Kerala Arts & Culture

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Kerala Arts & Culture

Kathakali, 300 years old classical dance form is the most popular dance of the state. It represents a harmonious blend of dance, drama, and music. It is unique in several features and can be distinguished on the basis of make-up and costumes. Kathakali is better appreciated and understood with an understanding of Mudras – gestures of hands. The actors in a sense, translates background music into dance and drama. A story is frame-worked within an intricate array of lyrics and poems.

Ottam Tullal, is a solo dance in which the dancer wears colourful costumes as in Kathakali.
Staged during temple festivals, the performer explicates the verses through expressive gestures.

Chavittunatakom, a Christian art form of Kerala. Evolved at the turn of the 16th Century AD during the Portuguese colonization and bears definite traces of the European Christian Miracle Play.

Oppana, a dance form essential to the wedding entertainment and festivities of the Malabar Muslims. Maidens and young female relatives sing and dance around the bride, clapping their hands.

Kolkkali, a folk art mainly of the agrarian classes, Kolkkali is a highly rhythmic they never miss a beat. In Malabar, Kolkkali is more popular among Muslim men.

Thiruvathirakali is a dance performed by women, in order to attain everlasting marital bliss, on Thiruvathira day in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December- January).

Theyyam also known as Kaaliyattam, it is a ritual dance popular in north Kerala or the erstwhile Kolathunadu. Theyyam incorporates dance, mime and music and enshrines the rudiments of ancient tribal.

Koothu is a socio-religious art performed in the Koothambalam or the Koothuthara of temples, either independently or as part of Kootiyattam. It is a solo narrative performance interspersed with mime.

Tholppavakkoothu, literally meaning ‘leather puppet play’, is a ritual art performed during the annual festivals in the Kaali temples of Palakkad district.

Velakali, is a spectacular martial dance performed by men in some of the temples of southern Kerala. The dancers, clad in the traditional clothes and colourful headgear of the medieval Nair soldiers.

Kalamezhuthu: The kalam is a unique drawing also called dhulee chithram or powder drawing. The artist uses the floor as his canvas.

Margomkali is a ritual folk art of the Syrian Christians of Kottayam and Thrissur districts. A dozen dancers sing and dance around a lighted wick lamp ( Nilavilakku), clad in the simple traditional dress. 

Kavadiyattam, a colourful ritual art, is a votive offering to Sree Subramanya. Basically of Tamil origin, Kavadiyattam is widely prevalent in the Subramanya temples all over Kerala during the festivals.

Kummattikkali is a mask dance popular in some of the northern districts of Kerala. The dancers, wearing painted wooden masks and sporting sprigs of leaves and grass, go dancing from house to house.

Kalaripayattu the martial art form of Kerala is regarded as the oldest and most scientific in the world. Kararipayattu training aims at the ultimate coordination of the mind and body.