Padayani, is a traditional folk dance and a ritual art from the central portion of the Indian state of Kerala. A ceremonial dance involving masks, it is an ancient ritual performed in Bhagavati temples. The dance is performed in honor of Bhadrakaali. Meaning, a ‘row of warriors’, Padayani is an art form that blends music, dance, theatre, satire, facial masks, and paintings. It is part of worship of Bhadrakali and is staged in temples dedicated to the goddess from mid-December to mid-May. Padayani is unique to central Travancore, comprising the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. Padayani is regarded as a remnant of the Dravidian forms of worship that existed before the advent of Brahmanism.
Padayani is like Theyyam in north kerala. The percussion instruments used in Patayani are patayani thappu, chenda, para and kumbham.