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The origins of Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest martial arts forms in the world dates back to almost 300 years ago. The ancient sage Parasurama who according to legend, is said to have reclaimed the land what we today know as Kerala from the Arabian Sea, was taught this martial art form by Lord Shiva himself.
The sage Parasurama an incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself, set up 42 kalaris (threshing floors) with twenty one disciples. It is said that he sage did this to protect the new land that he had reclaimed from the sea. Kung-fu, a martial art form popularized by the monks of the Shaolin Temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma, a Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master from India.
Kalaripayattu is a holistic art form that is aimed at the ultimate co-ordination and control of the mind and body. The use of weapons as an extension of the body, controlled by the mind is used to achieve a high degree of protection in both offensive and defensive combat situations. The inherent beauty of this art from lies in the harmonious synergy of art, science and medicine. The intense training demands a stringent dedication and sense of discipline. There are four levels of training – basic, intermediate, advanced and instructor level. The basic level training involves unarmed fighting techniques through which the aspirant achieves mastery over his body movements and balance. In the intermediate level, the student is trained to attain the agility, flexibility, and co-ordination of body movements. The advanced level involves training with weapons. Finally the instructor level involves proficiency in the usage of sword and shield, spear and lastly the ’urumi’ or spring sword.
Kalari literally means “threshing floor” and traditionally a kalari is constructed by digging a hollow in the ground forming a sunken area four feet in depth, forty two feet in length and twenty one feet in breadth. This is usually called Kuzhikalari. Kuzhi means ‘pit’ and Kuzhikalari literally means a fighting pit.
Thekkady has its own famed kalari called the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre. One can visit this kalari and one can see the martial art form practiced here.
Visiting Times: 6:00PM to 7:00PM