A GoodEarth initiative; traditional martial art Kalari comes alive



3 min. read

Overlooking River Baveli and the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is the Pazhassiraja Kalari Academy in Peravoor, Kannur district, north Kerala.

The Kalari academy initiated by GoodEarth and Gurukkal Sreejayan, the Kalari master, has matured into one of the best in the country over a decade.

Kalaripayattu is a traditional Indian martial art form with strong roots in Kerala, especially the northern district of Kannur. 

Kalari is much more than the adrenaline rush that’s generated by combat exercises, and the wielding of the weapons.

Kalari is a way of life. It is about balancing and having the body and the mind in sync with each other.

A Kalari practitioner is, thus, a ‘peaceful warrior.’

Kalari is a fine blend of steps (Chuvatu) and postures (Vadivu). The postures which form the basis of the martial art are named after the animals such as peacock, elephant, cat and others and are eight in number. And Kalari comprises four stages.
In the first stage,’Maithari’ the student’s body is toned. In ‘Kolthari,’ the second stage, students are taught feats using sticks. While in the third stage, ‘Angathari,’ they are taught to wield metal weapons and in the fourth, the final stage, ‘Verumkai,’ they have to fight and defend themselves against the opponent, empty handed.
Although age seven is when children are taken into the fold of Kalari, there’s no age limit. The plus of learning Kalari is manifold. Parents of children who train at the academy noted that their kids’ health improved, and that they grew calm.

Tucked away in a quiet corner, the centre on a half-acre plot houses the Kalari training academy, a massage parlour, rooms for stay and a dining corner.

The academy is named after Pazhassiraja, one of the earliest freedom fighters in India and popularly known as the Lion of Kerala.

Since the academy was set up, Sreejayan, the Master Kalari trainer, has been single-handedly running it. From roping in children from the areas nearby to training them every day from 5 am to 7: 30 am, Sreejayan does it all.

The martial art form is taught free for kids from the neighbouring areas comprising both girls and boys. Sreejayan teaches Kalari to girls at the local government school.

Prasanna and Sunil Kumar M, an ex-serviceman (Army) manage the academy.

Today, nearly 90 girls and 70 boys are trained in the age groups between 7 and 22 years.

Kalari massage

A Kalari trainer is a masseur too. They are the medicine men, adept in the massage therapy for wellness and rejuvenation of the body. Here at the academy too Sreejayan is the masseur.

In times such as now when the lifestyle, food habits and the indescribable stress of living and working in cities take its toll on people, a Kalari massage in the hands of a seasoned Kalari trainer would be a welcome luxury.

The stay

For those wanting to break away from the din of city life and revive their body and spirit, the academy is the place. Under one roof it offers Kalari training and the much-famed Kalari massage.

Perform Kalari, take a massage and enjoy the food from the region. Experience the quietude and reconnect with the self.

Peravoor –Look around

For those who wish to explore, we have Mridanga Shaileshwari temple-the family deity of Pazhassiraja, the warrior chief after whom the centre is named, Kottiyoor Siva temple, Pazhassi Dam and garden, Meenmutty falls, Brahmagiri falls, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary…

For sports enthusiasts, Peravoor is the hometown of the volleyball legend Jimmy George-the first Indian professional volleyball player to have played for Italy and Abudhabi.

And for those who don’t want to chart a predictable path, the opportunities are immense…

Relax at the centre nestled in the green cover and grow silent with the River Baveli, the birds and the butterflies; the bees sucking honey from Samudra Pachche with purple flowers leisurely, and feel the rains.


Rains arrive unannounced, pours and takes leave. It then reappears and the peekaboo continues; you are drawn to its sound, the patterns and the periodicity; something in you lights up and you are cleansed.

Rains here have a character of their own.

Take a walk in Peravoor or in the neighbouring villages Manathana, Tondiyil…board a local bus, look at the temple ponds with emerald-green waters, watch people for whom rains form an indispensable part of their lives, stalls with wall paintings of Che Guevara, posters can be spotted here and there, youths discussing assiduously, while the men and the women go about their daily business; sip the hot ‘kattan chai,’ and savour a host of snacks Pazham pori, Pathiri, Neyyappam, Ullivada, Sugiyan, Elayada, Achappa, Kalthappam, Unnakaya…

Come enjoy a slice of life and carry the beauty with you.