India | Kerala


Pavakathakali is a traditional glove puppetry show native to Kerala. This art form is performed mostly in the rural areas. This tradition can be traced back to almost 4 centuries.

The stories, derived from the great epic Mahabharata, are presented in the form of a play. Narration style is similar to that found in Kathakali, the famous dance-theatre art-form.

The puppets made of wood, exhibit detailed carvings. They are up to two feet in height, painted in various shades and adorned with gilded tin, transparent corals and peacock feathers. The puppeteer sits on an elevated platform holding the puppets and giving the required movements. The performance is accompanied by music produced using traditional instruments like Chenda and conch shells. The show, performed during the evening, lasts for about an hour or two. The necessary illumination is provided by a brass oil-lamp.

The puppeteers, who are great devotees of Lord Muruga, earn their livelihood mainly by performing pujas.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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