#GS1 #Art & Culture 

Pulikkali is an inevitable part of Onam Celebrations in Thrissur. The hallmark street pageant of the cultural capital will bring the curtains down for the Onam celebrations. Even amidst the lockdown and restrictions of COVID-19 pandemic, tigers will be reaching homes with their feral dance steps. But this time online - for one hour from 3.30 p.m. on the fourth Onam Day. 

About Pulikkali 

  • Pulikali (Tiger Dance) is one among the folk art forms of Kerala. The term Pulikkali literally means ‘play of the tigers’. Pulikali is also known as 
  • The art is performed on the fourth day of Onam. Performers are painted like tigers with stripes of yellow, red and black and dance to the rhythm of traditional percussion instruments such as thakil, udukku and chenda and wear leopard or tiger masks. 
  • A particular combination of Tempra Powder and varnish or enamel is used to make the paint and is said to be extremely hard to remove. 
  • The main theme of this folk art is tiger hunting with participants playing the role of tiger and hunter. 
  • Pulikkali groups are called as ‘sangams’. 
  • The art form is performed all over Kerala during Onam with special significance in Palakkad and Thrissur districts. 


  • The origin of Pulikali dates back to over 200 years, when the King Ramavarma is said to have introduced the folk art during Muharram. 
  • Mohemeddan soldiers of the British army stationed in Thrissur celebrate Muharram and perform the art form decked as tigers with peculiar steps resembling the tiger, then known as ‘Pulikkettikali’. 
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