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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kerala Art and Culture

Kerala has a rich cultural heritage, which fascinates the tourists a lot. The art and culture of Kerala portrays various dance forms and martial arts performed with the accompaniment of vocal and instrumental music. All these art forms are performed during some celebration or festivity. Culture and heritage are pervasive presence across the state and are kept alive through the state's performing arts.

Theyyam  -  Theyyam is Kerala’s most popular art form which was developed by Hindus and the folk dances depict the Hindu culture. This dance is performed as an offering to the gods. They are performed at sacred groves. Theyyam refers to the shape of the deity. Theyyams are of different types and they are about 450 in number.

Kathakali - Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world. It originated in the area of southwestern India now known as the state of Kerala. Kathakali is a group presentation, in which dancers take various roles in performances traditionally based on themes from Hindu mythology, especially the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.


Mohiniyattam - the feminine classical dance form of Kerala. Literally meaning the  Dance of the Enchantress, it is deeply rooted in femininity,  GRACE (Lasya) and  BEAUTY (Sringara)  forming the quintessence of this dance form.The traditional costume worn in Mohiniyattam is white with a gold border, and gold ornaments are worn. The unique coiffure with hair gathered on the left side of the head reflect it's aesthetic appeal, making it distinct from the other dance forms of India. The regional system of music that Mohiniyattam follows is the  SOPANA  style which in it's lyricism is evocative of the spiritual element.


Thiruvathira - Thiruvathira is celebrated on the asterism Thiruvathira in Dhanu, the fifth month of Malayalese calendar (Kolla Varsham). This corresponds to the month of December-January according to Gregorian calendar. Thiruvathira is essentially women's festival. Ladies on this day worship Lord Shiva and pray for conjugal harmony and marital bliss. The other very interesting facet of the festival is the enchanting Thiruvathirakkali dance performed by women on this day.

Kalaripayattu - Kalaripayattu - The Orient's treasure trove, a gift to the modern world and the mother of all martial arts. Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Sage Parasurama- the master of all martial art forms and credited to be the re-claimer of Kerala from the Arabian Sea. Kalaripayattu originated in ancient South India. Kung- fu, popularized by the monks of the Shoaling Temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma - an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master.

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