Kavadiyattam, a colorful ritual art, is a votive offering to Sree Subramanya. Basically of Tamil origin, Kavadiyattam is widely prevalent in the Subramanya temples all over Kerala during the festival seasons.
A Pookavadi is one decorated with brightly coloured artificial flowers; a mayilpeeli kavadi decorated using only peacock feathers and ambalakavadi, one shaped like the gopuram (tower) of a temple. A kavadi can rise up to a height of 10-18 feet.
The dancers twist and spin in a row. A group of such kavadi dancers make an exotic sight. The dancers gradually move in a frenzy, in step with the rising beats of percussion instruments like udukku, chenda etc., accompanying the procession. Sometimes nadaswaram, a wind instrument, is also used.