Pulikali aka Kaduva Kali (Meaning: Tiger Dance) is a recreational folk art from the state of Kerala, India. It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam, the annual harvest festival of the state. The performers adorn themselves as tigers and dance through the streets to lively music, entertaining spectators with their vibrant and dynamic movements.

On the fourth day of the Onam festival (Naalaam Onam or Chathayam), the Swaraj Round of Thrissur district comes alive with the vibrant Pulikali. Pulikali celebrates the theme of tiger hunting, with over 800 trained artists from 14 neighbouring villages in Thrissur district participating each year. Men don elaborate tiger costumes complete with head masks, jingling bells, and colourful tiger motifs painted on their bellies. To the rhythmic beat of traditional percussion instruments like Udukku and Thakil, they dance and mimic hunting movements, creating a lively spectacle. This festival is a major attraction, drawing thousands of locals and tourists alike to the city of Thrissur.

For 200 years, Pulikali has been delighting people worldwide with its vibrant colours and lively performances. Maharaja Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran, the then ruler of Cochin, is credited with introducing this street art form to Kerala. Seeking to celebrate the state's harvest festival with a unique dance that reflects the bold and spirited nature of his soldiers, he initiated Pulikali. The tradition gained widespread popularity, with even the Muslim soldiers of the British cantonment in Thrissur district joining in the festivities. To honour this legacy, Pulikali is performed annually in Thrissur district on the fourth day of Onam celebrations.

Specialty of Festival:

The specialty of Pulikali lies in its vibrant and colourful performances where artists paint themselves as tigers and dance through the streets. It's a unique form of entertainment that celebrates the spirit of Onam with lively music, energetic movements, and elaborate costumes, creating a festive atmosphere that captivates spectators.

Month of Festival:

Pulikali is typically held on the 4th day of the Onam festival which usually falls in August or September.

How to reach?

By Air : Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport, 50.8 Km away from Thrissur.

By Train :Thrissur Railway Station is the nearest railway station, 49.8 Km away from Thrissur.

By Road :Thrissur is easily accessible by road. You can choose private transportation, take a bus, or hire a cab to reach Thrissur.


1.What is Pulikali?

Pulikali aka Kaduva Kali also known as "Tiger Dance," is a colourful traditional street art form performed in the Indian state of Kerala, particularly during the Onam festival. It involves performers dressed as tigers, adorned with vibrant tiger-like body paint, and dancing to the beats of traditional music.

2.What is the history of Pulikali?

The history of Pulikali dates back to over 200 years ago, originating in the Thrissur district of Kerala, India. It was initially introduced by the Maharaja of Cochin, Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran, as a form of recreational activity for his subjects during the Onam festival. Pulikali gained popularity over time and became an integral part of the Onam celebrations, showcasing the vibrant cultural heritage of Kerala.

3.When and where is Pulikali held?

Pulikali is typically held on the 4th day of the Onam festival at the Swaraj Round in the Thrissur district of Kerala, India. The exact date varies each year but usually falls in August or September, depending on the Malayalam calendar.