Theyyam — The Ancient Art of Storytelling

March 14, 2019 - 4 minutes read

Dance of the Gods

Myth and legend come alive in this cultural icon from South India. Weaving dance, mime and music, Theyyam tells the stories of ancient tribal gods and heroes. The ritualistic dancing is believed to impersonate the metaphysical thoughts and expressions of immortal souls through a mortal body.

As one of India’s oldest art forms, its roots are believed to stretch back thousands of years, even predating Hinduism. Performers wear colorful costumes and elaborate make-up to represent ancient gods and their powers. The awe-inspiring performances include over 400 different styles of dance, invocations and rites.

Where can you experience Theyyam?

Theyyam is usually performed in the early morning or late evening during the South Indian festival season that runs from December to April. The best place to catch a performance is at temples of North Kerala, mainly in the Malabar region and Kannur. But as they aren’t scheduled, timings are prone to change and seating is seldom available. But don’t despair — Creative Travel can get you there.

“Theyyam by Creative”

Creative Travel can arrange a customized trip to see Theyyam in South India, a trip that includes a special meeting with the performers and preparations behind the scenes of this fascinating art form.

Follow it up with a visit to one of the many coffee and spice plantations in the Kannur region. Or continue your sojourn through time at the ancient Edakkal Caves with rock carvings dating back to the Stone Age.

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Mangalore and transfer to the coastal town of Bekal for overnight stay.

Day 2: Drive to Kannur and visit village temples and traditional ancestral Hindu homes where Theyyam is performed.

Day 3: Spend the day relaxing on the beach. In the evening, dive deeper into the rituals of Theyyam by interacting with make-up artists and costume designers, before another captivating evening of performances.

Day 4: Explore the pristine Wayanad region, known for its remote landscapes and the intoxicating aroma of coffee.

Day 5: Visit a local spice and coffee/tea plantation, before heading to the mysterious Edakkal Caves to see ancient rock carvings that have fascinated archaeologists for years.

Day 6: Drive to Calicut to board the Jan Shatabdi Express for a train trip through the lush green landscapes of Kerala, arriving in Kochi by evening.

Day 7: Explore the sights and sounds of Kochi and enjoy an authentic regional lunch at the home of your host, who will also offer tips on Keralan cooking.

Day 8: After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight.


You can also opt to extend your trip from Kochi to the backwaters in Alleppey, where you can cruise through the serene landscape in a houseboat and relax on the pristine beaches of Kovalam.
“Postcards by Creative” is a special series that captures some of the most fascinating, spellbinding and little-known experiences on the Indian subcontinent. To learn more about this or any other experience by contact us HERE.

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