Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

The Northern and Southern Ballards

Among the Malayalam poems that were passed down across generations through the powerful oral tradition are two sets of folk-poetry known as the northern ballads and the southern ballads respectively (Vadakkan Pattukal and Thekkan Pattukal). Though many of these, especially the northern ballads mainly focus on the heroic deeds of local warriors and the martial art traditions of the area, there are also songs in the group that are totally unconnected with battle traditions. These songs are a rich source of information on Kerala’s folk tradition and literature.

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