Kuruthi Amma Theyyam

Theyyam

Kuruthi Amma
Kuruthi Amma

Last Friday Manoj called me to know whether I was interested to photograph a Theyyam performance on Saturday. Even though it was working day, my family did not want to miss this unique opportunity. So in the morning we went to Chithari 5 km from Kanhangad, Kasaragod district, north Kerala where this Theyyam was held. We reached the venue at at around 11AM. Theyyam for that day had already started. We were greeted by a very enthusiastic crowd of people who welcomed us photographing the Theyyam.

Kuruthi Amma
Kuruthi Amma
Kuruthi Amma Theyyam
Kuruthi Amma Theyyam

I used both Canon EOS 5D mark II with X Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L IS USM and Canon EOS 7D with Canon EF 300mm f/4.0 L IS USM to photograph this Theyyam. I was using the new Dual Harness from OP/TECH which allowed me the flexibility of using both cameras simultaneously.

Kuruthi Amma Closeup
Kuruthi Amma Closeup
Face painting
Face painting
Facial painting
Facial painting
For sacrifice
For sacrifice

The Theyyam we were watching was of Kuruthi Amma and Kappalathi Amma. Both were female forms and there was not much elaborate costume or facial makeup that you see in other Theyyam dance forms. What was interesting is that the Kuruthi Amma was speaking more of Tulu mixed in Malayalam. This theyya may be from our Tulunadu. As I am ignorant of the Theyyam I do not want to hypothesize things I don’t know. But Mangalore is getting flooded with Koragajja temples at every road junction, it might be interesting to find the relation of Mangalore’s Koragajja with Chithari’s Kuruthi Ammma.

Kuruthi Amma Closeup
Kuruthi Amma Closeup
Kuruthi Amma Closeup
Kuruthi Amma Closeup
Kuruthi Amma Closeup
Kuruthi Amma Closeup

I also found the rituals they were performing were similar to our Bhuta Kola. So lot of similarity exists, but facial paint which is predominantly reddish as compared to predominantly yellow color of our Bhuta Kola. I was also able to photograph the sacrifice of the hen to the Theyya. What was most interesting is that the devotee were 99% women with hardly any men folk around. All came at the end of the performance to recive blessing from the Theyya.

Blessing the Sacrifice
Blessing the Sacrifice
Sacrificial Chicken
Sacrificial Chicken
Kappalathi Amma in Trance
Kappalathi Amma in Trance
Kappalathi Amma in Trance
Kappalathi Amma in Trance
Kappalathi Amma After Sacrifice
Kappalathi Amma After Sacrifice

What was more interesting for me was the nearby back water. In between two Theyyams I visited this backwater which was full of jellyfish details of which I will post in my next blog..

EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 6 March, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 106mm | ISO : 200 | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.

4 thoughts on “Theyyam

  1. ತಲೆಕಟ್ಟಿನ ಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮ, ಮುಖಬಣ್ಣ ಬಿಂಬಿಸುವ ಭಯ, ತೆಯ್ಯಂನ ಕೊರ್ಗಜ್ಜ ಸಂಬಂಧ ಅಂದಾಜು ಬಿಟ್ಟಿರಿ, ಇರಲಿ. ಇನ್ನು ಕ್ಯಾಮರಾ, ಭೂತಗಾಜು (ಯವ), ಕಿಂಡಿಯ ಹೊಂದಾಣಿಕೆಗಳೆಲ್ಲ ನೀವು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೂ ಗ್ರಹಿಸದ, ಗ್ರಹಿಸಿದರೂ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸದ, ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಿದರೂ ನಕಲೀಸ್ಯಾಮದತನದ ಮಿತಿಮೀರದ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಹೇಳುವ ತಾಳ್ಮೆ ತೋರಿದ್ದೀರಿ – ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು. ಆದರೆ ದೇವ ಮೂರ್ತಿಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಶಿವರಾಮ ಕಾರಂತರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅವರಣ್ಣ ವಾಸುದೇವ ಕಾರಂತ ಏನು ಹೇಳಿದರು ಗೊತ್ತಾ? “ಇಷ್ತೆಲ್ಲಾ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾದದ್ದು ಅದ್ರ ಹಿಂದೊಂದು ದೈವೀ ಶಕ್ತಿ ಉಂಟೆಂದು ಒಂದು ಸಾಲು ಬರೆದ್ರೆ ಇವನ ಗಂಟೇನು ಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ?”
    ಅಶೋಕವರ್ಧನ ಜಿ.ಎನ್

  2. ಪ್ರಿಯ ಅಶೋಕವರ್ಧನರೇ,

    ನಿಮ್ಮ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಕೃತಜ್ನತೆಗಳು. ತೆಯ್ಯಂನ ಹಿಂದೆ ದೈವೀ ಶಕ್ತಿ ಇತ್ತೋ ಇಲ್ಲವೋ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಲಾರೆ. ನಂಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ಲದ ವಿಷಯದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಒಂದು ಸಾಲು ಬರೆದರೂ ಗಂಟು ಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂಬಂತಾ ನಂಬಿಕೆ ನನ್ನದು. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ಬರೆಯಲಿಲ್ಲ.

    ಇಂತಿ

    ಕೃಷ್ಣಮೋಹನ

  3. Hello Krishi,

    yes I have reached Germany savely, but it was still winter, bloody cold and even snowfall,
    so that I immediately caught a cold, which I still have. Now spring is slowly coming up and t is getting warmer.
    About your Theyyam photographs, like always – the close ups are the best.
    Theyyam and Butha Kola definitely are very closely related and in the border area between
    Tulunadu and Kasaragod district there might even be some “mixed forms”.
    As you have pointed out in your text and proved by my experience both Theyyams you`ve seen have a quite simple facial makeup, except the basic color more like the
    buthas than the much more elaborate facepainting I have seen on most Theyyams.

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