India, Kannur, South

Vishnumoorthi Theyyam

The Vishnumoorthi Theyyam was the most elaborate preparation that we witnessed.  This day-time performance gave us a glimpse into each little detail that goes into the making of every single Theyyam.  We were privy to the makeup along with the several layers of clothing made from areca nut leaves that started at the chest and… Continue reading Vishnumoorthi Theyyam

India, Kannur, South

Puliyoor Kali Theyyam

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… Continue reading Puliyoor Kali Theyyam

India, Kannur, South

Kathivanur Veeran Theyyam

This Theyyam was another night-time ritual that involved a play with fire, albeit without jumping into the flames.  Dressed in the traditional colours of the performance and a headgear that enhanced the presence, this Theyyam started with cooing and talking to the stack of fire in the middle of the grove, to the steady beat… Continue reading Kathivanur Veeran Theyyam

India, Kannur, South

Gulikan Theyyam

This was the only Theyyam that did not have the traditional colours of red, orange and black, but was covered in white, almost the colour of ash.  Stripes of black lines ran through his bare body and he wore a waist adornment made of nimble palm strands.  His eyes were covered in patches of black… Continue reading Gulikan Theyyam

India, Kannur, South

Kandanar Kelan Theyyam

This was my 1st brush of the Theyyam performance in the dead of the night, which included spectacular dance rituals around and within leaping flames of fire.  This is one of the most famous and sought-after performances and for good measure.  After an elaborate dance on the legend of the deity and depicting its fury… Continue reading Kandanar Kelan Theyyam

India, Kannur, South

Theyyams: A Dance Divine

The December air is sticky with perspiration, as mosquitoes buzz around and fly into our faces, like little drunks who have lost the way, in the thick vegetation on either side of the narrow mud road we are traversing on.  A numb thumping of the drums in the distance breaks through the 2 a.m. darkness… Continue reading Theyyams: A Dance Divine

India, Rann of Kutch, West

The White Desert: Great Rann of Kutch

I remember reading about the term “mirage” as a child in school and always imagined it to be a magical thing.  As our bus trudged on the soft part-sand-part-mud path, outside the window a thin white line started appearing on the horizon.  The nearer we approached the brighter and broader the line became.  Settlements on… Continue reading The White Desert: Great Rann of Kutch

East, India, Kolkata

Kolkata Chronicles

I have called this city a partial home, where most of my vacation days were spent as a child.  Visiting here after two decades brought back memories that I wanted to capture before they were lost to time, as the place undergoes drastic changes yet retains the essence of what my childhood felt like.

India, Rann of Kutch, Slice of Life, West

Faces of Kutch

Against the stark barrenness of the white desert, there live numerous colourful faces and each has a story to tell.  Here are some of them who walked a while with me on this journey and left an impression on my soul, through theirs. The Tanpura Singer Deva Bhai sat under a shaded canopy, surrounded by… Continue reading Faces of Kutch

Asia, International, Kyrgyzstan

The Munushkors of Issyk-Köl

Standing on a semi-dusty lane, outside the gates, in a circle, we listen to Ruslan as he invites us to his country, his home, and how happy he is to have us here.  This is one theme you always come across in Kyrgyzstan – the love for the country first and everything else follows smoothly. … Continue reading The Munushkors of Issyk-Köl