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Theyam. The Traditional Ritual Dance Of South India 03 Photo Workshop Adventures Sebinster Francis India Kerala Theyyam 20 Photo Workshop Adventures Sebinster Francis India Kerala Theyyam 10 Photo Workshop Adventures Sebinster Francis India Kerala Theyyam 14 Photo Workshop Adventures Sebinster Francis India Kerala Theyyam KERALA THEYYAM FESTIVAL
March 08 - 13, 2021
February 25 - March 02, 2022
Travel, People,
and Portrait Photography
Includes
• 6 Days
• Only 4 - 8 Guests
• Photographer | Guide
• Photo walks & discussions
• 10 - 15 Different Festivals
• 4-Star Accommodations
• Breakfasts
• 7 Meals
• Airport transfers
• Local Transportation
• Entry Fees
FullSizeRender V3

 KERALA THEYYAM FESTIVAL

Kannur, Kasargod, Neeleshwar, North Kerala

RAJASTHAN

VARANASI

GUJARAT

STREETS OF INDIA

HOLI

KERALA

Theyyam – the Ritual Dance of the Gods​.

We designed this amazing photo tour opportunity around India’s fascinating Theyyam festivals which span from February to April throughout northern Kerala in the south of India. You can expect to photograph up to as many as 15 different Theyyam performances during our 6-day adventure.

Kerala – ‘God’s Own Country’ is known for its exotic culture, tradition and nature. It has been a must visit for travelers and photographers around the globe. This stunning location is known for its untouched nature, beautiful landscapes, welcoming people, traditional art forms, Ayurvedic heritage and diverse cultures. At PWA we twist the tour around this magical destination and extend it to North Kerala, with a uniquely designed adventure. During our photo tour we travel through the rustic locations of Kasargod and Kannur to witness the 1500 years old tradition known as Theyyam.

‘Theyyam’ which literally means ‘gods’, is a ritual dance form only found in North Kerala. It depicts the ancient myths of gods, goddesses, saints and demons, making it a vibrant dance-drama. This ancient art form has been graciously carried on and practiced over generations. It continues to be an intricate part in the cultural heritage of Kerala. With around 456 varieties of Theyyam, it is one of the most sought after festivals by photographers. This traditional custom is predominantly found in rural villages of North Kerala. It is believed to have originated from tribal rituals, and through the ages has transformed into a ritual performed in shrines. Very interestingly, we get to see these performances at traditional Kerala houses, where families continue to observe Theyyam, as an ancestral worship. 

The pomp and extravagant pageantry will amaze you with the energy generated from vigorous drumbeats, hypnotic chants and the movements that will leave us aghast. It is believed that the spirit of the deity gets transferred to the ‘Kolam’ or performer, whose animation is witnessed through the performance. They don elaborate costumes, exotic make-ups, art ornaments, breastplates, bangles, garlands and decorations which depict the culture and tradition of Kerala. Some of the more powerful executions incorporate fire and huge headpieces which make this art form extra-ordinary and supernatural. 

A crucial part of Theyyam is its make-up, which is done by specialists and remains unique to each type. All the products used for make-up come from natural herbs, keeping each element earthy and rustic. Colors are extracted from saffron, turmeric, quick lime, rice powder, etc., which are mixed with water and coconut oil as a base. Even the brush used for painting is made of a coconut leaf stem. Intricate designs and elaborate paintings, compliment the eminent narration and performances. Throughout our photo tour you will get to experience all of this and more. We take pride in bringing you the Theyyam tour to our very successful Kerala Photo Adventure.

This adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity. 

In addition, you will become knowledgeable about how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas, and great fun. We cannot think of a better place to express your creativity than in Kerala, India.

‘Theyyam’ which literally means ‘gods’, is a ritual dance form only found in North Kerala. It depicts the ancient myths of gods, goddesses, saints and demons, making it a vibrant dance-drama. This ancient art form has been graciously carried on and practiced over generations. It continues to be an intricate part in the cultural heritage of Kerala. With around 456 varieties of Theyyam, it is one of the most sought after festivals by photographers. This traditional custom is predominantly found in rural villages of North Kerala. It is believed to have originated from tribal rituals, and through the ages has transformed into a ritual performed in shrines. Very interestingly, we get to see these performances at traditional Kerala houses, where families continue to observe Theyyam, as an ancestral worship. 

