(Last Updated on : 08-01-2014)
Art of Kerala is of diverse forms. Several communities living in Kerala
contribute to a great extent to the rich and colourful culture and art of the state. The state is considered a haven for those who love drama, dance, music and festivals. There are numerous forms of art in Kerala like Ottamthullal, Kathakali
, Krishnanattam, Chakyar Koothu, Koodiyattam, Kalaripayattu
, Padayani, Pavakathakali, Velakali, Theyyam
, Kolkali, Thiruvathirakali, etc. Kerala is chiefly known for several other forms of art including poetry and music along with some craft forms like sculpture, murals and architecture.
The conventional classic 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.
The classical art forms of Kerala include Koodiyattam, Chakyarkoothu, Kathakali, Mohiniattam
, Krishnanattam and Thullal. Koodiyattom is one of the popular classical art forms of Kerala which had its origin two millennia ago and it has its link with Kerala's Sanskrit theatre. Manipravalam is a mix of Malayalam language and Sanskrit language
having its origin from Koodiyattam. The folk art forms of Kerala are Theyyam, Kunhi Theyyam, Kalampattu, Kavadiyattam, Kaliyoottu, Kanniyarkali, Kuthiyottam, Kummattikali, Kumbamkali, Pootamkali, Kolam Thullal, Thattumelkoothu, Thidampu Nritham, Mayilnrittam, Sarpapattu, Thiyyattu dance
, Padayani,Thiruvathirakali, Pulikkali, Cherumarkali, Kolkali, Margamkali, Ottamthullal, Vadithallu, Oppana, Poorakkali and Mudiyettu. 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.
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 is among the oldest and broadest 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. Kalaripayattu 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.
The substance of Kerala's performing arts is largely religious and because of this these art forms touch the chord of common man. These forms of art are traditionally executed in temples and social gatherings like marriages, or in Onam
celebrations and Thiruvatirai etc. unfortunately, a number of these performing arts are today in a dying state because of several factors. Various cultural organisations and the government are trying their best to keep the traditional art of Kerala alive. To put it in a crux, art of Kerala reflects the lifestyle of its inhabitants. It can be the famous Kathakali, regarded as a complete form of art as its creates the best in the fields of music, drama and dance, or it can also be the folk dances which reflect the rhythmical momentum of a sensible group of people, the treasure house of art of Kerala is no doubt a banquet for art lovers.