« Hundreds of people dressed up as tigers took to the streets to celebrate the Pulikali cultural folk festival in Kerala’s Thrissur, on Friday.
Footage shows performers meticulously painting their bodies to resemble tigers, adorned with vivid yellow, red, and black stripes. They dance in sync with the beats of traditional percussion instruments, while a captivated audience watches their vibrant parade.
« I came here around 7 am and started doing my makeup. We will start our procession at 3.30 pm, and the event goes on till 10 pm or 11 pm, » said Sethuraman, a performer.
Pulikali, derived from Malayalam where « puli » means tiger, and « kali » means play, has its roots in history, stretching over 200 years ago when the then-king of Kochi, Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran, introduced this festival. He aimed to celebrate Onam with a dance that embodied the fierce and masculine spirit of the warriors.
The tiger dance is a central part of the Onam festival, a harvest celebration that usually takes place during the Hindu month of Onam, falling in either August or September.
Kerala’s tiger festival is renowned as one of the most famous, featuring over 800 participants dressed as tigers. This event draws thousands of spectators every year. »