Rural folk dances showcase the vigour and agility of its performers to appeal to the masses. Tamil Nadu’s Karakattam is performer in honour of the train goddess Mariammam. In this dance, the dancers make their moves while carrying a decorated pot on their heads.
The mud pots of yore have been replaced by steel or brass pots. Each pot is decorated with an attractive pyramid of flowers which is crowned by a rotating paper parrot. At the start of the dance the pots are placed on the floor. As the music starts, the dancers pick up the pots and balance it carefully on their heads. Then they proceed to display their acrobatic skills like balancing on a plank on a rolling log, lying on one’s stomach, walking on stilts and more – all while dancing and balancing a heavy pt on their heads.
Karakattam is of two types [ Sakhi Karakam which is performed for the public and Aatta Karakam which is performed at temples as a spiritual offering.