Countries of the World - Tourism
Kerala - God's Own Country



Kerala, God's Own Country. Kerala is one of the ten 'Paradises Found' by the National Geographic Traveler, for its diverse geography and overwhelming greenery. It is a land much acclaimed for the contemporary nature of its cultural ethos, and much appreciated for the soothing, rejuvenating paradise that it is.

Kerala is truly the undiscovered India. It is God's own country and an enchantingly beautiful, emerald-green sliver of land. It is a tropical paradise far from the tourist trial at the southwestern peninsular tip, sandwiched between the tall mountains and the deep sea. Kerala is a long stretch of enchanting greenery. The tall exotic coconut palm dominates the landscape.

Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters. Forty-four rivers (41 west-flowing and 3 east-flowing} criss-cross the state physique along with countless runlets. During summer, these monsoon-fed rivers will turn into rivulets especially in the upper parts of Kerala.Kerala soothes a traveler with her, turquoise blue beaches.

Kerala is an enchantingly beautiful, emerald green land, flanked by the Western Ghats on one side, the Arabian Sea on the other, and strewn with rivers, lagoons, backwaters and rich vegetation in between.

For tourist, Kerala offers Nature on a platter. Sandy beaches of Kovalam, blue Lagoons at Veli, Hill stations at Ponmudi and Munnar, backwaters of Kollam and Alappuzha, greenland plantations in the highranges, wildlife, high mountain peaks, picturesque valleys, magnificent forts and intricately decorated temples - Whatever one can ask for.

What's more, everyone of these charming destinations is only maximum a two-hour drive from the other. A singular advantage, which no other destination offers.

Malayalam is the language of Kerala. Keralites are popularly called "Malayalees" for the language they speak. The people of Kerala form a well educated society. Kerala is the first state in Indian with 100% literacy.

The people of Kerala enjoy a unique cosmopolitan outlook, which is reflected in there tolerance towards other races and religions. So it has been called Kerala as "God's Own Country"


Kerala Beaches

Kerela has a 600 km long shoreline dotted with some of the finest, most charming beaches of the world, coconut groves, natural harbors, lagoons and sheltered coves. All of it as peaceful as the rest of the land, washed by the pleasant tropical sun and as pristine as ever.

Kovalam beach :
This internationally renowned beach resort of Kerela has been a favorite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches. The southernmost , known as the Lighthouse beach, is the most popular, Kovalam offers accommodation options to suit all the budgets.

Poovar Beach :
Poovar is an unspoilt and unexplored island, envoloped by the most serene backwaters, and opening out to the sea and a dream golden sand beach.

Shanghumugham Beach :
This is a favorite haunt of sunset viewers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram ( Trivandrum ) airport and Veli Tourist Village.


The Varkala Beach :
Vakala is a seaside resort and spa, as well as an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage. High cliffs with rich mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. The 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the two main attractions there

Alappuzha Beach :
This is one of the most popular picnic spots in alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is about 140 years old.

Cherai Beach :
This lovely beach bordering Vypeen island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occassionally seen here.

Fort Kochi Beach :
The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British..

Kappad :
This is the historic beach where Vasco da Gama landed on the 27th of May, 1498 with 170 men in three vessels. The rock studded beach is locally known as Kappakadavu. An interesting feature of the landscape is the sprawing rock that protrudes into the sea. The temple on the rock is believed to be 800 years old




Kerala Hill Stations

Kerala has a long chain of lush, mid-clad hill stations that are home to exotic wildlife. All the hill resorts in Kerela offer the most enchanting experience of nature in all its virgin beauty

The major Hill resorts of Kerela are: Munnar, Ponmudi, Peerumade, Neliyampathy, , Peruvannamuzhi, Tusharagiri, Wayanad, Pythal Mala, Ezhimala, Ranipuram, Devikulam, Wagamon etc.

Munnar Hills
Munnar hills is situated in the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni & Kundala. Situated 1600 metre above sealevel, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town.

Ramakalmedu:
Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu and enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Situated at a distance of 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar

Echo Point
This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station in Munnar

Rajamala
Rajamala is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres), the Eravikulam - Rajamala region is now home to half the world population – estimated at around 1300 - of this endangered mountain goat. But the Tahr is only one of the reasons to make a visit to Rajamala.

Vagamon
One of the most beautiful places with a chain of three hills - the Thangal hill, the Murugan hill and the Kurisumala, important for Muslims, Hindus and Christians respectively.

Pullumedu
Velvet lawns and rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. The winding journey to this hill along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of hills draped in lush greenery.

Vandanmedu
This is one of the world's largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.

Chellarkovil
This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Vandiperiyar
The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.

Pattumala
Pattumala or Hill draped in silk in Peermede has charms like no other. The lofty peaks, the little streams and the green expanse of the tea plantations give the hills an ethereal beauty.

