I’d like to see people each do a small, good thing, that overall makes a big difference. So I’ve been pondering that for a while. And I came up with something… Making a tape of stories or memories, sharing your experience with family members and friends, is a wonderful gift to you and your family. By making a tape, a special photo album, or a scrapbook for those you will leave behind, you can help create memories of times you shared. Some people, especially parents, write letters to the children who will survive them.
Kerala is famous for its its distinctive architecture and art, poets and musicians, its traditional dance forms, the ancient arts of woodcarving and wall-painting. Kathakali, krishnanattom, kolkkali, thiruvathirakali, koodiyattom, thullal, mohiniyattom etc are popular performing art forms of Kerala. 'The God's own country' is blessed with various art forms.
Classical Arts of Kerala
Bharata Natyam: It is believed to be india's oldest form of classical dance. This dance form which is called poetry in motion, has its hoary origins in the natya sastra written about 4000 b.c. by sage bharatha. This art form grossly disallows new fangled innovations or gimmicks except in repertoire and forms of presentation. It was originally known as 'dasi attam,' a temple art performed by young women called 'devadasis.'
This spectacular classical dance drama of kerala based on the guidelines laid by sage bharatha's natya sastra, the ancient treatise on dance and drama, is over 500 years old. This elaborate art form is usually performed in the evenings and continues up to dawn, and is an integral part of all temple and cultural festivals in kerala. The costumes and makeup are ornamental, elaborate and designed to give a superhuman effect. The actors do not speak or sing but enact the story through mudras (hand gestures), graceful movements and facial expressions. The themes of this awe inspiring art are taken from india's rich and colourful mythology. Music is an essential feature of kathakali, with two vocalists who sing to the accompaniment of a chengila (gong), elathalam (small cymbals), chenda and maddalam.
Krishnaattom / Krishnanaattom
Krishnaattom or Krishnanaattom is an audio-visual presentation that enacts only the story of Sree Krishna. It is mostly performed in temples in which the presiding deity is Sree Krishna. It's presented as an offering to the lord by the devotees. Therefore at least at the level of the psyche, Krishnaattom is a ritual. By legends and history this is an early precursor of Kathakali. No story can thus be enacted using Krishnaattom as a theatre style. Maanaveda, a great devotee of Krishna and a well-known ruler of the Zamaorin's dynasty of North Kerala, has been recorded as the foremost known connoisseur and patron of Krishnaattom. The roots of Krishnaattom could thus be traced to the mid-seventeenth century. To an untrained eye Krishnaattom has close similarities with Kathakali, especially in costumes and facial makeup. However, there are several major characters which use wooden facial masks. This practice is nearly absent in Kathakali. In the technique of acting the stress is on total body kinesthetic approach, and not the detailed elucidation with the help of hand-gestures and facial expressions. Two vocalists render Sanskrit lyrical contents in a style prevalent among the singers of the temple based rituals and rites. Some scholars refer to it as the 'sopaana style'. A percussion instruments called Edakka & madhalam, the metallic cymbals called Chengila & Elathaalam, provide the required rhythmic support. Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple is one place where daily shows are still continuing, except for few months during the monsoon and later. The presentation begins around 10 pm and ends by 2 am. The devotees present each day in the temple premises attend the devotional presentation and leave with a sense of solemn contentment.
This classical solo dance form combines the graceful elegance of bharatanatyam with the vigour and dynamism of kathakali, to create a mood that is predominantly sringara (erotic). The dance is usually performed on specially put up stages in connection with temple festivals. The costume is the traditional white mundu and melmundu of kerala. The hair is gathered and put up at the side of the head and adorned with jasmine, int the traditional style.
