Performing Arts >Margamkali


Margamkali is a folk art performed by the Syrian Christian community of Kerala (especially the Knanaya sect), particularly in Kottayam and Thrissur districts. The word margam means path or religion. The theme of the margamkali performance is the activities and travels of Mar Thoma (St Thomas) in the Malabar region and his martyrdom.

Earlier margamkali used to be performed only by men, but now women also perform this dance. It is now popular as part of Syrian Christian weddings as well as on stage as part of cultural programmes and school/college competitions. The men's costumes used to be simple – mundu (dhothi worn in the South Indian style) with gold border and a head cloth. With women entering the performances, traditional Christian jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, anklets, etc. are also being worn.


Contributed by: Neethu, CEE Kannur Field Office

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Muslin Fabric

This gossamer light muslin fabric has found mention in the writings of many visitors to India, even as far back as the 3rd century B.C. A great deal of muslin was produced in and exported from Bengal. Dacca was the main region where cotton was cultivated due to the high humidity of the region, which prevented the delicate thread from breaking on contact with the air. The cotton spun was very white since the Brahmaputra and the Ganges Rivers have bleaching properties. The chikan workers in Bengal used this fine muslin for embroidery.

Stitches in Chikankari

Double-Star Earring, Peacock Feather's Eye, Sidhual, Makra, Mandarzi, Bulbulchashm, Tajmahal, Phooljali, Phanda, Dhoom, Gol, murri, Janjeera, Keel, Kangan, Bakhia, Dhania Patti, lambi Murri, Kapkapi, Karan Phool, Bijli, Ghaspatti, Rozan, Meharki, Kaj, Chameli, Chane ki Patti, Balda, Jora, Pachni, Tapchim Kauri, Hathkati and Daraj of various types.