Details shared by Ramakrishnan A, Palakkad
Velakali is a colorful and traditional martial dance performed by the Nair community of Kerala in Ambalappuzha Temples in Alappuzha. Velakali was originated in Ambalappuzha and has been still performed during the 10-day annual festival in Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple. This martial dance form is performed under the guidance of Mathoor Panicker, who is the hereditary master of this art and the minister of the Ambalappuzha Royal Family. Wearing colorful head gear and traditional bright dresses of medieval Nair warriors, and wielding shields and swords, the artists perform spectacular dances with vigorous steps to the rhythm of Panchavadyam orchestra which uses the instruments maddalam, cymbals, thakil, kombu and kuzhal. Some people believe that this dance depicts the battle between Pandavas and Kauravas, whereas some others refer it to historical battles.
Velakali is the main event in the annual festival of Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple that is celebrated for 10 days.
This dance form is performed under the guidance of Mathoor Panicker, who is the hereditary master of this art and the minister of the Ambalppuzha Royal Family. Continuous practice and high dedication is necessary to perform this dance. The dance has a close resemblance with the martial art Kalarippayattu.
Though originated in the Nair community, the dance is now being performed by artists from the other Hindu sects also.