Temples and temple festivities are a part of life in Kerala, a religiously diverse and culturally abundant state. These temples are a home to many rituals which bare a mark of aesthetic, cultural and social aura around it. The symbolic rendering of the legendary Kali-Darika fight is such a ritual which used to be performed in a handful of temples in Kerala.
But at present Kattakambal Bhagavati Temple is the only place where this ritual is being performed annually. Believed to be one of the 108 Shiva temples built by Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the temple has its annual festivities in the month of Meenam according to the Malayalam calendar.
The Kali-Darika fight, performed in two days, is one of the main attractions of the annual festivities drawing the attention and presence of thousands to the temple premises.
Men dressed up like Kali, the goddess, and Darika, the demon, come face to face and symbolically fight with each other using verbal exchanges, facial expressions and hand postures and mudras. The male members of the interim caste Kallat Kurups are the privileged group to perform the ritual.
The right to perform as Kali and Darika transfers from one generation to the next. For the past five decades Shri Kallat Ramakurup was doing the role of Kali. But from 2006 onwards the right to perform as Kali got transferred to Shri Kallat Manikandan Kurup.