Video of Tolpavakoothu or leather puppet play, an ancient art form of Kerala. This form of leather puppetry is popular in PALAKKAD DISTRICT
A PUPPET SHOW WITH A DIFFERENCE
THOL PAVA KOOTHU is an ancient form of art in Kerala Temples (THOL = Leather; PAVA = PUPPET or DOLL; KOOTHU = SHOW)
This show is conducted as a ritual in the Bhagavathy temples of Malabar for centuries. This play with shadows remind of the old black and white films.
Animal leather is cleaned, dried, flat and cut in the shape of story characters, Human, Bovine or Aquatic. Being a shadow play, suitable holes are made for light effect from behind.
Stories from Hindu Epic like Ramayana are played in this. According to Hindu mythology this show was designed by Lord Shiva to please godess Badrakali. The latter was engaged in a battle with demon Darika during the time of RAMA RAVANA battle and felt sorry for not being able to witness the great battle. Lord Shiva redressed her grievance by showing the Rama-Ravana battle through THOL PAVA KOOTHU.
A white cloth about 20 feet long is fixed tightly without wrinkles as the screen. Below this a black cloth about 40 feet is also fitted tightly. This is done in special stage made for the show called KOOTHU MADAM. Specific dimensions are there for all these.