In Kerala at Kannur this is Theyyam Time

They yam is an art form practiced only in Kerala and that too in a select part of its Northern Districts of Kannur, Kasragode and Calicut.


It is an ancient dance form and a precursor to the more stylised and less vigorous Kathakali. Steeped in ancient history it is a wonderful mix of the ethnographic influences in the state of Kerala. The Theyyam performances are held in clan groups and all the members get their resources together and have it conducted year after year within a dwindling availibilty of money and the exaggerated moral responsibility of keeping the traditions alive for their ancestors and their family names.


Ultimately it is an economic issue whether this great dance form will survive or not.. The Theyyam dances are performed by distinct caste and communities and it is they who will over a period of time decide whether they would continue to perform the dances or better opportunities and employment will take them elsewhere. The Theyyam celebrations are expensive affairs and it is a tough job for the vast majority of the clans to keep it going.


It is a rare privilege to see this in one's lifetime. A few more years and who knows whether it survives or not.



This was shot in 2008 at Kottayampovil which is about 11-12 kms from the town of Thalassery on the NH 17 that runs along the coast. This photograph was lying ready but unublished. So better late then never as this is the season for Thyyam in Kerala.


Dance On !!









Taken on January 26, 2008 at 11.56am IST

Posted to Flickr December 14, 2010 at 3.19PM IST

Exif data

Camera Nikon D70

Exposure 0.004 sec (1/250)

Aperture f/5.6

Focal Length 185 mm

ISO Speed 200

Exposure Bias 0 EV

Flash No Flash


DSC_0020 from nef 2 exp LATEST sharp red leser br and fce sharp

siberfi, coolkarni and 95 more people faved this
  • Rituparna Das 4y

    stunning! gotta see this dance form!
  • Rishika Palvankar 4y

    Lovely vibrant colours!
  • urtaur 4y

    just genial
  • indigo_girl 4y

    theres a quote from Diana Vreeland ( I think) it goes something like this ,

    "Pink is the navy blue of India"

    the colours here are amazing,
    .I wonder how long it takes to put all this together,

    What an amazing country you lie in Anoop
  • Arlete M 4y

    Interesting information and great picture, Anoop.
    Hope the dance survives!
  • Jayaprakash R 4y

    Excellent shot!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Theyyam suvives only because it is part of the faith..Devotees see theyyam as God.
  • Shilpa` 4y

    Amazing image!
  • kimdokhac 4y

    great colors ! merry Xmas and Happy new year to you ! i hope you will make wonderful shots of India ! keep photographing you have a sense of composition and the colors !
  • sami kuosmanen 4y

    good job
  • Steve Santore 4y

    To think this is an actual person so intricately decorated... This is larger than life! I hope they manage to preserve this tradition.
  • Jim Ward (Out Shooting) 4y

    Beautiful exotic India. This is a pleasure to view.
  • dee_gee 4y

    amazing capture! Love the details and sharpness!
  • Nuragic Man~A bit busy 4y

    This beautiful and interesting image was seen in ***Bishops and Pawns Open Group.
  • H Matthew Howarth 4y

    Incredible rich colour and a perfect exposure. Lovely detail as always.
  • Laure 4y

    Perfect portrait! Deep and vibrant colors... A fav' again!
  • Subasri Pillai 4y

    Love this one !!!
  • knightinz 4y

    Love the details ...
  • Matt Farias 4y

    Very interesting story behind this image. I do hope that this dance can continue for many years to come. You did a wonderful job of capturing the light and colors.
  • Chris Hamilton 3y

    Beautiful colours and capture.
  • Mojumbo22 (Matt Pirecki) 3y

    Incredible traditional outfit and makeup.
97 faves
Taken on January 26, 2008
  • 185.0 mm f/5.6
  • ƒ/5.6
  • 185.0 mm
  • 1/250
  • 200
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
  • Show EXIF
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This photo is in 2 galleries

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