Tour with Shailesh: Alamikali – a lost tradition of Kasargod

Bakel Fort, Kasargod

Kasaragod is located at the northern end of Kerala, comprising of Hosdurg and Kasaragod taluks which were part of undivided Kannur District. In the east the district is Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka, the Arabian Sea in the west, and the Kannada District of Karnataka in the north. The district is bounded by the Kannur district.

Recently, Bekal Resorts Development Corporation Limited  (BRDC), has conducted a tour programme named ‘SMiLE Ambassador Tour’ as part of their experiential tourism ventures, which has started on 5th and concluded on 8th December.  The participants of the event were the members from the travel and tourism industry. The event has been organized in association with the Association Tourism Trade Organizations India (ATTOI).

Performers of Alamikali

One of the entertainments shocased for the tourists was Alami Kali, a traditional dance form prevailing in Kasargod. Alamis were said to be the soldiers of the Mysore King Tipu Sultan, who invaded these parts of Malabar coast during the British Raj.  It has a link to the Muharram celebration as well which was related to the war of Karbala.

Hazrath Imam Hussain who fought against the misrule of the dictator Yazeedi has faced several atrocities . Yazeedi’s soldiers coloured their body in fearful black to scare the children of Hussain.

Alamis with bare feet visit households as beggars during 10 festive days of Muharram chanting traditional songs. The body of Alamis are dark coloured with white spots to scare onlookers but their songs pacify also.

This Alamikkali originated from the now famous Alamipalli in Kanhangad where several families of Urdu speaking Hanafi sect of Muslims were concentrated and later spread to other parts of the district and to Mangalore.

The play was widely accepted as a secular way of entertainment where Hindus have an exclusive right to perform in Muslim customary rituals.

In this video, Shailesh Nair shows the Alami Kali performed by the local artists.

Shailesh Nair

Shailesh is the Managing Director of Kochi-based Mystikal Holidays and Director of Green Earth Hotels and G E Ventures.

Tour Operator, Hotelier, Tourism Technology Enthusiast, Speaker on Tourism, Vlogger & Voice Over Artist