When personifying the goddesses as Theyyams, it is still the menfolk that perform the ritualistic dance. They invoke the Divine Feminine energies and dress as the goddesses to bring the stories to life. This mid-day performance was special as we had a chance to witness the makeup and dressing up of the Theyyam. The face painting depicted a tiger leaping from the temples and its paws stretching up to the cheeks of the Theyyam.
The intricacies of make-up, accessories and garments that go on behind each Theyyam are good indications of which deity is being invoked. One only needs to pay attention and talk around to know the details. This Theyyam when held their ground, with over 5 kilograms of headgear, did summersaults and 180-degree head bends that mesmerised the crowd.
Legend/Story: The story of Puliyoor Kali is that she is the daughter of Pulikandan and Pullikarimkali, the tiger forms that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi took while staying in the forest of Thulavanam. There they gave birth to six tiger cubs, namely Kandapuli, Marapuli, Pulimaruthan, Kaalauli, Puliyoor Kannan and Puliyoor Kali. After their birth, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati blessed the tiger cubs and left for Mount Kailasa.