The pomp and extravagant pageantry will amaze you with the energy generated from vigorous drumbeats, hypnotic chants and the movements that will leave us aghast. It is believed that the spirit of the deity gets transferred to the ‘Kolam’ or performer, whose animation is witnessed through the performance. They don elaborate costumes, exotic make-ups, art ornaments, breastplates, bangles, garlands and decorations which depict the culture and tradition of Kerala. Some of the more powerful executions incorporate fire and huge headpieces which make this art form extra-ordinary and supernatural. 

A crucial part of Theyyam is its make-up, which is done by specialists and remains unique to each type. All the products used for make-up come from natural herbs, keeping each element earthy and rustic. Colors are extracted from saffron, turmeric, quick lime, rice powder, etc., which are mixed with water and coconut oil as a base. Even the brush used for painting is made of a coconut leaf stem. Intricate designs and elaborate paintings, compliment the eminent narration and performances. Throughout our photo tour you will get to experience all of this and more. We take pride in bringing you the Theyyam tour to our very successful Kerala Photo Adventure.

This adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity. 

In addition, you will become knowledgeable about how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas, and great fun. We cannot think of a better place to express your creativity than in Kerala, India.

TOUR OVERVIEW

Group Size

4 – 8 Guests

Experience | Difficulty

  • Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
  • DSLR, mirrorless, compact cameras, fast prime lenses , Portable small video light
  • Active and adventurous schedule
  • Travel by private car
  • Lots of walking
  • (non-photographers also welcome)

Weather | Sun

March – Temps 95/79 F | 35/26 C  Sunrise 6:40 | Sunset 6:40 (18:40)

Includes

  • Travel, seascape and people photography
  • Professional photographer | guide
  • Photo walks & discussions
  • Small group size (4 – 8 guests)
  • 4-star Accommodations
  • Breakfasts
  • 7 Meals
  • Airport Transfers
  • Local transportation – Modern A/C car
  • Entry Fees

Travel Information

Arrival & Departure Airport: Kannur International Airport, North Kerala, India (CNN)
Our adventure begins at 11 AM on the first day and ends at noon on the last day.
Travel Visa: A visa may be required depending on your nationality. Go to Visa Map to find out.

Accommodations

Kasargod – Neeleshwar Hermitage or similar

Helpful Links

>  Indian Women and their Love Affair with the Saree – by Renu Choudhary
6 Amazing India Photo Adventures – by Michael Chinnici

Kerala Theyyam Festival Prices & Dates


Photographer Leader

Photographer Leader

Sebinster Francis

March 8 – 13, 2021
February 25 – March 2, 2022

*All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in upscale boutique hotels in the 4 and 5-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels that offer cultural, historic, and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. In Cuba, we stay in upscale family-owned Casas (bread & breakfasts). On all of our tours, breakfast is almost always included, but not guaranteed. Meal categories listed include (B) for breakfast, (L) for lunch, and (D) for dinner.

ITINERARY

THEYYAM FESTIVAL 6 DAY PHOTO TOUR

Day 1 | Kasargod

Arrive at Kannur International Airport, where you will meet our representative and drive to Neeleshwar to check in to your Resort. If given an opportunity, it’s possible we may get to see few Theyyams on day one.

Later, we enjoy a “Welcome Dinner”, where we get the taste of Kerala cuisine with its traditional flavors. During dinner, you will be briefed on Theyyam and the plan for next day. Our leader will present PWA’s “10 Guiding Principles to Great Photography” as well as our “THE ART OF SEEING” photographic technique. (D)

Day 2 | Theyyam Festivals

After breakfast you will be briefed on the plan for the day. We will begin with a drive to several of the temples / houses where the festival will take place. The people in these regions are often reserved and traditional, yet they never say no to a photograph. Interestingly, they shy away and also welcome you to see their culture and tradition.

