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Kalam is a traditional powder drawing made on the floor in relation to temple rituals in Kerala. Goddess Kali, Vettakkorumakan and Lord Ayyappa, in various emotional states, are the usual figures of a Kalam. Erasure of the Kalam at the end of the worship is part of the ritual. Kalam worship is usually to the accompaniment of folksongs and musical instruments such as ilathalam, kombu, kuzhal and chenda. The folksongs are generally never written down, and are handed down from one generation to another orally.

The traditional art form of making a Kalam, called Kalamezhuthu, is bound by strict rules regarding what colors to be used on a particular part of the body, what to draw first and so on. Rice powder, burnt husk, spices, powdered leaves and lime are used to make the colors. Paddy is also used.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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