Cultural Art Forms of Kerala

Visiting Kerala’s cultural art forms while you visit the state will be an enthralling experience during your holidays. Kerala tour packages for family with a visit to these old cultural art forms will open up a lot of information about the vibrant and elegant culture of the state. The art forms depict different aspects of the tradition and culture of Kerala. It showcases a lot about our history and rituals. Here is a list of some amazing art forms of Kerala that are still performed, some though rarely, and tell manye beautiful stories of our rich tradition and culture.

Kathakali

Kathakali

Kathakali is one of those magical and magnificent art forms of Kerala which is extremely complex to learn and perform. It is a long process which leaves a magical impression on the audience. It is unlike any dance form we are used to seeing. There are very few swift movements of legs. But the eyes, face and the hands are always moving, visualizing the story being told. Kathakali takes a very long time to learn and master. The makeup is an art in itself. Rice flour and organic colours are used for the makeup for Kathakali. Each character is painted a different colour on face. Each character has a different crown to put on. The rice flour is used to make an extension mask of the face for certain characters. The dress is totally handloom and silk and is manually layered to look like an umbrella. Kathakali is usually performed based on mythical stories from Mahabharatha and Ramayana. Some stories are performed overnight and some others over a week during the nights. Tourists on Kerala tour packages for couple can enjoy a shorter performance.

Krishnanattam

Krishnanattam

This is similar to Kathakali but a simpler form. Krishnanattam is performed on stories based on Lord Krishna. Krishnanattam is particularly performed at the Guruvayoor Temple.

Mohiniyattom

Mohiniattom

Mohiniyattom was created to be performed by the Mohinis or the enchanting women. During the earlier years, women were not allowed to perform on stage, particularly on temple stages. Men used to dress up as women and perform the women characters instead. Mohiniyattom required the women to perform. Unlike Bharathanatyam and other classical dance forms, Mohiniyattom mainly concentrates on the romance, devotion and maternal love. It is very slow and the dancer elegantly performs the story with the facial expressions and hand mudras. Those on Munnar Tour packages from Bangalore can enjoy a live performance specially arranged at their resort.

Koothu

Koothu

There are 2 versions of Koothu – the male version is known as Chakyar Koothu and the female version known as Nangyar Koothu. This can be called one of the earliest stand-up comedy shows ever performed. The Chakyar or Nangyar is dressed up highlighting his eyes. Red, white and black colours are only used for makeup. They tell the mythical stories in a humorous way and have the license to even laugh at the king, who has come to enjoy the show!

Ottamthullal

Ottamthullal

Thullal was started by the noted drummer and writer of the ancient years Kunjan Nambiar. It is similar to Koothu and was started as a rival to Koothu. The dressing is a little elaborate and colourful, somewhat like that of Kathakali, but a lighter version.  Because Koothu and Thullal are both performed in Malayalam, tourists on honeymoon packages for Kerala who cannot understand the language may not be able to follow this.

Theyyam

Theyyam

Theyyam is strictly a temple art form of the North Malabar Region. It is a ritual rather than an art form. Men are dressed up as goddesses in bright coloured attire and makeup along with a lot of vermillion and turmeric. They are possessed by the goddess Bhagavathi during the ritual and dance in a trance. They shower blessings to the devotees and sometimes also make predictions while in the trance.

Kalarippayattu

Kalarippayattu

Kalarippayattu is an ancient martial art form of Kerala. Those who practice Kalarippayattu take many years of rigorous practice under and experienced aasan or teacher with whom they stay and learn. It requires rigorous practice and strict diet and lifestyle regulations as imposed by the teacher.

Thiruvathirakkali

Thiruvathirakkali

Thiuvathirakkali is performed by the ladies of the family during special occasions like Onam and Thiruvathira. They are dressed in the traditional Kerala set mundu and perform around a lit oil lamp. Tour managers can arrange a special performance of Thiruvathirakkali for tourists on Kerala tourism honeymoon packages.

Margam Kali

Margam Kali

Margam Kali is a Christian dance form performed wearing the traditional Chatta and Mundu dress by the Syrian Christian women. The dance is probably traced back to Thiruvathirakkali, Sangam Kali and Yathra Kali which were practiced by the Hindu women in the earlier days.

Oppana

Oppana

Oppana is like a Muslim version of the Thiruvathirakkali. The only difference is that here the performers dance around the bride or the groom during the wedding. They are dressed in colourful and glittering attire and clap their hands throughout the dance. During your visit to the North Malabar region on Kerala travel packages, you can enjoy a live performance of Oppana.

Pulikali

Pulikali

Pulikali belongs to Trissur! On the 4th day of Onam, many dancers painted as tigers get on the streets of Trissur and perform in tune with the special chenda drummers. The dancers get their body painted as tigers, the prey or the hunter and dance to the drummer’s tune. It is a colourful festival not to miss.

Pulluvan Paattu

Pulluvan Paattu

Pulluvans are a subcaste among the Hindus and they used to earn by singing songs praising the kings, their families and songs wishing the wellness of the children of the family. They used a single-string instrument as a background. It is believed that gods will always listen to their devotional songs and bless the family in turn. So they are paid for singing songs. You can see these performers during special occasions at the temples. You can tell them your name and birth star (if you know that) and they will pray to the gods on behalf of you. Try this during your Kerala honeymoon packages. 

Mural Painting

Mural Painting

These are special paintings done on the walls of palaces and temples of Kerala showcasing the mythical stories from Ramayana and Mahabharatha. They are prepared from organic elements such as turmeric, vermillion, coal, rice flour and green leaves. Turmeric will be the most used colour as it never fades, even through many decades. Very few people know mural painting now and the government and artists are trying to teach this unique art to more people by making it popular. Now Mural paintings are used as wall decorations and cloth designs too which has high demand locally and among the tourists too.

Cultural art form of Kerala

If you are looking for cheap Kerala tour packages, a great way to enjoy the place is by exploring the cultural art forms. While you travel inside Kerala, you can explore the art forms specific to that region and get to know a lot more about the place. Kerala’s beautiful landscapes only add to the charm of the amazing art forms that take many years of meticulous training and practice to master. Special performance arrangements are made for the tourists at the resorts or on the houseboats for certain art forms. For the rest of the performances, the tourists can book for a special arrangement to watch some amazing artists perform exclusively for them during their visit to Kerala. Many tourists fall in love with the dance form after they witness a live performance and plan to come back to learn the same. You can meet many such foreign students at the major art colleges in Kerala who are here to learn these divine art forms and master them.

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