The Northern Ballads or the Vadakkan Pattukal relate the exploits of valiant men and women of two clans, namely, Puthooram and Manikkoth. Unniyarcha, Aromal Chekavar and Aromalunni are the prominent figures of the former, and
Thacholi Othenan figures in the latter. Set against a feudal and medieval background, the stories celebrate the valour and fencing skills of the renowned characters. The northern ballads exemplify the heights of folk-poetry. These ballads are sometimes associated with deities.
Almost all these ballads show strong connections with Kalari Payattu. Puranic stories and love also form the themes of Vadakkan Pattukal, while some also have themes like social inequality and injustice.