Pulikali Tiger Dance


Pulikali Tiger Dance

Year Dates
2023 1st September 2023
2024  To be Announced

Pulikali Tiger Dance Festival is one of the most popular festivals in the state of Kerala, celebrated on a grand scale. It is a very fascinating festival for the people of Kerala, which they eagerly wait for with great enthusiasm every year. This is a folk-dance festival, which is an integral part of the Onam Festival. This art form is specific to Thrissur district of Kerala, India but is celebrated all over Kerala in today’s time. This festival is one of the major highlights of the Onam festival and entices people from all over the country. Pulikali Dance festival is a major attraction for tourists outside the country as well. This festival depicts a vibrant look and feel, and celebrated on the fourth day of Onam festival. Pulikali Tiger Dance Festival 2023 date is one 1st September 2023. Making a tour to Kerala during Pulikali Tiger Dance is worth taking in one’s lifetime.
Pulikali is also known as Kaduvakali and it is a dance form purely for entertainment purpose, in which the artists are body painted in Tiger prints and they dance in a wild manner and display hunting moves to the beat of drums. It is performed by trained artists and is part of the celebrations of the Onam festival for entertainment and people do enjoy this recreational folk dance.


As per Historical studies, this Pulikali dance form was introduced by the then Maharaja of Cochin almost 200 years back as a part of the Onam festival and he wanted to display a dance form that showed the wild and masculine spirit of the tigers. Pulikali-tiger dance is basically a representation of courage, bravery, and the war spirit.

Highlights of Pulikali Festival

In Kerala, Pulikali is a Malayalam word which is a combination of two words – Puli “leopard” and Kali “Play”. The literal meaning is simply Tiger Play. The best part of this dance is to see the artists wearing tiger printed clothes or they get their body painted in bright yellow, red, and black representing a tiger. Some wear face masks of tigers. Some paint their face resembling a tiger. They have to wait long hours to get the paint dried under the sun. The hunting dance moves look spectacular while musical instruments like Udukku and Thakil are played at the background. The entire Pulikali dance is based on the theme of tiger hunting.
The dance performances are seen in many parts of Kerala but this dance form is more popular in the Thrissur district of Kerala. A number of prominent dancers of state who are experts in Pulikali dance form is invited to perform.
The dance form has become popular in each passing year and more and more young people are part of this dance as it shows aggression and is full of actions. Participants from other villages too come to Thrissur to perform. It is mainly performed at Naduvilal in the Swaraj round of the city of Thrissur which is at the centre.
People from Thrissur city and other nearby areas gather to watch this dance form. The high-energy dance form entices the audience a lot, and the audience, too, participate by loud cheering and clapping.
Offerings are made to Lord Ganesha of the Vadakkunathan temple and then the artists go out in a procession. They dance while moving in the procession. They also perform on stages. Floats are also included in the procession. This is a sight which everyone enjoys. The procession looks very quirky when you see hundreds of people with tiger painted bodies. The procession is very vibrant and every onlooker waits eagerly for the artists to come out and join the procession.
Pulikali Tiger Dance Festival is a lifetime opportunity to witness. So, book a complete Kerala Tour Onam Festival Package and include Pulikali Tiger Dance Festival in Thrissur in your itinerary. The best inbound tour operator can guide you on this. Your Kerala tour during Onam is incomplete without attending Pulikali Tiger Dance Festival.

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Sep 01 2023