Mananthavady, Kerala, India
Hanuman Temple DancerTouring the Wayanad district of Kerala we came upon a temple where this folk dancer was performing Chakyarkoothu, a style of dance from in the area. This dancer is dressed as Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god. Five drummers thrummed a fast beat while he stomped and spun in a trance. Several temple attendants assisted the dancer while he acted out a mythic story and they propped him back upright when he fell backward from dizziness, exhaustion, or whatever concoction he had taken to enter his trance. A small crowd formed outside the temple to watch this loud and colorful display that like so many other beautiful art forms in India was a blend of faith, tradition, and artistry.
India is becoming modernized at a rapid pace, but if you find a way to travel through the rural mountains of Kerala you may be lucky enough to stumble upon the colorful Chkyarkoothu dancers. Look for a village temple and follow the sound of the drums.