple arts of Kerala. Many people believe this as a great art and is also related to a lot of Tantric rites.

In the Thitambu Nritham there are many sights of idols being carried on the elephants during the festivals here.

It is said that many Brahmans who migrated to the northern part of Kerala during the Chirakkal, could have started the trend of this dance form from Karnataka. In the “Koota Piriyal” scene, there parting of Lord Krishna and Balarama is expressed wonderfully accompanied by a lot of drums and vivid expressions.

It is said that once a devotee of Lord Krishna visited Krishna’s temple every day and when he grew old, he couldn’t come to the temple anymore. It is said that Lord Krishna once went to meet him as the devotee was very old. He went to the old man’s house and danced the “Pookottu Nada” for the old man. The festival at Trichambaram is held in celebration of this event.

The Thitambu Nritham is a dance form prevalent in Northern Kerala. It is a popular way of expressive art.

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