Koodi = combined. Aattom = play, performance etc. Koodiyattom is the most ancient Sanskrit theatre of Kerala, which has recently been recognised by the UNESCO, as the most tangible theatre form that maintains and propagates the verbal modes in theatre styles. Historians have traced its antiquity to pre-AD days. The Chakkyar community has been practising for centuries, this histrionic art as a hereditary family profession. The Nangiars (women) alone handle the female characters. They are from the central as well as the southern regions of Kerala. Koodiyattom is traditionally performed within the specially built building called 'koothambalam', within the precincts of certain temples. There is a specific area, defined for the performance. The audience require certain amount of scholarly preparation to fully enjoy the text and the nuances, as there is profound stress on the use of Sanskrit language, in methods specified by the concepts strictly adhered to in Sanskrit theatre. The plays are so elaborate and long, that hardly one sees the whole play being staged. Only an act is often presented, which itself will take several days to be completed. The preparatory procedures and stage business are highly intricate and precise, that one needs to go through years of training beginning at a young age of eight or ten. Even during the performance, it is not just the text that is enacted. Several extraneous matters are brought in for elucidation and didactic appeal. There is, however, a male domination in the plays and performance. In 2002, Natanakairali in association with the Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka, Gurukulam, Irinjalakkuda, staged Sakuntalam, which has prime importance to Sakuntala, a female character.
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). The dance is a celebration of marital fidelity and the female energy, for this is what brought Kamadeva (the god of love) back to life after he was reduced to ashes by the ire of Lord Siva. The sinuous movements executed by a group of dancers around a nilavilakku, embody 'lasya' or the amorous charm and grace of the feminine. The dance follows a circular, pirouetting pattern accompanied by clapping of the hands and singing. Today, Thiruvathirakali has become a popular dance form for all seasons.
Folk Arts of Kerala
Padayani is a ritualistic dance popular in and around the district of Pathanamthitta in Kerala, India. Performed in temples dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali, the Padayani is a week-long event. The performers wear colourful masks and spectacular headgears, called Kolams. The dance is performed in the evenings at the temple premises. Valiya Padayani on the seventh day marks the grand finale of the event. A ceremonial procession carrying motifs is held on this day. Music and drum ensembles add to the charm of the procession. Thappu, a one-sided drum is the major accompaniment. It is a round frame carved out of jack wood and covered with buffalo hide. Chenda, Para, Kumbham, Kaimani, Thamil and Kurumkuzhal are also used on specific occasions. Padayani is performed in the months of Kumbham, Meenam and Medam (February, March and April), according to the Malayalam calendar. The Othara Puthukulangara Devi temple, Kadammanitta Devi temple, Kadalimangalam Devi temple, Neelamperoor Palli Bhagavathy temple and Kurampala Puthenkavil Devi temple are some temples famous for Padayani performances. Besides the district of Pathanamthitta this art form is performed in several other temples in the districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha and Kollam.
Kalaripayattu is the comprehensive system of martial arts of kerala, regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Kalaripayattu training aims at the ultimate co-ordination of mind and body. The traditional training in a kalari includes specialisation in indigenous medical practices too. Kalaris are also centres of religious worship.
From ancient times, the deity Sastha or Ayyappan has been worshipped in Kerala. It is believed that it was Parasurama who brought Sastha and Bhadrakali for the protection of the land and the people. Hence the presence of numerous temples dedicated to Sastha and Bhadrakali.
Theeyati Nambiars come to the kalam in a dress suitable for the komaram. Wearing white cloth, tying red cloth around his waist, covering his body and hand with sandal paste, putting on the garland that he gets from the sanctum, and getting the sword, he moves about as komaram. It is a type of sword dance. During his dance he completely destroys the kalam. This is perhaps the most interesting, dramatic, and spectacular scene in the Theeyattu.
Kalampattu Thottam Pattu
Kalampattu (kalamezhuthu pattu) is a folk art form that belongs to the northern regions of kerala. This art form, which is over 600 years old is performed by a group of five to fifteen people in bhadrakali and ayyappa temples. The ritual is performed around the kolam - an elaborate picture, usually of bhadrakali, drawn on the floor, using five colours. The performance in the light of temple torches lasts through the night. The singers are neatly dressed with women wearing their hair on the side of the head. A series of songs (kalampattu) are sung to the accompaniment of nanthuni and elathalams.
