Lying between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, on the northern part of Kerala, the region of Malabar comprises of the geographical area north of river Bharathapuzha. It includes parts of Thrissur district, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur, and Kasaragod. Known for its spices, coir and coconuts, Malabar has attracted traders from across the world for centuries.
Malabar has a rather eclectic cultural and social mix; apart from having a gorgeous landscape that people like to traverse even today. You cannot have explored the place without indulging in the trademark Malabar Cuisine, or having experienced the art forms that seem to have adopted an unheard mysticism of their own. Especially Theyyam, which is a ritual dance form prevalent in the region, glorifying goddess Kali. Themes such as the triumph of the goddess over the demon Daruka and other evil characters revolve around it. Always performed by men, they also enact female roles wearing the most exotic make up and colourful costumes. This art form has 400 styles; but the most spectacular ones are those of Raktha Chamundi, Kari Chamundi, Muchilottu Bhagavathi, Wayanadu Kulaveni, Gulikan and Pottan. This art form is performed in front of shrines, stage or curtains, by persons belonging to the Vannan, Malayan and other related castes.
Thudangal (the beginning) and Thottam (the invocation) are the introductory rituals of this art form and you must keep an eye out for the elaborate head-gear and other spectacular ornamentations. You can catch a show between the months of December and April at various places such as Karivalloor, Nileswaram, Kurumathoor, Parassini, Cherukunnu, Ezhom and Kunnathoorpadi in north Malabar.
The scenic hill country is home to some of the most gorgeous mosques and temples, that instantly transports you back in history. The land is also known for its spectacular festivals like Onam. The land of great poets and writers, political and religious leaders, Malabar has truly carved a unique place of its own in the history of Kerala.