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Craft and Practices related to Karagam

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Believed to symbolise the Hindu goddess Mariamman, the Karagam is a vessel of water filled with sacred offerings, intricately tied and decorated with flowers, and balanced on the head of a pandaram (priest) (for the sakthi karagam) or a performer (for the aatta karagam) in an accompanying ritualistic dance known as Karagattam. The craft and practices related to karagam are a blend of elements which involve an intricate knowledge of traditional craftsmanship in constructing the karagam, as well as knowledge of traditional performing arts in the accompanying dance form. There are two main types of karagam: ‘aatta karagam’ which is usually prepared for and performed at cultural and performing arts events, and ‘sakthi karagam’ which has a deeply religious significance to the Hindu community, and is prepared for and performed in temples and in conjunction with religious events such as Theemithi (Firewalking Festival).

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