Kaliyoottu is an eight day long colourful folk ritual which been acts the combat between goddess durga and the demon darika. The ritual is performed in different stages. The climax of the play - the ritual called paranettu - is performed on a specially constructed 100 feet high stage on the eighth day.
Kanniyarkali (deshathukali) is a ritual art dance from, which is performed to the accompaniment of devotional folk songs and the resounding beats of drum. It is usually performed in bhagavathy temples.
Arjuna nritham (the dance of Arjuna) is a ritual art performed by men and is prevalent in the Bhagavathy temples of Kerala. Arjuna, the most valiant of the five heroic brothers - the Pandavas - of the epic Mahabharatha, was also a renowned singer and dancer and is said to have propitiated goddess Bhadrakaali by a devotional presentation.
Kavadiyattam is a ritualistic dance form performed by devotees. The group of devotees wearing bright yellow or saffron costumes with ash smeared all over the body dance in a frenzy carrying kavadis on their shoulders. Kavadis are colourful bow shaped wooden structures rising six to ten feet tall. The ambalakavadi is structured and decorated like a temple. The pookavadi has clusters of colourful, paper, cloth or plastic flowers arranged on them. The resounding beats of percussion instruments like udukku and chenda and the nadaswaram are characteristic of the kavadi procession. It is usually offered in subramanya temples.
Kolkali: is a group dance form of the farming community in kerala. Twelve to twenty four dancers move rhythmically in a circle around the ceremonial lamp, tapping the two feet long wooden sticks held in their hands.
Also called koothu, is one of the oldest classical theatre arts of kerala. The solo dance is usually presented in the koothambalam of temples to the accompaniment of the mizhavu and elathalam. The performance begains with an invocation to the presiding deity of the temple. The narration is enlivened with the thandava dance movements, gestures and facial expression according to the guidelines in natya sastra. Koothu is distinct for its comic element which adds to its dramatic character. Themes are usually from the epics. The costume is colourful and bizarre with a strange headgear.
Nangyar Koothu is a variation of the Koothu performed by the Nangiars or the female members of the Chakkiar community. This is a solo dance drama mainly centred on the legends of Sree Krishna.
koothu drama by Devi!!. This is an old traditional Dance in south india , koothu in tamil, this people will act , dance and sing of their own and narrates the story of lord krishna.
Kutiyattam literally means "acting together" was evolved in the 9th century AD based on Bharatha's 'Natyasasthra'. This is the earliest classical dramatic art form of Kerala. Kutiyattam is enacted inside the temple theatre; there are two or more characters onstage at the same time, with the Chakkiars providing the male cast and the Nangiars playing the female roles. The Nangiars beat the cymbals and recite verses in Sanskrit, while in the background Nambiars play the Mizhavu, a large copper drum.
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. A popular Kummatti character is Thalla or the witch; the others represent various Hindu gods and goddesses. The songs deal with devotional themes and are accompanied by a bow like instrument called Ona-villu. No formal training is required to perform the Kummattikkali, and often the spectators join in the performance.
Pulikali / Kaduvakali
Pulikali is a colorful recreational folk art from the state of Kerala. It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam. Pulikali, also known as Kaduvaakali, is a 200 year old art, carefully preserved by the artists of the state. Literal meaning of Pulikali is the 'play of the tigers' hence the performance revolve around the theme of tiger hunting. The folk art is mainly practiced in Thrissur (Trichur) and Palghat districts of Kerala. Best place to watch the show is Swaraj Ground at Thrissur on the fourth day of Onam, where Pulikali troupes from all over the district assemble to display their skills.
It is one of the most elaborate and spectacular martial folk arts of kerala. This ritual art form is usually presented within the temple premises and is called thirumumbil vela when performed before the deity and kulathilvela when performed near the temple pond. Fifty or more performers in the traditional attire of soldiers, bearing colourful shields and swords or long canes, dance with war like steps in perfect orchestration with the resounding rhythm of the thakil, suddha maddalam, elathalam, kuzhal and trumpets. A few fighting techniques of kalaripayattu are also displayed in the course of the performance.