Culture of Vellore

Vellore is a blend of rich Dravidian culture and heritage. The people and festivals in Vellore still represents the deep ethos of Dravidian culture. However, popularity some traditional art and dance forms like Therukoothu Kokkalikottai is slowing diminishing.

If you are referring to Bharatnatyam, Devarattam, Puliyattam, Karagam and Kolattam, you are in fact talking about Tamil Nadu. Vellore is much synonymous with this culture of dances with flamboyant costumes and music which imparts verve and vitality to every festival.

Dances in Vellore

Bharatanatyam is one dance form every girl learns as a child. It gives every child a brief introduction of their rich culture and traditions. The grace and purity imparted to 'bhavam' while performing various poses (mudras) during the dance are worth watching.

Culture in Vellore

Kamandi is performed as a traditional event in villages with two parties (Erintha Katchi and Eriyatha Katchi) who engross in a debate. Karagattam or Karagam is for pleasing the rain Goddess Mari amman. Villagers marvelously balance beautifully decorated water pots on their heads! That's not all! Some dance on the rim of a plate filled with water without spilling a drop!

Dancing on deva thunthubi (traditional drum) during marriages and festivals, Devarattam or dance of God's is generally performed by Kambala Naikar community. Then there is 'Kummi' - a simple dance form for women in which they form a circle and clap their hands while dancing. Kolattam is much like the 'dandiya' of Gujarat! Women hold small wooden rods and strike them as they dance. However, in Pinnal Kolattam, they hold ropes with the other end of the rope tied to a pole. Women form lace-like patterns with the ropes. This dance is performed after Diwali for ten days, starting with Newmoon or Amavasi.

Peacock dance or Mayil attam, Snake Dance or Paampu attam, Oyilattam (dance of grace), the play of tigers, that is, Puliyattam and puppet shows are very common in Vellore. Poikal Kudirai attam or dance of false legs is a dance form in which dancers are attached with dummy horse at the waist.

Musical instruments such as Tharai, Thappu or Thappattai are used in the dances. Therukoothu is a popular dance-drama usually performed on the streets with  songs, dialogues and storytelling.

Located near Andhra Pradesh, Vellore has a craze for Kuchipudi dance form too. Kazha Kothu is much like gymnastics! A difficult art form indeed which helps troupes earn their living. Silambattam is more like a martial art and dance performed by men generally. The people of Vellore are basically spiritual and peace loving.However, nadagam (drama), Iyal (literature) and Osai (music) are part of their lives, true to Dravidian culture.

Festivals and Fairs in and near Vellore

Pongal is the harvest festival here in which prayers are offered to mother nature, the Sun and cattle. Pongal dish (boiled rice with jaggery and milk). Chennai (137 kms.) is near to Vellore and you can take time to attend the Tourist fair held in January. Aurbathimoovar  is when statues of 63 saints are taken out of Kapaliswar temple at Mylapore, Chennai, for a sacred parade through the roads of Mylapore.

Festivals in Vellore

Wanna take a break with some adventure and cultural events for a change? Enjoy a therapeutic bath at the lovely Courtallam or Kuttalm waterfalls, 300 kms. from Vellore. Vellore is more a cosmopolitan city. Kanthuri festival held at the shrine of Saint Quadirwali, is celebrated with equal elan by people belonging to different communities and faiths --- Hindus, Muslims etc.

Kavadi festival marks offering of prayers to Lord Murugan. A 'kavadi' is a wooden stick with two baskets hanging to it laden with rice, milk, peacock feathers etc. to be offered to Lord Murugan. Some devotees even walk over a pt of burning red hot coal while carrying the 'kavadi'!

You should certainly take some time off to visit the nine day festival of Velankanni - the Goddess of health. 'Lourdes of the East' is well known for Virgin Mary's healing powers and attracts many tourists from all over the world. This place is just 303 kms. from Vellore.

Did you say 'golu'? Yes! It's time for Navratri celebrations in Vellore! Golu are dolls displayed during this festival here. Festival of lights also means Karthigai Deepam festival - a really colourful carnival on New moon day. And if you are a lover of music, there is the Carnatic music carnival at Thiruvariyar (289 kms.) held every year to pay tribute to Saint Thyagaraja.
Handicrafts of Vellore

Handicrafts in Vellore

Vellore is known for handicraft items as well. The hanging brass lamps, wooden handicrafts (jewellery box, carved wooden boxes), caned baskets and handicrafts, rosewood furniture, coloured toys made of clay and yes! animal figured toys of leather etc. are of superior quality and exported to foreign countries as well. You can buy carved artifacts, panchaloha idols, trendy terracotta and decorative wooden bangles at economical prices from shops in Vellore.

Rich culture indeed! That's Vellore for all of us! Visit the place and experience their hospitality - the flavour of their cuisine and the fervour of their unmatched dance forms.
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