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A pre-koothu ritual on the first day evening when Bagasuran is killed by Bhima. Bagasurean goes into the village followed by a cart accompanied by percussionists in which is placed a big container. Into this container every household contributes food. At the end of the round, when the cart reaches the temple, the fight between Bagasuran and Bhima is enacted. At the end Bagasuran is killed and the food is distributed amoung the villages. It is a colourful speactable involving the entire community


An early morning ritual in which Arjuna climbs a long pole representing the Himalayas to commence penance praying for the mightiest weapon for the final battle. This is another ritual in which the village women, particularly childless actively participate. This is an occasion for taking vow as well as fulfilling the vow taken for be getting a child.

MADUPIDI SANDAI (Retrieving of the Cattle):

When the exile of the Pandavas is drawing to a close Bhishma & Dhronar and Dhuriyodhana invade Virate Kingdom and take away the cattle. Pandavas retrieve them in a battle. This is one the most dramatic rituals in which the entire cattle of the village representing the virata kingdom is driven to the dry lake bed outside the village. The enactment is in the lake. At the end, the cattle return home.



“Padukalam” the term associated with traditional Mahabharatha Koothu, can be translated as “battlefield”. It is actually the Koothu of the final day in the ten day Bharathakoothu. On the 10th night, at dawn, at the junction where Bheema and Duryodhana are facing each at the final battle, Krishna enters to announce that the battle ought to be shifted to a sanctified space where Parasurama and Karthaveeraujuna are said to have fought each other.

The Final Act takes place in the morning of the eleventh day. At a time fixed by the village elders, Koothu actors specially identified by these elders begin to dance to the rhythm of the Parai drum. The ritual of Padukalam begins. Bheema and Duryodhana fight each other through the streets of the village. The entire village becomes the battlefield of Kurukshetra. A thick rope is held in between the actors to prevent the wrath of the characters assumed by them taking them over and to prevent any untoward incident happening in consequence. But the actors covert the device of the dividing rope into a theatrical device. The rope facilitates the intensity of the anger of the two actors. The actors enter the area of Padukalam dancing to the beat of the drum Parai. A giant statue of Duryodhana made of earth is lying in the open in front of the Draupadi Amman temple for decades. The statue is not decorated for the occasion and an earthen pot with blood red water has been embedded in its right thigh. The two actors chase each other around the state and as a final act, Bheema strikes his mace at the earthen pot. The actor depicting Duryodhana writhes in pain and the battle is now over.; The blood red water is taken for smearing the hair of the idol of Draupadi in the temple and for tying the hair up. The hair is then knotted.


But then, with that, has the problem of war been knotted up? Is the problem over? A woman in a black saree than enters the arena to mourn the death of Duryodhana. She wails loudly beating her chest not only for the death of Duryodhana but also for his misdeeds which where the cause of his death as a warning to the large. The women onlookers of the village make a comedy of her wailing and they also join her in their wailing beating their chests. A jugal bandi ensues here. Rejoicing of the death and the mourning of the death are depicted simultaneously through this theatricality that involves the actor and the onlookers.


Some people who are observing austerities as the result of a penance perform the death rituals for Duryodhana as the death rituals of their own family. They wear clothes soaked in turmeric water and sit in small trenches dug in the four corners of the Duryodhana state and cover themselves with yellow cloth of turmeric. Turmeric water is then splashed on them gently with Neem leaves.

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