Since festival timings vary each day, whenever we are not photographing a performance, we will be immersing ourselves in the culture and the people. We will experience the artists during their elaborate make-up sessions, to better understand the core of the performance. During free hours, which are mostly noon to midday, you can relax at the hotel, which comes with a wonderful Ayurvedic Spa and cure centre. (B, L)

Day 3 | Theyyam Festivals

As each day passes, we get to see the various types of Theyyams, which are particular to each temple and ancestral house. Sometimes, a family might host Theyyam after an absence of many years, which calls in for the presence of a large number of family members to be present at this amazing family celebration. Theyyam is deep rooted in the life of the natives and incorporates the origins from tribal settlers of these areas. These customs can be seen in the costumes and ornaments used during the performance. 

Puthiya Bhagavathy Theyyam is one of the popular Theyyams, dedicated to the goddess Puthiya Bhagavathy who is believed to cure diseases. To commemorate her blessings on health, the earlier rulers had ordered to perform this Theyyam in a temple, which is observed till this day. Often we may get to witness a few other Theyyam’s in the same temple are different intervals. (B, L)

Day 4 | Theyyam Festivals

After breakfast, we continue on our adventure through the rural villages of North Kerala, and capture some of the elaborate Theyyam performances. Our schedules might change based on new Theyyams we are informed about. This is the nature of Theyyam. Some even take place in the middle of the night. We try to keep the schedule moderate and also adventurous, by adjusting our timings.

Vishnu Moorti Theyyam is an important one, as it belongs to Neeleshwar, where we will be staying. It depicts the story of Palanthai Kannan, a resident of Neeleshwar, who was driven out by Kuruvat Kurup for picking mangoes from his grove. Palanthai took shelter in a Vishnu temple, and later he was accompanied by Lord Vishnu to return to Neeleshwar. Soon, he was attacked by his rival, who in return had to face the outrage of Lord Vishnu. Hence, a shrine was built by Kuruvat to reconcile for his deed and calm the Lord, who then came to be known as Vishnumoorti. This is one of the most popular Theyyam in this region. Each Theyyam, is a depiction of such mythologies, and each dance-drama talks of good and evil; protection and destruction; anger and role of the deities in each story.

As each day goes by, and each performance is experienced, we will learn more and more. You will be amazed by the art and performances during these rituals. Each day becomes a new and unexpected journey through this adventurous photo tour. (B, L)

Day 5 | Theyyam Festivals

After breakfast, we continue on our expedition of witnessing the various types of Theyyam, along with people and their culture. We get to see families in their best traditional attires coming together to offer prayers and witness the spectacular ritual. Women come in their colorful saris with ornaments and garlands, as they carry lamps to offer in the temples. The celebration looks grand and elaborate with lights, music, rituals, sacrifices, religious chanting and more. An interesting fact is how the types of Theyyam differ based on the deity who is worshipped in particular temples.

Muthappan Theyyam is one such deity and the shrines dedicated to him are called ‘Madappura’. We will be visiting one of these shrines to witness the performance that takes place on a daily basis. The days and timings of the performances are based on the position of stars and Malayalam calendars. The festival that carries on for few months is an auspicious and sought-after traditional heritage in Kerala.

In the evening we celebrate the end of our adventure with a “Farewell Dinner” at our beautiful hotel. (B, D)

Day 6 | Kasargod

After breakfast we will do a photo review and final discussion about our adventure before our checkout. Transfers to Kannur International Airport will be arranged based on your flight schedule. (B)

If you are continuing on to our “India Street Photography Tour”, we will be escorting you to the airport for your flight to Mumbai.

 
Add our 12-day “Kerala Photo Adventure” before our the Theyyam Festival in March for 18 amazing days of culture and photography.

(B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner, (E) Excursion

May all who come as guests... leave as friends®

OPTIONS AND BENEFITS

Pricing

All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in boutique hotels in the 4-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels which offer cultural, historic and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. Breakfast is included only if included in our room rates.

