Devarattam is one of the important folk dances of
Tamil Nadu, which is still preserved by the descendants
of Veerapandiya Kattabomman dynasty at Kondangipatti in
Madurai District. Devarattam was
actually performed once a year near the temple and it was restricted to
that community alone. Folkfore research scholars have found that
Devarattam is a combination of ancient muntherkuravai and pintherkuravai.
Devarattam was performed in front the chariot on the victorious return of the King and his army from battlefield. At certain times king and his marshals also would dance on the chariot deck. The soldiers and female dancers used to form lines and dance behind the chariot.
Dancing In Present Days
But nowadays no songs are sung but people dance to the beat of "Urumi Melam", "Thappu Melam" and sometimes, a long flute. The dancers hold a piece of cloth or hankerchief in each hand and swing them as they dance. The person who leads the dance wears false beard and a mask decorated with shells to look like teeth. He dances the first step, which others follow.