Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Thidambu Nritham

A ritual dance performed by carrying the thidambu (replica of the deity) of Gods and Goddesses on the heads. Prevalent in places north of Korapuzha (Kora River) in Kozhikode, thidambu nritham will be performed by Namboothiri (priest). While dancing, the performer will carry decorated with flowers and ornaments, the idols are placed on the heads.

The performer has to undergoe proper training which will begins with guruvandanam, pulimutti is received and the rhythm is practiced and then the dance steps. While practicing body movements, different types of oil and ghee are applied on the body and massaged. Those with flexible movements and rhythm can perform Thidambu Nritham rigorously.

The performance, as in tradition, is staged with the accompaniment of vilakku (traditional oil lamp) held by Warrier community and the percussion instrument played by the Marars. The dancers wear white dresses with folds (pleat). A special headgear known as ‘ushnipeetam’ is worn and the Thidambu is placed on top of it.

Chenda, valanthala, ilathalam, kuzhal and sanku are the other musical instruments accompanying the performance. Four talas (rhythm) are used such as Thakhiladi, adantha, champada and panchari. Each rythm ends with a finale and the next begins. And, gradually the dance becomes fast-paced. In some Thidambu Nritham, one to five Thidambus are used.

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