Guruttara is a Malayalam word for the designated location where a lamp is kept burning in reverence to all the guru (masters) of the kalari. A guruttara is maintained inside any kalari where kalaripayat is practiced.
At the age of seven, on an auspicious day or on the opening day of the new session, a novice is admitted to the kalari in the presence of the gurukkal (master) or a senior student, and directed to place his right foot across the threshold. The student then touches the ground with the right hand and his forehead, as a sign of respect. He is then led to the guruttara to repeat his act of worship. He then offers some money in folded betel leaves as dakshina (tuition fee) for the master and bows and prostrates himself before this person, touching his legs, as a sign of respect. The guru then places his hands on the pupil’s head, blessing him. This ritual of touching the ground, the puttara, the guruttara, and the guru’s feet, is to be repeated every day. It symbolizes a complete acceptance of the kalari deities, the master, and the rules and discipline of the art.