India, varkala

Janardanaswamy Temple Festival, Varkala

May 20, 2016

The colours, the smells, the sounds, the devotion.  The Janardanaswamy temple festival was ten solid days of kick you in the face, stick incense up your nose and spit on the floor merriment.


We made several visits during the day and in the evening.  Most of the time it was impossible to know exactly what was happening, but the energy was always there.  Tom’s video contains some of the highlights:



It was a real privilege to be able to watch so many types of dancing and singing in such an authentic setting.  This wasn’t for the tourists.  This was real life and it was incredible.


One type of traditional classical Indian dancing that played a big part in the festival was the Kathakali.  Dancers prepare for their performance with a minimum of 3 hours worth of make-up application.  Performers wear vibrant and heavy costumes.


make up preparation


The style of dance involves elaborate hand and facial gestures and movement along to the musicians and singers who perform throughout.


This is something we had seen before in a far more touristic setting in Munnar.  This time, the Kathakali was a full on all night performance for the locals.  Although we didn’t stay for the whole performance (it started at about 11.30pm) we were told that it would last at least 5 hours and people would take naps during the performance.


For a good half an hour or so at the start of the performance, the dancer performed behind a screen

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