Art and Culture of Kerala
The conventional classical dances and folk songs of the people, their rituals, their ballads and their rational pursuit- form the main treasures of the rich culture of Kerala. The culture and art of Kerala presents a number of martial arts and dance forms which are performed along with instrumental and vocal music. These forms of art are executed in the time of festivity or some celebration. Moreover, Kerala possesses a long custom of ritual and performing arts. These forms of art provide the state a unique character. The arts in Kerala are classified into four groups: folk art forms, classical art forms, martial art forms and temple music.
Classical art forms of Kerala
The classical art forms of Kerala include Koodiyattam, Chakyarkoothu, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Krishnanattam and Thullal. Some of these classical arts are as follows;
Manipravalam: This is a mix of Malayalam language and Sanskrit language, having its origin from Koodiyattam.
Kathakali: Kathakali is a classical Indian dance form. The style of Kathakali originated from Kerala itself and developed as a performing art.
Koodiyattam: Koodiyattam, also written as Kutiyattam, is a traditional performing art in the state of Kerala. It is a combination of ancient Sanskrit theatre with elements of Koothu, a Malayalam performing art.
Mohiniattam: Mohiniattam is another famous classical dance form of Kerala, performed by women as a solo dance. This dance requires extensive training. Mohini is the female avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu and involves various rhythms.
Folk art forms of Kerala
The folk art forms of Kerala are Theyyam, Kunhi Theyyam, Kalampattu, Kavadiyattam, Kaliyoottu, Kanniyarkali, Kummattikali, Kumbamkali, Pootamkali, Kolam Thullal, Thattumelkoothu, Thidampu Nritham, Mayilnrittam, Sarpapattu, Thiyyattu dance, Chavittunatakam, Padayani, Thiruvathirakali, Pulikkali, Cherumarkali, Kolkali, Margamkali, Ottamthullal, Vadithallu, Oppana, Poorakkali and Mudiyettu.
Theyyam: Theyyam is one of the prominent folk dances of Kerala where it is also called Thirayattam. This art is performed in every village temple in north Kerala. Theyyam also depicts the culture of the tribes. It is a ritual art form popular in Malabar region of Kerala. The performers of Theyyam generally perform in front of the village shrine along with drummers.
Kolam Thullal: Kolam Thullal is a ritual dance form prevalent in south Kerala. It is performed in houses and temples of Bhagavathy, a female deity. It is performed in order to drive away evil spirits from the "possessed" bodies.
Kalampattu: Kalampattu is performed as a vazhipad. Pattu kurup, a traditional community, performs this art. This offering is performed for the blessings of Gods like Bhadrakali, Ayyappan, Serpent God, etc.
Kummattikali: Kummattikali or Kummatti Kali is a famous colourful mask-dance of Kerala, prevalent in Thrissur District, Palakkad District and parts of South Malabar. This dance form is performed during the festival of Onam.
Martial Arts of Kerala
Kerala's martial art forms include Kalaripayattu, Parisakali and Velakali. Kalaripayattu is a modern combat art and is the most notable one. It evolved in the northern parts of Kerala. It is among the oldest martial art system in the world. The state has produced several valiant heroes who hold a place in the legends and folk songs of Kerala.
Music of Kerala
Music is also one of the Kerala's performing arts which include Sopana Sangeetham, Pancharimelam, Panchavadyam, Thayambakam and Pandimelam. Kerala possesses its own place in the field of Carnatic Music, formed by Swathi Thirunal, the former ruler of Travancore. His time of rule was known as the 'Augustan Age of Kerala Music'. Contribution of Kerala to folk music is noteworthy. Vadakkan Pattukal (northern ballads) observing the feats of heroes like Mappila pattukal, Thacholi Othenan (sung by the Mappilas of Malabar), vathil thurapattu (song appealing the bride to open the door) and vanchipattukal (boat songs) are some of them.