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Velakali is a traditional martial dance of Kerala that is performed by the Nair community. It is an all-male performance. Velakali is a ritual art form presented in a temple courtyard.Fifty or more dancers dress up as soldiers with colorful shields and shining swords. The performers dress up in traditional clothes and colorful red headgear of the medieval Nair soldiers and wear cloth garlands of beads that cover their bare chests. Maddalam, ilathalam, kombu and kuzhal are the musical instruments used in velakali.The music involves no lyrics, only the rhythm of the musical instruments is there for the performance.Velakali originated in Ambalappuzha and also the dance form is a regular feature of the annual festivities at the Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna temple in Alappuzha district.In Ambalapuzha, the dance is choreographed under the guidance of Mathur Panickar a hereditary Asan and minister of the Ambalapuzha royal family.Velakali represents the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas.The dance was staged againin 2011 after a gap of almost 40 years at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum. It’s the result of an effort by Mohanankunju Panicker, that Velakali is staged again and is still continuing as one among the popular martial arts.

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