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Kerala Art and Culture


Kerala Art and Culture
Rich cultural heritage of Kerala fascinates the tourists a lot. The art and culture of the state dates backs to centuries portraying various dance forms and martial arts performed with the help of both vocal and instrumental music. Most of these art forms are performed during festivals or celebrations. Kerala is rich in myriad art forms which are grand spectacle of colors and costumes.

Kathakali :
Kathakali is an ancient art form of Kerala and is known over the world over by its own art performance. Kathakali literally stands for "Katha" means story and "Kali" for dance. This art form beautifully combines the dance, drama and music that the connoisseurs of art world qualified as 'a total art form of immense sophistication and power'. Kathakali is actually a form of dance formerly confined only to the festival stages in temples.

Krishnattam :
Krishnattam is another form of dance drama, depicting the frolics and divinity of Lord Krishna, enacted in Guruvayoor Temple. This unique dance form is now performed in many stages both for religious and tourist entertainment.

Chakyar Koothu :
Chakyar is one of the upper class Hindus, living by the sacrament food and meager salary from the temple. They are dependent on the temple, adept in telling stories from the legends in a humorous and enchanting manner. Koothu literally means dance which may be taken as an index of the importance attached to dance in the original form of art. Its enchanting art form has its own place in the Kerala art form.

Ottanthullal :
Ottamthulal is a prominent performing art form of Kerala created by the legendary poet Kunchan Nambiar, during the 18th centuary. This solo dance performance needs colorful costumes with green make up. A single performer recites the song and dances while acting. Ottamthullal is considered as poor man’s Kathakali. Usually the performance lasts for a couple of hours.

Koodiyattam :
Koodiyatam is yet another temple opera performed jointly by Chakyars and Nambiars. The literal meaning of the title Koodiyattam is the concomitant dancing. This dance form was traditionally enacted in temples. It is offered as a votive offering to the deity where both men and women partake in this performance. Koodiyattam is the 2000 year old predecessor of Kathakali where Abhinaya or acting is the most important element.

Ramanattam :
The classical Indian dance drama Ramanattam was formatted by the King of Kottarakkara, King Kerala Varma. It is an oldest art form meant to be performed only in the Guruvayoor temple. The artists wear rich costumes and jewellery while enacting the play. The whole Ramayanam was composed brilliantly for this art form.

Mohiniyattam :
Mohiniyattam is the typical dance form of Kerala. The term literally depicts enchantress for Mohini and dance for attam. It is an amorous (Lasya) dance performed in slow, elegant and sensuous pace with formulated hand gestures translating the song to which it is performed. This dance form has close relation to Bharathanatyam of Tamil Nadu, which was originally called 'Dasiyattam'. It was actually originated as the temple dance performed by Devadasis. Mohiniyattam portrays feminine love in its myriad forms - carnal, devotional and maternal- with accent more on Lasya and Bhava.


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