Ritual Art Garudan Thookam- Kerala


Last Updated on November 24, 2022 by Swadesi

Garudan Thookam

From the height of the troposphere, the state Kerala seems greenery and the plantation speaks about their humanity. The Land of Coconuts is bordered with mountains, hills and mostly the water bodies.

The state is located in the South western region of India covered by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Trivandrum is known as the capital city of Kerala. Malayalam has been chosen as the mother tongue of every Kerala people.

This state is mostly visited or can say the most popular destination among all the other states of India because of the beaches.

God’s Own Country is famous for its Black Pepper and commonly known as the Spice Garden of India. This region of India is not only known for its spices but also for its culture, tradition, arts and music. The Kerala people have transported their tradition and culture with respect and sincerity from one generation to another.

Some of the dance forms that popularize Kerala as a state are- Kathakali, Mohini Aatam. Kerala is also populated by millions of people from different parts of the world because of its natural beauty and beaches. Some of the most popular tourist spots that one should not miss visiting Kerala- Munnar, Kovalam, Kumarakom, and Alappae. 

Garudan Thookam
Garudan Thookam

Kerala is a state where the mythology talks more than any other subject. Either it’s a festival or dance celebration, everything has a romantic or gothic or thrilling or social stories that they convey through this form of method.

One of such ritual is Garudan Thookam, also known as Eagle Hanging. This form of dance art is performed popularly in the Central Tamil Nadu district in South India. In this ceremony the Garudas taken colorfully in procession on bullock carts, boats or hand pulled crafts.; but nowadays they are carried in vans or cars.

The Goddess Kali, the God of Death, Time, and Doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but also considered a strong motherly figure and symbolism. She is the Shakti. According to history, after killing Darika, Kali seems to be insatiable and thirsty.

At this time Vishnu sent Garuda to Kali to quench the thirst.  A dancing and bleeding Garuda was taken to Kali. After consuming his blood Kali was pacified. The ritual was celebrated based on this belief. This is called Eagle Hanging because the devotees are hung from a shaft hook attached to their skin on his back.

The blood they shed is then taken around thrice around the Kali temple by the devotees.

Garudan Thookam Photo

Garudan Thookam

Detailly, there are famous places where Garudan Thookam is performed. Elamkavu Devi Temple at Vadayar in Vaikkom taluk of Kottayam district. During the Aswathi, Bharani days of Meenam Month 40-50 Garudan in the Thooka Chadus decorated and floated in thoni vallams travel behind the Attuvela.

In the Pazhavedu temple at Alappuzha district, this celebration can be observed. The ritual is also performed in Pallikkalkavu Bhagavathi temple on Makara Bharani Day, Kottekkavu Bhagavathy temple on Meenabharani, Araynkavu Devi temple Ernakulam district on pooram.

Almost hundreds of temples organize this ritual in the name of Kali to solve the problems of the society and the lives of people.

Kerala is a destination for many people because of their myth, ethics and stories that hides multiple other stories to tell and share. Different scholars and theologists come to study such an art form. Speaking about the topic, Garudan Thookam is such a cultural study that is never-ending.

Its beauty and authenticity attract people and curiosities the common people to perform and participate in this deadly dance form, just in order to satisfy the Goddess Kali.   


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