Thursday, July 18, 2024



Kolattam, derived from Kol( a small stick), and Attam (play) is the name of a charming Tamil dance practiced by groups of young girls. A festival connected with this art has both a cultural and a religious significance. According to legends, once there lived an Asura called Basavasura who could not be controlled by anybody. Some girls joined together in a group, went to this Asura and played Kolattam with charming music. The Asura was so pleased with the divine music and grace of the girls, that he gave up all his evil designs. This has since been celebrated as Kolatta Jothrai in a number of places in Tamil Nadu.

'Basava' - the bull, the personification of Shiva is the centre of the Kolattam festival, commencing every year on the new moon day of the October-November and ending on the full moon day. Daily, girls take their bath early in the morning in the holy rivers and they pick up a handful of grass and water in a small container and return to the place where they have installed the clay  idol of Basava. The girls then offer the grass to lord Basava, place the water near the bull and worship. While playing Kolattam the girls visit some houses in the village to play Kolattam in each house. On the purnima day, scheduled for the immersion of Basava, the girls dressed in new clothes placing the Basava in a decorated palanquin ultimately immerse it in a river. In every stage of the festival, each girl has one stick in each of her hands and the stick in the hand of each girl is struck against those of the other girls in rotation, producing beautiful music.