Sarpam thullal, gandharvan thullal and cheettukali

In one of the comments on a previous post, Tomy wanted to know more about the art forms still performed at Pallippuram. Sarpam thullal" and "Gandharvan Thullal" are still performed with lot of festivities in some family owned shrines at Pallippuram. "Pampumthara" is one such family. They own a Sarpa kavu (Serpent Shrine in a very small forest), where their ancestors are believed to be resting in peace. Their ancestors include an Arukola (a ferocious deity normally originates from the unnatural death of an ancestor) of Velichappadu Appooppan (an ancestor who was an Oracle).

When Sarpam thullal is performed, the naga yakshis (serpent fairies) possess the girls belonging to the female lineage of the family, who have been made sit in the thullal pandal. Once the mystic songs sung by the pulluvan reaches its culmination point, the performers start moving back and forth rapidly in an uncontrolled manner. The thullal at Pampumthara is a subject that requires long narrative. I will tell the stories and supernatural events at Pampumthara in future blogs.

Another art form, performed by male members of Koottumkal family, is cheettukali or irupathiyettu kali (a martial art with playing cards. Martial it turns, when one of the players cheats and others find it out). It is performed under the Kudampuli tree behind Koottumkal Tharavadu, mostly in the afternoons.


  1. So, a more appropriate name for the game would be Cheat-Kali, it seems!

  2. A nice article by Padma Jayaraj (Professor of English language at university of Calicut and a free lance journalist) can be read here (

  3. Plz update more of this ritual. Infact Im too close to that place. I too like to hlp.. just if any help from my part is neede contact me @