The Theyyam of Malabar Photo Expedition

COST: $2035 (based on 8 members), $ 903 (Single Supplement), $ 500 (Estimated Internal Airfare), $ 140 (Tip Kitty)

The Theyyam of Malabar Photo-Expedition is specifically structured and timed to allow its members to photograph and document some of the most spectacular ritualistic dances of Northern Kerala, called Theyyam. We will travel to the Malabar region of south India, and along with Malabari villagers, attend the Theyyam performances in local temples. Not only will we attend the specific Theyyam rituals scheduled from February 22 to 25, but we shall also encounter smaller Theyyam rituals deep in the forests of Northern Kerala.

Theyyam is a form of art worship, more like folk-dance oriented rituals, most popular in north Malabar, Kerala (India). These ancient rituals have their set of traditional costumes and mythological associations, harking back to thousands of years to an era before Brahmanical Hinduism spread to peninsular India.

The Theyyam folk-dance oriented rituals usually last for 3 days, and are generally performed in Kaavus or temples. The performances follow a sequence which starts with drum-beats, followed by specific dances and pujas. The costumes and masks used by Theyyam performers are intensely colorful, and are made of bamboo splices and red cloth. The performers’ bodies are painted with locally made concoctions. The performers are called Theyyams and enter into a frenzied state, which allows the deities to inhabit their bodies. At that point, the devotees approach the Theyyams and request their blessings.

Photo Gallery From The Theyyam of Malabar Photo Expedition:

Theyyams: Incarnate Deities