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Hope sprouts for artists in Kerala as temple festivities make a comeback post lockdown struggle

However, as life slowly returns to normal after the government relaxed the lockdown norms, the pomp and glory of festivals too are returning to temples.

Published: 15th November 2021 02:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2021 02:29 AM   |  A+A-

Elephant parade held at Thuravoor temple as part of the Deepavali festival

Elephant parade held at Thuravoor temple as part of the Deepavali festival

Express News Service

KOCHI:  It is time to cheer for performing artists. With the government putting cultural programmes and religious festivities on hold in view of the Covid situation, the artists had a tough time over the past two years. And many resorted to working as agricultural labourers and construction workers to sustain themselves and their families.

However, as life slowly returns to normal after the government relaxed the lockdown norms, the pomp and glory of festivals too are returning to temples. In the first week of November, the Thuravoor temple in Alappuzha district organised a four-day festival featuring kathakali, panchavadyam and music concerts.

From December 1 to 8, the Poornathrayeesa temple at Tripunithura in Ernakulam district will be celebrating vrischikotsavam. Kathakali, music concert, panchavadyam and other traditional art forms are set to be performed there. The temple will be parading 45 elephants too, said temple advisory committee secretary Krishnakumar.

In tune with the changing situation, major drama troupes across the state have started rehearsal camps. Though they are yet to get bookings, they are hopeful of a good festival season.  In north Kerala, festival cheer has returned to temples with the theyyam season dawning.

“Theyyam performances have started in certain temples like Muchilottukavu. Muthappan Vellattam has been performed in some places. Many temples are not willing to conduct the festival due to financial constraints. The times have been hard for us for the past two years. As all cultural activities stopped, we were reduced to penury. I have received an attachment notice from the bank for a Rs 1-lakh loan taken two years ago,” said Shaiju Panikker, a theyyam artist at Morazha in Kannur.

The return of the festivities is a big relief, said percussion artist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar. “There was a percussion ensemble at Guruvayur on the occasion of Sri Krishna Jayanti. Around 50 artists participated in the panchavadyam performance at the Malliyoor temple. Last week, a team of 100 artists performed at the Thuravoor temple. This has instilled hope among the artists,” he said.

The theatre groups are waiting eagerly for the beginning of the festival season, said theatre artist Radhan Kannapuram. “The Sangeetha Nataka Akademi had organised a drama festival recently which was the only opportunity for public performance,” he said.

Another theatre artist, A R Ratheesan, said the government has provided Rs 2 lakh each to 12 drama troupes. “That has helped the artists revive activities. We hope there will be more relaxation by the time the festival season begins,” he said.  Meanwhile, Travancore Devaswom Board president N Vasu said temples have been permitted to include art performances in festivals, adhering to the Covid protocol.



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