About Kerala -

Kerala Art & Culture


Kerala - Art & Culture
Art and Culture
Kerala Art and Culture

  Culture of Kerala

The culture of Kerala is a composite and cosmopolitan culture to which several people and races have made their significant contributions. A majority of the people of Kerala are Dravidians, who also inhibit most of the southern part of India. Hinduism is the principal religion with considerable percentages of Muslims and Christians.

Kerala specialises in bell metal, wood, cane, fibre and coconut shell craft. Kathakali models in wood, painted in the vibrant colours of the art form are popular souvenirs, as are rosewood elephants, miniature models of snake boats, baskets, trays and furniture made of cane, coconut shell cups, vases and spoons. Necklaces and bead curtains fashioned out sea shells, bell metal lamps and scultpures, exquisitely crafted, screwpine articles, lacquerware, terracota, wooden toys and dolls, intricate gold jewellery appreciated by women of taste all over the worlds. The Aranmula Kannadi, the unique metal mirror craft of Kerala has no parallel in the world.

  Dance and Arts of Kerala

Kerala is also famous for its art, poets and musicians, its traditional dance forms, and also, its distinctive architecture.

Kathakali : It is a very old dance form developed exclusively in Kerala combining the performing art forms of opera, ballet, masque, and pantomime.

Kalaripayattu: The martial art form of Kerala is believed to be the predecessor to the more famous Karate and Kungfu. Available historic evidence prove practice of Kalari as far back as the 12th Century AD. There is a branch of medicine called Kalari Chikilsa, which has developed as an offshoot of Kalaripayattu, is mainly deals with cure of injuries and sprains.

Mohiniyattam : It is a semi-classical dance form. It contains elements of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi. It is based on the story of ‘Mohini’, the mythological seductress. The movements are graceful like that of Odissi and the costumes sober and fascinating. It combines songs in Malayalam with Carnatic music. It is performed mainly in Kerala. It is essentially a solo dance.

Chakyar Koothu : This is a very ancient dance form of Kerala. It is believed to have been introduced by the early Aryan immigrants . This is performed by the members of the Chakkiar caste. It is a highly orthodox type of entertainment. It is staged inside temples only and the theatre is known as ‘Koothambalam.’ The performances are usually witnessed by the Hindus belonging to the higher castes. In Chakyar Koothu, the story is recited in a quasi-dramatic style with emphasis on eloquent declarations with appropriately suggestive facial expressions and hand gestures.

Bharatnatyam : It is believed to be India’s oldest form of classical dance. This dance form which is called poetry in motion.

Cherumarkali : It is a harvest dance in which the dancer, both men and women move in a swift rhythm, linked in a back lock or holding arms. The costumes are in striking red and white.

Kalampattu : It is another 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 or fifteen people in Bhadrakali and Ayyappa temples. The rituals is performed around the Kolam - an elaborated 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 their hair on the side of the head. Aseries of songs (Kalampattu) are sung to the accompaniment of nanthuni and elathalam.

Kaliyoottu : It is an eight day long colourful folk which re-enacts 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 eight day.

Other dance forms of Kerala are Krishnanattom, Thullal, Koodiyattom, Kolkkali, Thiruvathirakali, Kakkarishi Natakom, Oppanna and Chavittunatakom. Panchavadyam, Nadanpattu, Omanathinkal Kidavo and many more music forms have evolved over the centuries in Kerala.