Exploring Intangible Heritage Marketing in Tourism: A Case Study of Kalaripayattu

Exploring Intangible Heritage Marketing in Tourism: A Case Study of Kalaripayattu

Attambayintatvida Vinodan, Sethumadhavan Meera
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6283-2.ch008
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This chapter investigates the potential of Kalaripayattu as a tourism product. The study adopted interview method both personal and telephonic to extract primary data from practitioners and tourists. The study result shows that various facets of Kalaripayattu practices provide scope for visual engagement, psychological engagement, spiritual/wellbeing engagement, therapeutic engagement, engagement in specialized treatment, and engagement in combat and self-defense applications. These engagement are found to be appropriate to develop tourism products which could meet the general, wellness, cultural, as well as health tourism sectors. Study further investigates the impeding factors, while developing Kalaripayattu as a tourism product and suggested strategies to overcome the same. The study also suggests that the contemporary marketing practice can create a vibrant market for Kalaripayattu, and thereby, this ancient martial art could become a unique selling proposition (USP) in the tourism market.
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According to Zarilli (1994), the origin of martial art is as old as the origin of mankind. He has explained that the resource scarcity and protection from predators are the basis of self-defense. In order to ensure the adequate supply of resource the living organism had to fight or to defend, to protect from the threats of life, either from a predator or other means, self-defense became inevitable. So, it has been identified that in order to ensure the basic and security needs, ‘defense’ has been practised. Whenever it became an essentiality of life it was practised in an organized manner collectively referred as martial arts. Later this has been used as a conflict redressal mechanism among humankind (Zarilli 1994). For the common man, these arts provide an exhilarating method of keeping himself fit and at the same time offering him the way of defending himself against an aggressor.

India offers various forms of martial arts developed with different objectives of ancient times. Notably, Kalaripayattu of Kerala, Thang-Ta and Sarit Sarak of Manipur, Inbuan Wrestling of Mizoram, Pari Khanda of Bihar, Thoda of Himachal Pradesh, Silambam is an ancient stick-martial art of Tamil Nadu, Gatka of Punjab, Sqay of Kashmir, Mardani Khel and Kushti/mallayudha of Maharashtra, Raibenshe of Westbengal and Lathi of Punjab and Bengal are the widely practiced martial art form of India. These art forms inter alia linked with the theories and practices of Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra, such as Kundalini (coiled energy), Prana (life force), Nadi (meridians), Chakra (aura) and Marmam (pressure points). Indian martial arts have influenced various other Asian martial arts, particularly within the Indian cultural sphere of Southeast Asia. The notable examples are Indon-Malay silat, Burmese naban and bando, Filipino escrima and kali, Indochinese kickboxing, Muay Thai from Thailand, Tomoi from Malaysia, Muay Lao from Lao, Pradal Serey from Cambodia. Similarly, Capoeira of Brazil has the lineage of Kalaripayattu (Mukherjee & Sen, 2017).

Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest martial arts traditions in the world. Kalari' means school/institution/ arena, and 'payat' is skill training, exercise or practice. Kalari aims to create healthy society by augmenting citizens with a sound mind and sound body. It is considered a most proficient warrior training programme and so fits out the body and the mind with an elaborate repertoire of movements and exercises. In practice, Kalari is synonymous with the institution of school, where students can assemble together, and knowledge can be acquired from an expert or Gurukkal (Master/Teacher). The practice of martial art Kalaripayattu was widely popular and well established with almost all people in Kerala, India transcending caste and community and gender.

Kerala the southernmost provincial state of India is renowned for its varied martial arts importantly Kalaripayattu (Fighting art of Kalari), Parisa Kali (Play with Shield), Valeru (Sword Throwing), Kunderu and Njaninmel Kali (Tightrope Walking). The Parisa Kali and Velakanni are mainly practised in North Malabar (Northern part of Kerala known as Malabar) and in Travancore (Southern part of Kerala). The mythological reference about the origin of the state mentions that the land of Kerala was created by Parassurama (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu), in search of a peaceful place for meditation, by throwing his battle-axe into the sea and the land of Kerala rose from the waters. The administration of the area progressed with Vedic school and established 64 Kalari (Gymnasiums) throughout the region. These Kalari’s were entrusted to various warriors with all secrets of divine warfare and practising tactics. In the course of time, this practice became Kalaripayattu (Kurup &Vijayakumar 1997). Moreover, Vishnu Purana (on Parasurama) and Dhanur Veda (Martial art) also reiterate that martial art originated in India. Based on all these references and the recorded evidence indicates that the origin of Kalaripayattu is from south India.

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