Last Practitioner Of Kerala's Nokkuvidya Pavakali Puppetry Honoured With Padma Shri

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Moozhikkal Pankajakshi, considered to be the last practitioner of Kerala's traditional puppetry Nokkuvidya Pavakkali, has been conferred with Padma Shri award.

Written By Ruchit Rastogi | Mumbai | Updated On:
Padma Shri Honour

Considered to be the last practitioner of Kerala's traditional form of puppetry Nokkuvidya Pavakkali, Moozhikkal Pankajakshi was named as one of the recipients of India's fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri Award. Moozhikkal was named as a recipient under the category of arts.

Moozhikkal started performing from the age of 8

According to reports, Moozhikkal Pankajakshi's ancestors had been performing the ancient form of puppetry for five centuries in Kerala. The Padma Shri recipient has been practising the art form since the age of eight and has been performing this puppet theatre form across India and world. The 81-year-old puppeteer has been acknowledged for preserving an art form under the threat of extinction.

According to reports, Moozhikkal learned the form of puppetry from her parents, who used to perform Nokkuvidya Pavakkali in houses and temples. Pankajakshi stopped performing a few years ago after she lost her front teeth after which she was unable to balance the puppets.

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Nokkuvidya Pavakali

Nokkuvidya Pavakali is a centuries-old form of puppetry originating in the state of Kerala. In this art form, the puppets made of wood are poised on a tall pole and balanced on the puppeteer's upper lip, specifically between the nose and the upper lip. The puppet is balanced and manipulated with the help of a string in the puppeteer's mouth. The puppet show is accompanied by songs and retelling of stories from Indian epics.

Encyclopedia of the forest

Tulasi Gowda, also known as the 'Encyclopedia of the forest' and someone with a vast knowledge of diverse species plants and herbs, was also named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Padma Shri Award. The 72-year-old have nurtured more than 40,000 trees so far and still continues to nurture them and share her knowledge with the people to carry forward the message of environment protection. According to reports, she belongs to the Honalli village in Karnataka and is from the Halakki tribe.

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