Temple Bans Artist Poorakkali From Performing Ritual After Son Marries Muslim Woman

Poorakkali is a fascinating art form that combines intellect, acrobatics and music. Poorakkali differs from other art forms due to the long hours of performance which include vigorous exercises and movements performed in a circle around a large oil lamp.


  • Poorakkali is one of the most important and beautiful forms of ritual art in northern Malabar
  • There is a resemblance between Poorakkali and Kalaripayattu
  • During the Pooram days of the Meenam month (according to the Malayalam calendar), Poorakkali is performed at the Bhagavathy temples

Thiruvananthapuram: After an artist’s son married a Muslim woman, a temple committee denied his request to perform a ritual at a festival. The incident occurred at Karivelloor Kaniyan Parambath Bhagavathy Temple at Keralait’s Kannur district.

According to temple officials, since Vinod Panicker’s son married a Muslim woman, he will no longer be able to perform the ‘Poorakkaliritual he has been practicing for 37 years.

Throughout North Kerala, there is a form of ritual art known as ‘Poorakkali’ which is practiced in temples dedicated to Bhagavathy. This art form is practiced during the nine-day Pooram festival in Bhagavathy temples, and it is mainly characterized by rhythmic foot movements resembling Kalaripayattuwhich is considered one of the oldest martial arts in the world.

Poorakkali literally translates to playing on the day of Pooram. This art form was originally practiced by women, but is now practiced mostly by men. The stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata are told in these songs.

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“I am a Poorakkali artist and I have been doing this for 37 years and this kind of humiliation has never been experienced when I was told that I cannot perform it because my son married a Muslim woman,” said the news agency. IANS mentioned a distraught Panicker as saying.

According to temple authorities, Panicker would only be allowed to perform if he left the house where he lives with his Muslim daughter-in-law, but Panicker refused.

Although Panicker’s mother’s house was not far from his own, he refused to move there.

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“It was my passion and I used to earn a little extra income performing this ritual art form,” Panicker said.

Note that Karivelloor has an extraordinary history. The first major uprising by farmers in the Malabar region for land, food and freedom happened here about 75 years ago.

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