Kalamezhuthu or Kalam Pattu is a unique form of temple art found only in Kerala. The patterns to be drawn and the colours chosen are traditionally stipulated, and the tradition is strictly adhered to. Kalams are drawn in connection with the worship of Devi, Naga and Sastha. In each case the patterns, minutest details, dimensions and colour choice are mandatory and not arbitrary. The patterns vary considerably depending on the occasion, but rarely by the choice of the artist. Even the order of creation is laid down.
The drawing is done directly with the hand, that is, without using any tools whatsoever. The colours are made from natural resources. The powders used are all natural (Vegetable or Mineral or combined). The usual items used are: Rice (white), Turmeric (yellow), Charcoal from paddy husk (black), blend of Turmeric powder and Lime (red) and powdered leaves (green).
Kalams are Traaditionally drawn by Kurups (an indigenous Hindu caste of Kerala).
Here is a glimpse of a Bhagavati Kalam representing Tirumandhamkunnu Bhagavati, the presiding deity of the region:
|A Fully drawn Kalam depicting Tirumandhamkunnu Bhagavati (Bhadrakali) who is the presiding deity of the area|
|The close up of Face
|The Garland and sword of the Goddess Bhadrakali|
|A View of the platform on which Kalam is Drawn|
|Kuruppu, The Artist and Performer |
|Ritual of Erasing the Kalam in Progress|
|It took him more than four hours to draw the Kalam as an Artist and less than two minutes to erase it as a Velichappadu (an oracle or a medium between the Goddess and the worshipper in a Hindu temple) |
Once when I tried to take a kalampattu pic,my Aphan told only a professional can take a complete pic of that Kalam.You have done it :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Roopa! It was indeed the most difficult of the snaps to click as it covers a considerable area on the floor... If it weren't for the stairs to Thekkini, even I would have failed miserably.Delete
Such an informative post. Beautiful kalams too. I've never seen these so I'm really fascinated.ReplyDelete
Thank you Ms. Nambiar for your comments! Kalamezhuthu is a dying art - basically because it is popular only in the Malabar region of Kerala and also because not many from the 'Kurup' community are coming into this traditional arena any more. Other communities are generally not allowed to do the Kalams. Moreover, the income from this is also very small.Delete
If you are interested, I shall inform you on when next Kalampattu occurs. May be you can see and experience it for yourself.
Nice. BTW, how did you manage to clik? they usually don't let us do it rite?ReplyDelete
Thank you Leo! Well, I don't know if they would allow to click it in a temple, but this one was at my own home and the Kurup was also known to me for ages. So had no problems.Delete
I guess growing up in a traditional background has its merits, after all!
A very unique and beautiful form a art. Loved your description and the art form and how it is done. The Kalam looks so beautiful. Very nice post. :)ReplyDelete
Thank you Raj! It is indeed very beautiful. The fact that the artist draws the entire Kalam without the help of any tools make it all the more marvelous...Delete
Somehow I had missed this post (buried under those you-know-what). It has been ages since I've witnessed a kalam ezhuthu. Beautiful pictures. You should add a video of the pattu. http://travellenz.wordpress.com/ReplyDelete
Thank you! Better late than never...Delete
The next time there is a paattu, I'll let you know, so that you can attend it. As of now, I dont have any videos of the same. It is only very recently that I discovered that my camera can actually shoot good videos...
Until then, keep visiting and commenting!!!