Every year, during the Onam Festival in August or September, a curious activity takes place at Swaraj Round in Thrissur. The tigers come to town! Pulikkali, a traditional Kerala art form said to have originated in the late 18th century, sees people dress up as tigers. The name Pulikkali means "tiger play" or "tiger dance", and that's exactly what these man-tigers do. The best performer is selected out of the hundreds of participants.
The dressing up process is long and tiring, and requires a great deal of patience. Bodies must be shaved before the first coat of paint is applied. It's left to dry for a couple of hours, and then the second coat of paint is put on. Dancing like a tiger while dressed up in such a manner is no easy feat either!
When: Dates for future years: September 1, 2012. August 21, 2013. September 8, 2014. August 30, 2015.
How to Get There: Thrissur is located in central Kerala, in southern India. It's a two hour drive from Kochi. You can also travel there by train and bus. Swaraj Round, or Thrissur Round, is the local name for circular road around the center of the city.
Where to Stay: Hotel Elite International is located right near the action on Swaraj Round.
Read more about the Onam Festival.