Friday, 5 May 2017

Pulikali- Unique Tiger Parade Carnival of Kerela

India is a country with varied cultures and festivals. All the festivals symbolizes color, vibrancy and faith. Onam is one such important harvest festival which celebrates the beginning of first day of Malayalam calendar (Kollavarsham). Onam is a carnival of folk dances, feasts, games for four to ten days. Pulikali is one of the folk dances performed on the 4th day of ONAM.  Puli Kali which is also known as Kaduvaakali is an Art form of Thrissur district of Kerala, India.
Pulikali -Tiger Play

 The name Puli Kali literally means TIGER PLAY. In Malayalam language (mother tongue of Kerala) ‘Puli’ means Tiger and ‘Kali’ means Play. Onam is celebrated to welcome the spirit of King Mahabali who was a demon(asura) but during his reign it is said that Kerala was a prosperous and happy state. It could be to symbolize the mighty king in the form of mighty animal – Tiger in the PuliKali dance form.
Carnival of tiger play

In this play, the artists enact themselves as tigers and leopards by painting their whole body with red, black and yellow colors and wear tiger masks. This folk art’s main attraction is the fat bellied men dancing on a particular rhythm or tune. Earlier the performers used to paint their faces as tigers using ‘tempera’ powder which took hours to dry and was a daunting and artistic task. Today ready made masks are worn along with a belt made of bells around the waist. But still the artistically tiger face painted on bellies are crowd pullers. It is a great way for artists from nearby places to present and showcase their art through the tiger paintings made on human body.

This dance was originated 200 years ago under the rule of King Ramavarma, when the king wanted to celebrate Onam with a special dance form which represented wild and macho spirit. Later this form of tiger dance was also loved and enacted by the Muslim soldiers of British army posted then in Thrissur to perform and celebrate Muharram festival. It was then called as ‘Pulikkettikali’.  As time passed, the dance form got popular among the youngsters due to its aggression and energetic actions. Based on a common theme of Tiger attacking preys and Hunting scenario, various groups or ‘Sangams’ as they call, come from different villages of Thrissur district on the 4th day of Onam .They all assemble at Naduvilal in the Swaraj round of Thrissur which is the center of the city and offer a coconut to Lord Ganesha of the Vadakkunathan temple. Then they carry out processions on the streets and dance all day on the beats of instruments like ‘ thakil’, ‘udukku’ , ‘ chhenda’ and many more. The energy and enthusiasm is looked for and enjoyed by the crowd and is an attraction for the visitors and travellers too.

 For many it is a nostalgic memory of their childhood and many come back from different parts of the world with their children to show them this unique art – PULI KALI on this special day of Onam. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Janakpur- The Birthplace of Goddess Sita

Janakpur is also known as Janakpurdham  has been mentioned in Ramanayana as birthplace of goddess Sita. Janakpur is situated in Nepal and is just 20 kilometers from the Indian border and can be easily reached by car. It is a beautiful, calm place, located in the foothills of Himalaya. It is forested and marshy terrain at the base of the Himalaya mountain range with few rivers like Dudhmati, Jalad, Rato, Balan and Kamala crossing the area at various places. It is famous for its temples and the numerous ponds of religious importance.
Janakpur Main Temple, Nepal

Janakpuri Main Temple, Nepal   

The city is famous for Ram Janaki Temple which is in the center of the city that draws allusions to the famous Hindu epic Ramayana. Statues of Rama and his half-brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Satrughna stand by Sita. Early evenings are the best times to visit, for then the temple is lit with colorful lights and filled with hundreds of pilgrims expressing devotion for Sita and Rama. The temple is particularly popular with women, who wear their best clothes when visiting the shrine. Adjacent to the Janaki Mandir is the Rama Sita Bibaha Mandir, a building that marks the place where Rama and Sita were married.

Ram & Sita Statues at Janakpuri Temple, Nepal   

September to April is pleasant and several festivals fall during this period. Regular bus / Car services are available from Kathmandu and other Indian cities. Tens of thousands of pilgrims visit Janakpur to pay homage to Sita at the time of Vivah Panchami, the marriage day of Sita and Ram (the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in November/December) and on Ram Navami.

Janakpuri Temple, Nepal   

Another important religious site nearby is Dhanushadham, its reference again dating back to the Ramayan era. It is believed to be the place where the broken remains of the divine Shiva bow fell after Ram broke it to obtain Sita's hand in marriage.

If you are visiting Bihar than Janakpur should be in your itinerary list.

Tourist Services:
 Luxury hotels to budget accommodation and food facilities are available in Janakpur city. Dharamshalas (accommodation for pilgrims) are also available. Food is delicious with Indian touch. Varieties of sweets and vegetarian specialties are available. Other tourist facilities are also available in Janakpur city
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