Thiruvananthapuram: Indian badminton icon and world champion PV Sindhu will be part of a centuries-old folk ritual art form in a sleepy village of Kerala later this week, but not through her physical presence.
A ceremonial 'kolam' (effigy) of Sindhu, holding badminton racket, will be made and put on display on September 27 at the finale of the famed 'Neelamperoor Padayani,' a 16-day-long annual ritual art to be held at Palli Bhagavathy temple in the state.
"Padayani' is a ritual performed at the 'bhagavathy' (goddess) temples in central Kerala. One of the oldest such shrines dedicated to Vanadurga (goddess) in the state, the history of Pally Bhagavathy temple at Neelamperoor located in the Kottayam-Alappuzha border, can be traced back to 1700 years, local people said.
Along with the conventional effigies of divine and semi-divine impersonations, 'padayani' artists of the village have decided to make the 'kolam' of Sindhu as a symbolic representation of women empowerment and her epic victory in the recent world championship.
The six-feet-high effigy of Sindhu will be made completely using natural ingredients like stem of arecanut tree, stem sheath of banana plantain, bamboo and lotus leaves and colour extracts of 'ixora' (chethi in local parlance) flower.
"The work is progressing and the effigy of P V Sindhu is nearing completion. It will be in the form of the girl holding badminton racket in her hand," Sreekumar, a villager, who is among those overseeing the preparations of the Neelamperoor Padayani, told PTI.
Unlike the other varieties of 'padayanies', the Neelamperoor Padayani gives freedom in the making of effigies, he said. "The traditional effigies like swan will be maintained as much. But, youngsters in the village are particular about bringing some novelty in the sub-effigies. Last year, we made one of iconic Argentine footballer Lionel Messi," he said.
Effigies representing the revolutionary consecration of Shiva idol for the backward Ezhava community by 20th century social reformer Sree Narayana Guru and 'Vasuki', the king of serpants in the puranas are the other innovative ones this time, he said.
Nearly 10 colourful effigies including the conventional 'valiya annam' (grand swam), small swans, 'bhima', 'ravana', 'yakshi', elephant' will enthrall audience during the padayani day.
The effigies, decorated with flowers accompanied by traditional drums, would be offered to please the deity on the final day of the 16-day-long festival. Several folk arts would also be performed during the day.
PV Sindhu had scripted history as she became the first Indian to win badminton World Championships gold by beating arch-rival Nozomi Okuhara of Japan last month.