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Harisree Kannan tholpvakoothu Kalakendram Mob: +91- 9747672678                                   Email:

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The puppet plays are based on selected verses from the famous Tamil Epic 'Kamba Ramayana'. The language used is a dialect of Tamil with an admixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam words.


While formerly the puppets were made out of deer skin, the use of buffalo and ox skin is now commonly used. The puppets are held by a thin stick in one hand while the limbs are manipulated by a thinner stick held in another hand of the puppeteer.About 300 puppets are used for the complete version of the "Kamba Ramayana", representing 71 characters in four main categories (sitting, standing, walking, and fighting) besides puppets to depict nature, battle scenes and ceremonial parades.The screen is illuminated by 21 lighted lamps, made out of coconuts cut in half, filled with coconut oil, provided with cotton wicks and placed equidistant from each other on the Vilakku-madam (wooden beam) behind the curtain.


Tholpavakoothu -Thol means leather, Pava means puppet & koothu means play.The puppets are moved while performing with the help of sticks, and their shadows are appeared on a screen with the help of a row of oil lamps(21 Nos) in the background. The story of Tholpavakoothu performance is from the Indian epic, Ramayana. The performance language uses Tamil, Sanskrit and Malayalam words. The narrative used for the performance is a mixture of poetry and  called Adalpattu.
Tholpava(puppets) are made by the skin of deer on olden days and the puppet forms are made by making small holes in the leather by using chesiles and hammer  that is then attached vertically with the help of bamboo stick.Accompanying instruments such as Chenda,Ezhupara, Ilathalam(Metal instrument) and Maddalam in some temples. The performance is accompanied by the recitation of slokas and the performers are required to learn over 2100 slokas and their meanings of these before they perform The artists have to undergo several years of rigorous training to master this art form. The art was performed in Badrakali  temples in specially built permanent theatres with 42- foot-long stage called koothumadam. The stage has a screen of white cloth and a black cloth, behind white which the puppets are held. The lighting is provided by 21 lamps of coconut halves or earthen lamps or chirath(metal lamps) placed behind the puppets,causing their shadows to fall on the screen. The lamps are a placed on a specially curved wooden beam called vilakku madam
Tholpavakoothu performance on temple, staging all the episodes of the Kamba Ramayana story, takes 21 days to complete with seven-hour performances every day  night.Traditionally, performances begin at night and go on till dawn and requires 120 to 150 puppets. For the performance needs10 artistes . The master puppeteer is called as Pulavar. The show begins with  kelikottu & inside the koothumadam an invocation called kalarichinthu. Performances are done from January through May and during Pooram season. The performance can last 7, 14, 21& 41 days depending on the tradition at the temple where it is performed.
Harisree Kannan Tholpavakoothu kalakendram is an organisation with fully dedicated to the performance of Tholpavakoothu.The activities of this organisation include performance of Tolpavakoothu at permanent theatre on  Bhagavathy temples during the Festival season, Teach this artform to students and those who are interested in learning this Art puppetry and puppet making, Providing facility to do research in this field of puppetry/ tholpavakoothu, To do new innovations of puppetry ,also perform stage performance to audiences at various venues.
Now  the performance and the Organisation Kannan TholPavakoothu kalakenram run by Sri. M Lakshmana Pulavar with the able assistance of his son Sri. Sajeesh K L  The organisation have all the necessary equipment to stage a performance at any venue. This includes puppets, screens, instruments and a portable angle stage. They also have a well trained of performers in the troupe Sri Sadhanantha Pulavar son of late Annamalai Pulavar, Sri Balakrishna Pulavar...



1. Keli kottu
2. Ganapathi vandanam
3. Maan vetta(catching deer)
4. Seetha Apharnam(kitnapping sita)
5. jadaya ravana fight
6. jadayu Moksham
7. Bali sugreev fight
8. Rama Ravana fight
9. Sree Rama pattabhishekam

Scheduled scenes