Seethakali Folk Dance

Seethakali Folk Dance

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “Seethakali Folk Dance”. The topic “Seethakali Folk Dance” has relevance in the Art and Culture section of the UPSC CSE exam.


GS 1: Art and Culture


Why in the news:

For the first time, the 20-member ensemble from the Perinad Seethakali Sangham is gearing up to present the Seethakali art form outside of Kerala.outside the state of Kerala. 

This marks a significant milestone for this traditional Dravidian dance form, which combines songs, storytelling, and dynamic movements, as it ventures beyond its regional boundaries.


Seethakali: A Historical Dance Form:

Seethakali, a centuries-old dance form, is distinguished by its fusion of rhythmic movements, narrative storytelling, and musical accompaniments. Originating in Perinad, Kollam district, this art form traces its roots back approximately 150 years. It was traditionally performed by the Vedar and Pulayar communities as part of the Onam festivities.


Thematic Basis:

At its core, Seethakali draws inspiration from episodes within the epic Ramayana. It encapsulates the journey of Seetha, encompassing her exile to the forest (vanayatra) and her symbolic descent into the earth (andardhanam). Key mythological characters such as Rama, Seetha, Ravana, and Hanuman bring this narrative to life.


Melodic Companions:

Central to Seethakali performances are the enchanting folk songs that accompany the dancers. Passed down through generations, these oral traditions enrich the storytelling aspect of the dance.


Traditional Instruments and Props:

Seethakali embraces nature in its instruments and props, crafted from materials like bamboo and palm leaves. Musical accompaniments include instruments such as the ganjira, manikatta, chiratta, and kaimani.


Vibrant Attire and Visual Elements:

Costumes and makeup in Seethakali are notable for their vividness. Characters like Rama and Laxmana are adorned in green attire, as this hue symbolizes divinity in line with traditions seen in Kathakali.

Perinad Seethakali Sangham:

The Perinad Seethakali Sangham stands as the sole registered performing group dedicated to Seethakali within Kerala. Recognized by the Kerala Folklore Akademi in 2018, this group’s affiliation has played a pivotal role in reviving this distinct art form, which was once on the brink of fading into obscurity.


By expanding beyond its native region, the Perinad Seethakali Sangham not only showcases the artistic and cultural richness of Seethakali but also contributes to preserving and sharing a piece of Kerala’s cultural heritage on a broader stage.



Q.1 Seethakali, a traditional Dravidian dance form that combines songs, storytelling, and dynamic movements is associated with:

(a) kerala

(b) karnataka

(c) Tamil nadu

(d) Andhra Pradesh



Q.2 Consider the following statements:

  1. The dance form Seethakali draws inspiration from episodes within the epic Ramayana.
  2. Seethakali dancers wear monochrome costumes during performances.
  3. Folk songs accompany Seethakali performances and are passed down orally through generations.

How many of the above statement/s is/are correct? 

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) All three 

(d) None



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