Thiruvathirakkali or Kaikottikkali is a popular dance form of the women folk of Kerala
. The dance is performed on festivals like Onam
, by eight to ten girls, forming a circle, singing and dancing to the rhythm of clapping hands. Simplicity and lyrical grace are characteristics of this dance. Thiruvathirakkali has a semi-religious significance, in that it is a ritual performed to ensure a happy and harmonious marital life.
The dancers wear the typical dress of Kerala (Mundu and Veshti) with their hair adorned with jasmine flowers. This dance form has an amazing charm and instils both erotic and devotional sentiments. Moving in a circle around a lighted lamp, clock wise and anti-clock wise, the dancers bend sideways also for clapping their hands together in beautiful gestures. The songs, tunes, and rhythm of the dance are closely associated with the social life and natural beauty of Kerala.
Kerala Kalamandalam is one of the institutions which offers training in Kaikottikkali, with the primary aim of preserving the rare traits of this beautiful dance.