Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Sarpam Pattu

A ritual art form performed at Sarpa Kavu (Serpent Grove), temples dedicated to Naga (Snake God) and rarely in households. Performed and supervised by the people belonging to Pulluva Community, Sarpam Pattu is also known as Pambu Thullal, Pambin Kalam, Nagam Pattu and Sarpolsavam.  This art form is performed by women artists after observing the required austerities. Held on the aayilam asterism of the Malayalam months Kanni (September-October), Thulam (October-November) and Kumbham (February-March), the performance will be accompanied by percussion instruments such as Pulluva Vena and Kudam.

Sarpakkalam (ritual powder drawing) will be drawn in the temporary thatched hut (Pandal) made for the performance. Kalams such as Sarpayakshi Kalam, Nagayakshi Kalam, Ashtanaga Kalam will be visualized using multi-coloured powder by the pulluvan. Then Pandal will be decorated with lamps and things like rice, coconut, betel leaf (vetta), arecanut (pazhukka) and pot of milk will be placed in the panthal.  Once the Kalam pooja has been completed, the performer will be invited to the stage.

The performer’s dancing will be conceived as Nagarajavu (Snake King), Naagayakshi (Snake goddess), Sarpayakshi (Serpent goddess), Maninagam, Erinagam, Karinagam, Kuzhi nagam, Para Nagam and Kanyavu. The woman performer with the cluster of arecanut leaf (Kavuginpookula) starts dancing once the ritualistic ululation is over and is accompanied by the song sung by Pulluvan along with Veena, Kudam and Kaimani. As the songs reach a crescendo, the dance will also becomes more frenzied. And finally the dancer will erase the Kalam.

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