Hi...what a peaceful house and such interesting wonderful people! i am getting to meet many of the warm and friendly people in your community....a delight! Thx - Pamela Hunter from Canada
Special Review sent from after she reaches at Canada
FROM PAMELA HUNTER, CANADA
Kerala has a rich tradition of festivals and celebrations. I was especially interested in Theyyam and elephant poorams. I found a very informative and website, travelkannur.com and Santhosh, the host was very responsive, helpful and generous and as I discovered, very passionate about Theyyam and his community. Santhosh arranged pickup from the train station, accommodation and Theyyam attendance. He is very flexible and will make arrangements that fit your interests, style, and budget.
A tuk tuk driver met me on the train platform and the adventure began! Thru the city, thru the town along the highway until we turned off at an almost hidden little path... a curving route up and down hills, across a front patio, around a house to stop at the steps to a gorgeous house with a couple waiting to greet me. The charming little village with only footpaths was settled into a clearing in the tropical forest.
My hosts were an interesting pair. She is an artist and was finishing up for an exhibition of portraits of local people. He is doing research on Theyyam and has produced a very good documentary. The locale was idyllic, the hosts were gracious and the neighbours were welcoming. The neighbours were welcoming, sharing photos of their children’s accomplishments with cell phone photos and by bringing by tasty treats while the children brought flowers and smiles. It was the highlight of my 3 month trip to India.
I arrived at a Theyyam at 4:30 in the morning and the bonfires were already hot with coals. It was a full day of 12 different Theyyams . The children were happy to tell me each god’s story. Little huts dotted the grounds and assistants wer applying makeup and helping the Theyyams dress in their beautiful, elaborate colorful costumes. One by one they approached a temple with the musicians and the chanting and dancing began to transport the Theyyam into a trance and godlike state. The last piece of the costume was added to signify full realization of the god. More music, an offering, and then the demonstration of their godlike being. This usually involved the fire in some way – walking through flames, sitting in hot coals with a grass skirt, holding hot coals - or dancing with a very tall heavy structure on their shoulders. The Theyyam would then move through the crowd with his aide bestowing blessings and collecting gifts. Later there were photo opportunities around the temple.
The local people were very friendly. The family hosting invited me to their home for tea and to meet their daughter. There was a large tent set up where delicious meals were continuously served all day long. This day was a highlight of my time in Kerala.
The art show was also a memorable day. We set up the gallery in the village school the day before. The morning of the show we walked to a neighbour’s house where the mother and daughters dressed the artist in a sari. The large charcoal portraits were stunning. The show was a big event and there was a large crowd in attendance – TV and radio stations, magazines and newspapers, photographers, artists, poets and politicians, and of course the local people – all in attendance for a program and the show. This is an annual show always with a pertinent local theme and the artist has made name for herself. The show was a huge success!
I highly recommend visiting Kerala, attending some of the festivals and celebrations and do not miss a Theyyam! The best way to organize this is through travelkannur.com – Santhosh thoroughly knowledgeable of events and is a great communicator and planner – he will make sure you have an amazing time!
Happy trails to you...Pamela