Sarpam Thullal, a votive offering for family wealth and happiness, is performed in the courtyard of houses having snake shrines called Kavu. It is performed by the members of Pulluvar community. At first the Pulluvan draws a kolam (picture) of two or more twining snakes in the courtyard, and an oil-lit traditional lamp and one full measure (nirapara) are then put in front of the kolam. Accompanied by a procession called thalappoli
, the idol of the snake is brought out from the Kavu
and placed in the kolam.
A number of girls with their hair dressed up like the hoods of snakes took part in this procession. The poojari performs ritual offerings while the girls sit in two rows on the side of the kolam. The poojari then dances round the kolam to the rhythmic beating of para
. All the while a pulluvan and pulluvathi will be singing special devotional songs set to tune and rhythm by nanduni
(a primitive type of veena) and kudam
(a primitive form of modern khatam) respectively. As the song gathers momentum the girls go into a trance and began to dance, swaying their body slowly at first and steadily ascending in tempo. The dance finally erupts in a violent frenzy of rhythmic fervor.