Pulivesham is one of the most popular folk
dance forms in Andhra
Pradesh. It is popular among both Hindus and Muslims. Literally it
means "Tiger Dance", it's an open-air performance usually
performed during Dusshera or Moharrum in villages, and during festivals of
local deities like 'Paidi Talli'.
It has no ritualistic implications, except that people who undergo tentative physical disabilities or diseases would pray that they would take up the tiger's role during the ensuing festival if they were cured.
As such there is no costume specifically worn by the dancer, his body is painted to give an appearance like that of a tiger. The dancer's face is covered with a tiger mask. Two participants perform this dance where one plays the role of a tiger and the other of an archer. After a long duel, the tiger is shown wounded by the archer. In vengeance the tiger prowls and pounces upon the archer, but soon dies. Thus, the archer emerges triumphant from the clutches of the ferocious animal.