An ancient temple with some of the ancient rituals, the Kurampala Puthenkavil Bhagavathy Temple is famous for the ritualistic Padayani festival which takes place once in five years. The last festival was celebrated in 2016 and next will be in 2021. The festival is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Kumbham.
Like all other temples, the Padayani of Kurampala also commences with ‘Choottu vaipu’ and the ritual continues for a period of ten days. On the eleventh day the ritual of Kachikottu takes place and all these days the ritual of Kappoli also takes place in the temple.
The Thavadi dance accompanied by instruments like chenda, Kaimaini, Veeramadaalam, Veekku Chenda, and Thappu is held on the eleventh day. After that vinodam (comedy items) takes place and at Kurampala Velichappadu and Paradeshi are the main comic interludes. On the 11th day comes the ‘Vellapparadeshi (white dress) and is followed on the next day with two ‘Chuvanna Paradeshi’ (Red dress), and on the 13th day, all these comes together make their appearances to the ‘Kalam’. ‘Kuttiparadeshis’ too appear on the stage on some days.
Some of the other comedy interludes of Kurampala Padayani are Nampoothiriyum Vallyakkaranum, Sarkkarakkudam, Anthoni, Ottupattar, Chaakka, Pulavritham, Kambukali, Kuravarkali, Kunjarikka Maharshi, Pattarum Kalyaniyum, Thangalum Padayum make their appearances one after another.
Kolams performance at Kurampala: Vellayum Kariyum Kolam is staged on the first day of Padayani. In this Kolam, the face of the performer is painted directly with paint. This was the ancient system of kolam making prevailed before the intervention of arecanut sheath kolams. On the second day, Ganapathy and Ganapathy Pishachu kolams are staged. Despite at other padayani villages, it Kurampala each day is set apart for one kolam each. On all these days there will be Thavadi, Valiyamelam and comedy items are repeated. On the third day, Marutha Kolam (deity of smallpox) performance takes place. Vadimadan and Thoppimadan arrive on the fourth day. Fifth and sixth days are for the performance of Pullimadan and
Chettamadan respectively. On the seventh day, Kaala Yakshi Kolam made of 51 Arecanut sheath makes the performance. Kuthirathullal is on the 8th day of padayani.
Adavi staged at Kurampala has some special features. The highlight here is the Chooral Adavi. It is a ritualistic dance reminiscent of the Narabali (human sacrifice) ritual of yore and is held on the ninth day of the 13-day annual Padayani festival. In the morning villagers make a round with uprooted coconut palm, Areca palm and thorny cane and this ritualistic observation are called ‘Thengu, Pana, chooral Kalippikkal’. In the evening devotees observe penance as a preparatory to the ritual and roll on the ground with thorny canes wrapped around the body.
On the 11th day, the performance of Nayattum Padayum is held and is followed by Pooppada on the next day. Kaniyan Purappadu is also performed along with Pooppada. Performance of Kalan kolam is also held on the very same day.
Another feature of Kurampala is the making of Ambalavum Vilakkum, a ritual of creating a temple model using a banana stem. Once it is done, the Kurampala Padayani festival concludes with the Bhairavi Kolam performance and the special performance is known by the name of Thulli Ozhikkal.