Theyyam is a mesmerizing ritual dance form found in northern Kerala, particularly in Kannur. It's a vibrant fusion of dance, music, and religious reverence, showcasing the region's rich cultural heritage. More than 400 distinct types of Theyyam exist in Kerala, each with its own unique characteristics. Beyond being an art form, Theyyam is a form of worship where artists embody the spirits of deities, ancestors, and heroes. Often referred to as 'Kaliyattam,' Theyyam is mainly performed as a means to honour and worship Goddess Kali. The word "Theyyam" literally translates to "God." Therefore, the Theyyam Festival is regarded as the "Dance of the Gods".

Theyyam performances typically occur in front of village shrines, known as 'Kavu,' or in the courtyards of ancestral houses, called 'Tharavadu.' The performance begins with Vellattam or Thottam, which is a song narrating the honoured deity's story. Following this, the artist dons elaborate makeup and colourful costumes, a major highlight of the Theyyam Festival, taking at least 4 hours to complete. The costumes and makeup are intricate, featuring grand headpieces, detailed face painting, and vibrant attire. This ritual dance form, often performed by men, symbolically transfers the deity's spirit to the artist when they embody Theyyam. The Theyyam then enters the shrine and sits before it, wearing the sacred headdress. The dance movements are powerful and captivating, accompanied by traditional instruments like Chenda, Elathalam, and Kurumkuzhal. Considered divine until the headdress is removed, the performer, known as 'Theyyam,' offers blessings and solutions to devotees' problems. It's a dramatic reflection of Kerala's cultural ethos, revered for its artistic, social, and religious significance.

Specialty of Festival:

Theyyam is a revered ritualistic dance form in Kerala that embodies ancient traditions, rituals, and customs dating back thousands of years. People regard Theyyam as a direct connection to the divine, seeking blessings from it accordingly.

Month of Festival:

The Theyyam Festival usually takes place from October to May, with November to December being the peak season.

How to reach?

By Air : Kannur International Airport is the nearest airport, 25.1 Km away from Kannur.

By Train :Kannur Railway Station is the nearest railway station, just 900 m away from Kannur city.

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


1.Which district in Kerala is known as the Land of Theyyam?

Kannur district of Kerala is known as the Land of Theyyam.

2.Which are the popular temples in Kerala where you can experience Theyyam performances?

Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple in Kannur, Muchilot Bhagavathi Temple, Kannur; Pulimuthappan Kavu, Kannur; Sree Mavilaakkavu Temple, Kannur; Mallom Kollom Temple, Kasaragod; Kuttikkol Thampuratti Bhagavathy Temple, Kasaragod; Perumthitta, Kasaragod; Kanathoor Nalvar Bhoothasthanam, Kasaragod; etc. are the popular temples in Kerala where you can experience Theyyam performances.

3.What are the various types of Theyyam?

There are 456 types of Theyyam. Among them, Sree Muthappan Theyyam, Vishnumoorthi Theyyam, Guligan Theyyam, Chamundi Theyyam, Padikuttiyamma, Muthappan Antithira, Puthiya Bhagavathi, Perumkaliyattam, Agni Kandakarnan, Manakkott Amma, Kuttichathan, etc. are the most famous ones.

4.Where is the Theyyam performance held?

Theyyam is usually performed in sacred spaces like shrines, temples, groves, and ancestral homes, especially in the North Malabar regions of Kerala like Kannur and Kasaragod.