A mayilattam performer

Mayilattam (Tamil: மயிலாட்டம்) is an artistic and religious form of dance performed in the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in reverence to Murugan, a regional form of the Hindu deity Kartikeya. Literally translating as the "peacock dance",[1] the performers seat themselves upon a peacock replica, which is the mount of the deity.[2]


Mayilattam performers wear costumes from head to toe with headdresses and peacock feathers,[3] that can be opened and closed using a thread, and perform specific dances. The performers dance on a tall piece of wood attached at the end of their feet. This dance is performed in all Murugan temples as a tradition during festivals. The number of Mayilattam performers is decreasing due to financial reasons. The Mayil Attam dance is thought to have originated in Tamil Nadu, where ladies used to perform it to honor Lord Subrahmanya, also known as Kartikeya or Murugan, the son of Shiva and Parvati.This dance is typically performed by females dressed in the most stunning peacock forms. This art needs a lot of practice and training. During festivals, this dance is performed in all Murugan (Lord Subrahmanya) temples as a custom. Mayilattam dance isn't complete without the appropriate attire. Along with the show, the dress code adds to the allure. Imitating the movement and style of a peacock is part of the dance movement. The dancer demonstrates how the bird cleans its feathers with its beak and legs, with meticulous planning and execution. The melody is then followed by close steps going at a slow rhythmic speed. As the time and rhythm speed, each movement follows a circular pattern. Finally, when the music reaches its height, the circular pattern's order is shattered. However, because of difficulty in practising and lower pay for dancers, the number of Mayilattam performers is dwindling.[4]


  1. ^ Madhavan, Arya (1 January 2010). Kudiyattam Theatre and the Actor's Consciousness. BRILL. p. 113. ISBN 978-90-420-2799-2.
  2. ^ Knapp, Stephen (2005). The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment, and Illumination. iUniverse. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-595-35075-9.
  3. ^ Snodgrass, Mary Ellen (8 August 2016). The Encyclopedia of World Folk Dance. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-4422-5749-8.
  4. ^ "Dance forms of Tamilnadu". Archived from the original on 14 August 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.