The Opponent Arrives – Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay

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What happens when two equally powerful Gods start a war? What if they are brothers?

A small part of the great Indian epic, Ramayana, can answer these questions. The vibrant Theyyam festival, from God’s own country, Kerala, also visualizes this story.

Here it is in brief: Vali was fighting against an evil force inside a cave, while his brother, Sugriva, was waiting outside. This dispute continued for many days. After a while, Sugriva eventually noticed blood coming out from the cave. Thinking it might be his brother’s, he put a big boulder at its entrance in order to trap the evil force inside, hoping it would die. Then, he left for his country.

Vali, however, actually emerged as victor and somehow managed to leave the cave. After doing so, he returned to his kingdom, only to find his brother, Sugriva, ruling it. Thinking that Sugriva betrayed him to obtain power, Vali became furious. And from that day on, they started their rivalry.

Coming back to the festival, Vali is ready for the fight and waiting for his opponent to appear in the battle ground:

The Opponent Arrives - Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay - Clapway

Then, Sugriva appears:

The Opponent Arrives - Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay - Clapway

He approaches the battle field through the crowd:

The Opponent Arrives - Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay - Clapway

He now prepares for the war, by starting the godly dance and showcasing his sword fighting skills:

The Opponent Arrives - Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay - Clapway

The Opponent Arrives - Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay - Clapway

At last, they come face to face. Vali has waited to take his revenge for long. Sugriva is not afraid either.

The Opponent Arrives - Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay - Clapway

They provoke each other through a verbal duel.

The Opponent Arrives - Battle Of Gods: A Photo Essay - Clapway

All this is part of very ancient cultural festival, which still uses ancient ornaments, special head gear and natural colours for face painting. Thus, the essence of this tradition and culture remains intact. These off beat experiences make Kerala a great destination for tourists to visit and return with an unforgettable travel memory.

More about this colourful festival of India in the next post…

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