Thiruvananthapuram: While women in Kerala kept to their traditional role of cooking up a sumptuous lunch for the annual festival of Onam last week, they also tried their hand at a hitherto unexplored world for women — the ‘Pulikali’, or dance of the leopards.
Pulikali is a traditional dance form that is popular in all parts of the state, where men with pot bellies painted up like leopards move to drum beats.
The dance form is most popular in Thrissur, the cultural capital of the state.
This year, the street performance by the ‘leopards’ painted in dark colours featured a few women who proved that the popular performance could be done by women with equal energy and agility.
The women who took the streets by storm when they broke into the male bastion of Pulikali included N.A. Vinaya, an additional sub inspector at the Kerala Police Academy, Divya Divakaran, a secondary schoolteacher, and fashion designer E. Sakeena.
Their debut in Pulikali was facilitated by an organisation called the Women’s Integration and Growth through Sports.
The organisers are hoping that more women will don leopards’ clothes and participate in the Pulikali in the coming years.
Local media reports said there was an unprecedented turnout of women to watch the Pulikali this year owing to the presence of women ‘leopards’ dancing alongside men folk.