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Ways to Experience Theyyam
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Reviewed 18 February 2015

We were picked up at the train station and immediately taken to a Theyyam. It was unlike any experience I have ever seen and i felt grateful and excited to see such a wonderful ritual first hand. We watched the rituals, which were amazing and had the opportunity to talk with the other people at the rituals, they were all so kind and eager to help us understand more about what we were seeing. The second Theyyam we went to was the Tiger Dance and other rituals late at night, we were there through about 2:30am and it was such an incredible experience. We were the only westerners there, definitely not a tourist attraction, this is local culture and religious rites as they have been for a very long time. We were careful to dress appropriately and be respectful observers of these amazing rituals. We had an incredible time!!!

Date of experience: January 2015
1  Thank Liz49J
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 18 February 2015

The great ritual art form. Its really interesting to watch.. Waiting for the next season to enjoy the best....

Date of experience: April 2014
1  Thank siva003
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 15 February 2015

This is NOT a tourist attraction. The best person to arrange it with is Mr Kurian from Costa Malabari guest house. He's a mine of information, and will advise you on how to approach a visit to the Theyyam in a respectful manner. The best time to go is at 4. Am apparently..we didn't do that and regretted it! We went during the day, also ok and the photos were better than at night.

Date of experience: February 2015
1  Thank Suetotnes
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 14 February 2015

This is not a tourist attraction and we had to ask the receptionist at our hotel to find out from the local papers which temple the Theyyams were visiting that day. We were the only westerners there and felt it was a privilege to see the locals taking part in such a spectacular celebration and ritual. It was an amazing opportunity to take some colourful photos although of course you have to exercise the usual sensitivity in taking photos of people engaged in their religious ceremonies.There was no charge in entering the temple or for watching.

Date of experience: February 2015
1  Thank Dr-Mustang-Sally
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 14 February 2015

As a researcher on performance I was asked to give an opinion on Theyyam, a ritual that I had the opportunity to study.
Theyyam is an ancient ritual performed by the traditional lowest castes of the once highly stratified Kelala society, but involving most of the other social groups. It combines Dravidian and Arian elements and it is integrated in Hinduism in a most peculiar way. It is old (but not 7.000 years, don’t believe everything you’re told) and it has been adjusting along the years, like any other ritual.
At present day Theyyam is going through an intense process of folklorization, even if there are many that struggle to maintain its symbolic and religious values. Mass tourism is a big danger for Theyyam, if the administrations of the temples don’t learn how to handle it and if tourists are not responsible.
So, I suggest that, if you have the opportunity, you shouldn’t miss to see a Theyyam ritual. But keep in mind that it is a religious ceremony and not an entertainment. Behave as if you were in a European cathedral: don’t smoke, don’t eat and use your photo camera discreetly, if you can’t do without it. Beware that some temples recently started to forbid photos and videos, better ask for permission.
Don’t believe in everything you are told: not all the locals have knowledge about the ritual (and many of them are the first responsible for the danger of it turning into folklore). Most of the locals don’t show much appreciation for the preparatory stages of the ritual: Thottam and Vellatam are very performative and worth to be seen. Choose small family or village temples; avoid the big festivals where, because of the crowds, you won’t see anything. Talk to the people, they are very gentle and friendly. If you’re there at lunch or dinner time, you will be offered a traditional Kerala meal: be ready for a generous amount of rice and spicy curry.
Briefly, try to be a responsible tourist. If you really cannot, you’d better go to Goa and enjoy a trance party.

Date of experience: February 2015
1  Thank Filipe P
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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