is a spectacular martial dance performed in a few temples of Southern
Kerala by Nair warriors holding wooden swords and shields.
The dancers, clad in traditional clothes and colourful headgear of medieval Nair soldiers, engage in vigorous movements and dexterous sword play, to the accompaniment of an orchestra comprising 'Maddalam', 'Ilathalam', 'Kombu' and 'Kuzhal'.
Velakali originated in Ambalappuzha where Mathoor Panicker, a chief of the Chempakasserri army, promoted it to boost the martial spirit of the people. Velakali is a regular feature at the Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple festival in Alappuzha district.