Thidambu Nritham Folk Dance, Kerala

Thidambu Nritham is an old dance form prevalent in the Northern Malabar in the state of Kerala. The northern region of the Malabar is rich in cultural heritage. It is also home to many renowned religious sites which have helped to develop many divine and ritual art forms like Thidambu Nritham. The name, Thidambu Nritham itself means dancing with the decorated replica of the deity. A particular Brahmin clan, named as Namboothiris mainly performs with style of ritual dance form. Other Brahmin societies like Havyaka, Shivalli, & Karhade also involve in this art form.

Thidambu Nritham is thought to have been invented near about 600 to 700 years ago and trails the doctrines of dancing mentioned in the Natyashastra, the ancient literature of performing art sassembled by the renowned Sage Bharatha. This ritual art form is performed in both inside and outside of the temple carrying the ornamented deity on the head of the performers. The magnificent frame of the replica is made out of bamboo with intricate designs. The dancers clad in traditional attire of pleated skirt, silk vest, bangles, earrings and necklace. An ornamented turban known as ‘ushnipeetam’ is also worn. The dance is staged by ten persons. The performance has various stages like Urayal, Thakiladiadantha, Chembada etc.

The dancers are accompanied by seven musicians and two lamp bearers. A divine atmosphere is created with the dancing of the priestly dancer on the different rhythm of the drums carrying the ‘Thidambu’ or the deity on the head. Brahmasree Puthumana-Govindan Namboothiri is a well-known artist of Thidambu Nritham.

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