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Pulikali is a folk art which is commonly seen during Onam festival. Pulikali is also called as Kaduvakali. Pulikali is common in Palakkad and Thrissur district of Kerala. It is estimated that Pulikali has started before 200 years. Pulikali originates during the rule of Maharaja Ramavarma. He asked his people to bring a new folk art which reflects wild and fun. Later Muslim soldiers give a new face to the folk art by dancing in roads in a Muharam day. They introduce new steps and face to the folk art and Pulikali is held in memory of this.
Mainly Pulikali consist of two characters. A tiger and a hunter. The character "tiger" will paint his whole body as tiger. The face of tiger is sketched on the stomach of the actor. Masks of tigers are also used to cover the face. The character "Tiger" has to imitate the movements of tiger. The make up of Pulikali is a tough task. At first the actor has to remove all hairs from the body. Then paint is applied on his body which is a long procedure usually extends for 7-8 hours.
Modern Pulikali is organized in Swaraj Ground in Thrissur on fourth day of Onam. In the particular day troops from all parts of the district assembles in ground as "Puli". We can see thousands of small and big tigers in swaraj ground in that day.