Private Guided Adventures

We offer amazing private guided photo adventures, cultural tours and vacations for individuals, couples, families and groups. We can customize any of our published adventures, as well as others, to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. This may include the finest 5-star accommodations, business-class travel, and private guides and fixers who are able to make the impossible possible. If you are not interested in a photo-centric vacation, but you love our approach to private travel, we will be happy to design and deliver an amazing adventure focused on travel, culture and cuisine. Click here to request a quote. Feel free to call us at 1-888-834-0288 or contact us for more information.

Travel Insurance

We offer travel insurance through the internationally recognized Travelex Travel Insurance Company, as well as evacuation and medical transportation insurance through MedJet, one of the best in the industry.

The cost for travel insurance can be as low as 4% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other factors. Knowing you have trip cancellation coverage can make a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason. Travelex Insurance Services is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating. Click here to learn more about why you should consider travel insurance.

Rewards Program

Start earning points today and SAVE $200 - $900 off future trips!
Simply register for one of our amazing photo adventures and begin earning points today!

How The Program Works
For every adventure reservation you make with Photo Workshop Adventures, you earn valuable points which you can redeem on your next trip. This is a great way to save up to 8% off future trips. Our Rewards Program is designed with three tiers: Orange, Gold and VIP Members. Points may be applied towards balance payments on your next trip, or you may choose to accumulate points for a free trip in the future.

ORANGE REWARDS
All guests begin with our Orange Rewards Program (Level 1), which earns 4 points for every dollar you spend. You begin earning points immediately after your first trip. A $5,900 spend earns 23,600 points with a value of $236 USD.

GOLD REWARDS
With our Gold Rewards Program (Level 2), you earn 6 points for every dollar you spend. Orange Members who reach 120,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 4-6 trips), automatically move up to Gold Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 35,400 points with a value of $354 USD.

Additional Gold Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers

VIP REWARDS
With our VIP Rewards Program (Level 3), you earn 8 points for every dollar you spend. Gold Members who reach 350,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 8-12 trips) move up to VIP Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 47,200 points with a value of $472 USD, (8+/-% discount).

Additional VIP Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers
  • Ability to Gift or Transfer points to others
  • Receive complimentary airport transfers at the destination location*

Redeeming Your Points
Redeeming your points couldn’t be easier. You can always log in to your account to check your points balance. When you are ready to book your next trip, register and pay your deposit. When you go to pay your balance you will be given the option to apply your points and receive a discount.

THINK ORANGE Magazine

Subscribe to our Think Orange Magazine and eNews. THINK ORANGE is a wonderful mix of stories and tips related to travel, photography, adventure, culture, art, technology, cuisine, lifestyle, people and more. Our objective is to immerse you in a world you may only fantasize about. Raise your awareness and inspire your creativity. Perhaps even help make you a better photographer. We deliver similar experiential experiences that our guests enjoy on our photo adventures. Like all of our adventures, our blog is “photo-centric”, while also allowing you to experience all the nuances and cultural aspects of travel and adventure. Welcome to our world. We hope you enjoy. Our eNews is a great way to receive information about upcoming photo adventures, exciting new destinations, photography tips, special offers and more. Subscribe today!

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Give someone you know a Gift Card, good toward any of our Photo  Adventures, Photo Tours, Private Guided Tours, Online Courses, Prints or Merchandize. Our beautifully personalized eGift Cards and Certificates are delivered to you electronically. They are fully transferable and have a 2 year expiration date. They are available in any amount from $100 to $5000. It makes a great gift for anyone who loves photography, travel or adventure. Order now, or email for more information.

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You can SAVE up to $1200 by combining two or more back-to-back 6-Day or longer Photo Adventures. Call us at 1-888-834-0288 or contact us for more information.

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We offer private online Lightroom and Photoshop photo editing tutorials for individuals who would like to improve their post-processing skills. Each is customized to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. We provide you with one-on-one discussions using online connectivity. Many of our Photo Adventure guests select our online post-processing as an extension to their trip. Click here for more information.

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