Photos from India: Kalarippayattu

Note: This is an on-the-road photo journal. To find out more about why I am on this trip, please read Next book: From Kerala to Shaolin. Importantly, these are just some simple photos taken by yours truly. The really good photos on this trip are being taken by Kirit Kiran, a Delhi-based photographer and filmmaker. The best will appear in the actual book.

Massage oils

Massaging oils before practise, CVN Kalari, Trivandrum

Young fighter

CVN Kalari, Trivandrum


CVN Kalari, Trivandrum

Rajesh knives

Sparring with daggers, CVN Kalari, Trivandrum

Rajesh knives 2

Sparring with daggers, CVN Kalari, Trivandrum

Boddhi knives

Boddhidharma Institute of Martial Arts, Poonthura

Boddhi sword shield 2

Sword and shield, Boddhidharma Institute of Martial Arts, Poonthura

Boddhi Downs

A young man with Down’s Syndrome has been trained in the use of the urumi, flexible sword. Boddhidharma Institute of Martial Arts, Poonthura

Boddhi girl

A young girl posing with the ceruvadi, short stick. Indian women today learn kalarippayattu partly for self defence.

Hindustan 2

Hindustan Kalari, Calicut


Hindustan Kalari, Calicut

Food: Top 5

Figured I have to document only the Top 5 foods; this could easily be Top 20. Tough choices.

sour mango

Sour mango with chilli powder. Great anytime snack.


Potthu, steamed rice flour and coconut. Typical breakfast food.

Potthu curry

Potthu eaten with peanut curry here. I also like it with brown sugar.

egg curry

A good egg curry renders meat unnecessary.

Fish Fry

Kerala fish fry. In one of its many forms.

Bombay Hotel Biryani 01

Biryani, Bombay Hotel, Calicut.

Bombay Hotel Biryani 03

Biryani, Bombay Hotel, Calicut.

Bombay Hotel Biryani 02

Condiments for biryani. Mint, yoghurt, pickle.

2 thoughts on “Photos from India: Kalarippayattu

  1. Nice article Anita, It has been a long time I heard about Kalaripayattu. Hailing from kelraa, it had been a central theme in movies earlier and then kind of lost the movie stream. I remember as kid going to the townhall to watch programs. Last year while watching a Jackie Chan movie shot in India, the first scene shows him fighting a few martial arts people and then the guy starts speaking in malayalam and Jackie speaking malayalam back. It was hilarious and made me happy for the kelraa language and the art form getting recognized in mainstream world movie. The film I guess flopped and so no reference of this ever came up. In fact history does say that the Northern part of kelraa is where it is most active. Though now it has more of a training and entertainment value, this was a part of usual education and a whole society and a lot families revolved around this art form. Some famous families include Thacholi, puthooram etc.. created their own styles and I believe the people in these families took up senior defense roles with the then time rulers in the area. The concepts of mamankam festival and chaver Padas (suicide squades) had this art/fight forms as part of their activity. A very interesting story line and lot of interesting things to write about. Do keep writing. First time here, will visit often

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