In the forest division of Thiruvanadapuram- paruthipally, kulathupuzha, palode range- kottoor, klamala and palode reserve forest the tribal group mostly seen at “kanikkar”. A few are seen in Kollam district. Among the tribes they are 25% and they are the most number of the tribes living in the forest now. Many of migrated to main stream and much difference can not been seen in them. Their childrens are educated, employed and been there is change in their life style and thoughts. There is significant different in their words and style. Their main food is the tribes such as “neduveli” and “nooran”. They use medicinal plants to use their disease. Still some of them are living in the forest. There houses made of mud and bamboo sticks. The roots are made up with bamboo sticks and its leaves and not high. In some houses rooms are separated. Like all communities kanikkar also have their own tradition and rituals. “ayiravally” thampuran is the deity. They say many stories about kanikkar. ‘kani’ means one who shows. They claim that they are the king of forest whole shows the forest recourses to the kings of land. Hence they are named as ‘kanikkar’. Another story also exist, one who sees kani s a kanikkaram ‘kani’ means ‘seeing for the first time’ they claim that when shiva and goddess parvathy came in forest, they were first to see them. The place they live called “uru”, each “uru” led by mootukani or urumuppan(a person who is a leader and takes decision) ie; the kanikkar lived in 36 places. Based on the area of these places the settlement is named as 36 1/2 kani. According to tribal language ‘Mala arayaru’ and kanikkar are siblings. The people who had come in search of fish to land called mala arayru or meenpilla and the one who have gone into forest on search of honey are called kanikkar or thean pilla( meen= fish, thean= honey). As they lived in forest their living conditions, daily routines and rituals are closely knit to the forest atmosphere. Even one who has migrated to the land followed the same rituals. Chattupattu is best example.


it is held in a specially prepared area called ‘kalam’. Its lead by plathy(black magician). They prepare padukka for that which is kept in ‘thoosanila’. padukka includes malar, banana, forest flower, and vettila and arathavellam( made by turmeric). Image It conducts by seven people. Ones of them will sing and other will follow him. The musical instrument will called “kokkara” made with iron. Chattupattu is considering as interconnecting with god. They get solution for all their problems. It is a tribal which pleases forest gods and muthan and muthi. There are many types of chattupattu depending on situation and problems.

Pini Chattupattu

‘ pini’ means diseases, if diseases is not cured of medicine and condition as incurable, they will conduct pinichattu under the leader ship of plathy.

Chavu Chattupattu

This is done after death. This is to conjure and snaffle dead souls in a place. This is done one year after death. If the death is natural, then they call the spirit and settle it. If it is unnatural, the people who called faces may difficulty, and they call spirit and enquired about the death and conjure, then settle it. It is done by mantras bathing in seven seas.

Kalam vilakki chattu

This is done to purify and increase the strength of kalam. Image This is done during the month of makaram and meenam, once in year. They call out the kings and those who are closely selected to him like, mallan veeran, kalatt thampuran, kanni chavukal, kottarath thampuran, peli chavu, anna chavu, pambu chavu, muppathi mukkodu deavakalum etc, these are inceres their stragth of the kalam.

Mannatch chattu

This is to cure the problems caused by evil eyes. This is different from other chattu. The plathi or which with his inner eyes sea a place and prepares a flower shed. The place is cleaned and two potation are built one is for udaya thampuran and other for the concept pongala is made. Making pachari, a rooster for thampuran (king) and hen for thampuratti(queen) cocked and this is spreded over the patients by the plathi. They say that with this ‘mannu’ is removed. Mannu means all evils. These all evils are removed.

Mannatch chattu

Vazhavetti chattu : vazha means plantain. Mootukani without anyone seeing plants a karimkadali( a type of plantain). When it send forth fruit he cuts of all fruits except one when the chattu of the plathi is over a person who receives the blaring will go and being the saw unknown fruit with that blessing. This shows the honesty and the power of their belief.


it is held in a specially prepared area called ‘kalam’. Its lead by plathy(black magician). They prepare padukka for that which is kept in Image

By this chattu they please their tribal guru( tribal lord) agasthya guru. They weekends the evil power and pleases agasthya guru. They still follow the ritual of throwing fire to tie-up the evils sprits. Through this they straighten their guru. This is done on the day before ( shivarathri). Alone with they do chavallam thullal- they shiver their bodies with the pointed bamboo stick in handed; they believe that they bind evil powers.


each kanikkaran will conduct ganapathi pooja for problem solving. They tie kazhuvan stick in triangle in that they tie plantain bark and tender palm levees. They put this own shoulders and walk to the uru. Other followers them with bamboo musical instruments.

Image Gallery


Contact Us

Centre for Endangered Languages of Kerala Dept.of Linguistics

University of Kerala, Kariavattom Campus, Kariavattom PO Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala-695581 (Off) : +91-471-2308469 (Mob) : +91-9446084361
(email) : premkirshnas@yahoo.co.in, celkuok@gmail.com