Adiya, a tribal community living in and around Achukunu, Kuppathodu, Payyamballi and Thalassery of north Kerala, like any other tribal’s has various ritual practices for invoking their Gods and Goddesses. Gadhika is one such art from practiced among the Adiya community to drive away severe illnesses and diseases, which they believe is caused due to God’s dislike/anger towards them.
The performers held under the leadership Moopan, chieftain of the tribe, will be dressed up red. There are two types of Gadhika, one is the Nattu Gadhika - held for the goodness of their village as a whole and the other Pooja Gadhika, performed for ritualistic purposes, mainly to cure illness.
Held annually, the performers of Gadhika will dance and move rhythmically and are accompanied by musicians who play wind instruments and drums popular among the tribal communities. The rhythmic dancing of the participants is said to welcome the gods.
Thanks to the chief performer, late P.K. Kaalan, the then Moopan of the tribe and former Chairman, Kerala Folklore Academy is the sole person who helped Gadhika to showcase this tribal art to the world.