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Onatharu Theyyam – Information – Story – Onathar Theyyam

Onatharu Theyyam is a rare theyyam seen only during the Onam festival period in North Kerala especially in Kannur, Kasaragod and other nearby regions. As per information, this is a male theyyam. As per Onathar Theyyam story he is Bhagavan Vishnu who appears to bless devotees and, in some regions, he is King Bali who visits his subjects.

In Kanhangad and Nileshwar region of Kasaragod district, Onathar symbolizes Bhagwan Vishnu. The theyyam is seen as Gopala Krishna nor child form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. However, in certain other regions, Onathaar represents King Mahabali. In these regions, Onathaar arrives on the days of Uthradam and Thiruvonam.

Men or boys of Vanna community adorn this theyyam.

The theyyam has a unique headgear with a three-headed serpent on it.

In certain localities, Onathar theyyam comes to homes from the day of Atham to Thiruvonam.

‘Onavillu’ and ‘Ottachenda’ are played when the theyyam arrives and Onatharu moves to the rhythm of these. Onathar theyyam dresses up in elaborate costumes and will have detailed tattoo works on his face. He will also have a crown on his head.

Onathaar dances around Pookkalams, accompanied by music. The story told through these songs is the one that details the arrival of Mahabali. These songs are referred to as Mavelipattu and Onapattu.

The theyyam visits homes and prays for peace and prosperity. Onatharu theyyam receives rice and money as donation.