Garudan Thookkam or Eagle Hanging is a ritual art form performed in the temples of Goddess Kali in Kerala.
Legend has it that after slaying Darika, Kali remained insatiable and thirsty. At this time Lord Vishnu sent Garuda to Kali to quench her thirst. A dancing and bleeding Garuda was taken to Kali. Kali was pacified only after drinking some drops of blood from Garuda. The "Thookkam" is a way of thanking Goddess Kali for the problems solved in her abode.
Our day began with slow drum beats (chenda melam).
As the day progressed, the beats got heavier and more intense.
Inside, the cousins were having a "jolly good time".
From an injured foot to a brand new "pink" saree, we had it all.
Before long, night fell. The drummers continued to build the momentum with synchronized beats.
Meanwhile, upstairs the "Garudas" were getting ready for their dance.
They asked for blessings - from their teachers, elders, and from God.
And then joined the drummers downstairs to dance to their beats.
Twisting, turning, jumping, flipping.....
Occasionally, the crowd offered donations in the form of ten and hundred rupee notes. It kept their spirits high and gave them the much needed energy to keep going.
The drummers continued their rhythm despite the heavy instruments. Their beats would go on until early morning.
And off they went, dancing... to Koottekavil Temple.