Tholpavakoothu is a form of shadow puppetry that is practiced in Kerala, India. It is performed using leather puppets as a ritual dedicated to Bhadrakali and is performed in Devi temples in specially built theatres called koothumadams. This art form is especially popular in the Palakkad, Thrissur and Malappuram districts of Kerala.
THOLPAVAKOOTHU - A UNIQUE SHADOW PUPPET PLAY
More Than 300 Puppets To Perform The Puppetry. For The Performance The Characters In The Ramayana Story Want To Be Made By Leather. Actually, The Puppets Are Made By Dear Skin. Now A Days Scarcity Of Dear Skin We Use Goat Skin, Buffalo Skin, Etc.
The Scene Was The Puppets Displayed In Koothumadam (Permenent Stage)., Manupulation Of Puppets, Seen Of Deer, Seen Of Forest.
A koothumadam is a separate 42-foot-long stage on which Tholpavakoothu is performed. The stage has a screen, a piece of white cloth, behind which the puppets are held. The lighting is provided by 21 lamps lit in coconut halves or earthen lamps placed behind the puppets, causing their shadows to fall on the screen. The lamps are a placed equidistantly on a specially constructed wooden beam called a vilakku madam. The performance is accompanied by the recitation of slokas and the performers are required to learn over 3000 of these before they perform. The recitation is accompanied by instruments such as chenda, maddalam, ezhupara, ilathalam, conch and cherukuzhal.
A full Tholpavakoothu performance, staging all the episodes of the Kamba Ramayana, takes 21 days to complete with nine-hour performances every day, and requires 180 to 200 puppets. A full performance needs up to 40 artistes. The lead puppeteer is called a pulavar. Traditionally, performances begin at night and go on till dawn. The show begins with a kelikottu and an invocation called kalarichinthu. Performances are done from January through May and during poorams. A Tholpavakoothu performance can last 7, 14, 21, 41 or 71 days depending on the tradition at the temple where it is performed. It continues to be performed in over a hundred temples across Kerala.