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A Christian family that has been decorating Thrissur Pooram elephants for 164 years!

For Jose, Johnson and Davis of Kuthokkaran family, life has always been closely linked with the festivals and their tryst with pooram began four generations ago

Published: 10th May 2019 05:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2019 04:54 PM   |  A+A-

Jose, Johnson and Davis, Thrissur pooram

Jose, Johnson and Davis of Kuthokkaran family at the workshop of Thiruvambady Devaswom in Thrissur | Express

Express News Service

THRISSUR: For over a century-and-a-half, the Kuthokkarans - who are Christians by birth - have been adorning the elephants of Thrissur Pooram by making ‘nettipattam’ (caparison) used for decorating the elephants during the ‘kudamattom’ ceremony.

Religion has never been a hindrance to the three brothers of the Kuthokkaran family whose association with the pooram dates back 164 years. For Jose, Johnson and Davis of Kuthokkaran family in Cherpu, life has always been closely linked with the festivals in the state and their tryst with the pooram began four generations ago.

Our family got into the business of plating the copper balls on the nettipattams during the British era here. It was Keerangattu Sankaran Namboothiri who asked our ancestors to gold plate the nettipatam used for decorating the elephants,” said Davis.

“It was the beginning of a long association. And this is the fourth generation that still carries the legacy of our fathers. Though all sorts of craft underwent or witnessed sweeping changes down the generations, the craft of making nettipattam is one vocation which has withstood the test the time. There have not been many innovations in this field and there is no big difference between the nettipattams I had seen in my childhood and those used now,” he says.

There are three types of nettipattam - Chooralpoli, Nagapadam and Vandodu. They vary with the designs added on them as the name suggests. The elephant carrying the idol will be adorned with the Chooralpoli nettipattam which has designs of canes around the balls, while the elephants flanking the idol carrying elephant will be adorned with the Nagapadam nettipattam which has the designs of serpent around the balls on the nettipattam. Other elephants will wear Vandodu nettipatam.

“We used to gold-plate the balls to be stitched onto to a mat like cloth upon which hundreds of gold-plated copper balls will be stitched to create a ‘nettipattam’. Each nettipattam costs around `1 lakh and 15 such nettipattams have been made for Thiruvambady contingent of Thrissur Pooram this year and the final touches are being given now. The festival season is our main source of income and once the season is over, our work will be limited to doing  interior decoration for houses,” he said.

Cheating Day to be observed on Sunday

Thrissur: The Kerala Festival Coordination Committee on Thursday said it would observe May 12 as Cheating Day in protest against the authorities who try to sabotage festivals across the state.  The committee also sought the intervention of the state government in the matters that affect the smooth conduct of the festivals across the state.

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