Wayanad and the Theyyam experience

Trip Start Jan 14, 2007
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Trip End Mar 15, 2007


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Flag of India  ,
Saturday, February 10, 2007

Train shooshoo train again,to Calicut further north on the coast with a stop at the national school of Kathakali,where there're only girls practicing their hands gestures for the classical indian dance.They already look graceful without trying too hard.
I finally make it to Calicut which is a big stronghold for the gulf-Dubai connection as thousands of keralese or indian workers rush there as it's their new Eldorado,for work and cash.First time I decide to stay in the station dormitory cause I really don'feel like looking for a room after a slow ride in ordinary second class.I had instincts when I learn from a Russian guy who expect to stay at least a month,that cheaper hotels are booked by these same people on the move to the Emirates.Glad to hear that and his plan to build a boat(a Viking little boat,only as he learnt from some swedes) with a cheap wood he could find here.He has to confront the national administration and organisations which might take some time before he could start...So he knows he will certainly spend a lot of time in this dorm and listen to trains coming...He 's quite passionnate ,even kind of obsessed by his project and will stick to his aim.He assumes the local fishermen not to know how to really sail.He reminds me more of Raputin than of Corto Maltese with his wide eyes open and hirsute hair.He starts to make coffee at 11 pm,and I go to bed.
Next I catch an early bus to the Wayanad ,to Kalpetta,on a plateau inland where Temperatures are more decent and the scenery changes drastically;no more coconut trees,mangrove and waves.For few days I enjoy the forest ,monkeys ,elephants in the wild and meet locals .No tourist in sight this time and for nearly two weeks.Some teenagers "smuggle"me inside wildlife sanctuary when one of the guard snob me up and wants to charge over reason.This not Kenya I thought ,no jeep safari for only me!!
After a little adventure inside we go back on the road to the next village and catch a bus to "Sultan battery" and then back to my hotel.
Afterwards I drift back on the coast(Kerala is more long than large,it's difficult to avoid the sea),in Cananore and decide to reach the site of a famous temple of "Theyyam",the same afternoon.10 miles away lies the temple of Paravadukuni(couldn't tell the bus driver,by chance it was written western style ) where I'm dropped and and after going down a hill ,follow pilgrims to the gate of the temple.I learn I can stay to sleep overnight inside as ceremony will be held all through the night,with hundreds of worshippers coming.I'm the only foreigner and non-hindu but people invite me to join (even to blessings)and are curious.
The opening start around 6pm under the groove of near"satanic" rythms that remind me again of some previous brazilian Maracatu or Condemble(voodoo celebration)that sustain weird patterns after the whereabouts of the main priest who is painted and dressed up in full red.He would match with the Kathali characters.Few 2-hours sessions later,there are concerns of Trance-like stirring among the followers and some have to be retrieved outside.
The dogs pacing around are shown as the sole companion of the priest in his search.Dogs feeling the outsider in me start barking and approach me on a pugnative fashion,only am I rescued by locals.
After 2am people retire on mats lend by the temple to lay and catch little sleep until the early morning session bounces again at 6am>Ther's a second buddy to the priest this time.Ending their parade(take message from the god to the outside) they finally give blessings to whoever comes to them.It 's a full-on experience and I really felt this could have taken place thousand years ago in a pagan place on the bank of a large river with sunrise taking everyone out.
Ps:Pictures are coming , it's just  uploading quite slowly!!!
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