Masks are made from the timber of a tree locally known as “kaduru”. This tree grows in marshy lands borderingthe paddy fields. Its stem is covered with a bark which sheds a milky liquid like latex. Its wood is soft and easy to cut. When dried, it is very light and resembles “Balsa”. The English term of this variety is Nux vomica.
Masks are classified as Raksha, Kolam and Sanni. All these three varieties are used for dancing and decorative purposes. Raksha Masks are often seen in processions and festivals. The Kolam Masks are utilized for staging comic plays depicting ancient stories. Sanni Masks are used in devil dancing ceremonies to cure illnesses. Infact, there are about twenty four kinds of rakshas known by different names such as Naga Raksha, Gurulu Raksha, Maru Raksha etc.