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Location: Kerala
Performed to Propitiate: The Snake Deity
Performed By: Pullavans Community

The Kalam or the Religious Drawing for Sarpam Thullal, KeralaSarpam thullal is a ritual offering, to propitiate the serpent deities, prevalent in Central Kerala.

The dance is performed by 'Pulluvans' or bards of the snake grove. They pray for the prosperity of the family and are intermediaries between the serpent deity and the elders of the 'Nair Tharavadu'.

The drawing of the 'Nagakalam' is accompanied by the playing of a unique string instrument called 'Pulluva Veena', which produces music similar to that of a percussion instrument.

Two women ('Piniyals') sit inside the 'Kalam' offering themselves to be possessed by the deities.

Moaning, and writhing with serpent-like movements, they answer the queries of the Pulluvan before finally erasing the Kalam.

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