Eravikulam National Park
A sanctuary for the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr ( Hemitragus hylocrious), the Eravikulam National Park stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Rajamalai hills. An ideal place for trekking, facilities are provided here and tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi ( the highest peak south of Himalayas )



Kerala Wildlife

Nestled in the lush forests of the Western ghats in Kerala are 12 Wildlife sanctuaries and two National Parks.
The following are the Wildlife Sanctuaries / National Parks in Kerela :

Peppara Wildlife sanctuary

Neyyar Wildlife sanctuary

Shenduruni Wildlife sanctuary

Periyar Wildlife sanctuary

Idduki Wildlife sanctuary

Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary

Parambikulam Wildlife sanctuary

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary

Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Silent Valley National Park

Eravikulam National Park


Main animals in the sanctuaries of Kerela are :

Elephants, gaur, sambar, deer, wild dogs, jungle cats, tigers, wild boars, sloth bears, leopards, lion tailed macaques, Nilgiri Tahrs, langur, malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tiger,panthers, spotted deer, grizzled giant squirrels, Hanuman langurs, peacocks, star tortoises, wild dogs, civet cats, The Atlas moth, bonnet, macaques, Loris, mongoose, foxen, bears, barking deer, pangolins, bison, bears etc..


The Reptiles found in the sanctuaries of Kerala are :

Cobra, Viper, krait, a number of non poisonous snakes, bicoloured frogs, crocodiles, varanur pond terrapins, cane turtles, star tortoises, geckoes, skunks, chameleons, spectacled cobras, pythons, green keel backs, rat snakes, vine snakes, monitor lizards etc...

Main birds seen in the sanctuaries of Kerela are :

Water fowl, Cuckoo, Owl, Egret, Heron, Water duck, Migratory Siberian Duck, Jungle fowls, Mynas, Laughing thrushes, Black bulbuls, Peafowls, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, The hornbill, Stork, Raptor, Darter, Cormorant, Grackle, Cluster, Indian rollers, Common snipes, Crow pheasants, Jungle nightjars, Kites, Grey drongos, Malabar trogons, Llarge pied wagtails, Baya sparrows, Grey jungle fowls, Indian hill mynas, Robins, Jungle babblers, Sunbirds, Peacocks, Crimson-throated barbets, Bee-eaters, Shrikes, Fairy bluebirds, Grey-headed fishing eagles, Black winged kites, Night herons, Grey hornbills, Malabar hornbills and more than 253 additional species including migrant birds..

Main flora in the sanctuaries of Kerela are Teak, maruthu, karimaruthi, rosewood, venteak, vengal, chadachi, mazhukanjiram, bamboo, neem, nanjanathi, sandal, dendrocalamus, marythu, vaka, , mulluvenka. elavu,

manjakadambu pala, vembu, aval etc... and over 1800 flowering plants including 171 grass species, 143 species of orchids etc...


Kerala Houseboats

A Cruise along the palm fringed waterways of Kerala in a luxury houseboat or ketuvallom is the most enchanting holiday experience in India today. In this world of simple pleasures, you'll skim past ancient chinese fishing nets, water lillies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves.

Innumerable lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries, and te deltas of forty-four rivers make up the 900 km backwater network of Kerala. The backwatrs mainly covers the four districts of the state - Kollam, Alleppey (alappuzha), Kottayam and Kochi ( Cochin ).

The largest backwater body, the Vembanad lake flows through Alleppey (Alappuzha) and Kottayam districts and opens out into the sea at the Kochi (Cochin) Port. The Ashtamudi Lake, the second largest backwater stretch, offers the longest ride and is considered the gateway to the backwaters.

Your holiday home in this tranquil world is the comfortably furnished houseboat or ketuvallom.

The Houseboats or Kettuvalloms of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 foot in length, retrieved from being lost to the State altogether.

Once these Rice Barges ruled the backwaters, poled along by one or two men, heavily loaded with rice, coconut and other commodities. But in the recent times, the ketuvalloms or houseboats have been replaced by more and modern modes of transport, relegating them to neglect and decay

It takes great skill and meticulousness to construct these giant Houseboats or Kettuvaloms.

Traditionally, the Houseboats was called Kettuvallam, which means a boat made by tying together pieces of wood. Unbelievably it may sound, not a single nail is used in the making of a ketuvallam. Jackwood planks are joiined together with coir rope and then coated with black resin made from boiled cashewnut shells.

There used to be an entire clan of artisans who were involved in kettuvallom or houseboat construction. Today, an innovative holiday idea has restored these majestic representatives of a unique culture and with them their makers.

The Kerala houseboats that cruise these emerald waterways are an improvisation on the large country barges which were an essential part of the land's ethos in days gone by.




Monuments of Kerala

No other state in India has such a rich heritage as Kerala has. It's past is entwined with periods of tumult and tranquil. This green strip, several times, was soaked in blood when forces, domestic and alien, fought for supremacy. Religions, Christianity and Islam made their entry into Indian subcontinent via this coast.
On the cultural front, the state had diligently designed several art forms for the country's cultural mosaic.
A root-conscious people of the state have preserved their past not only in the form of history books but also in the form of monuments and palaces. Places, palaces and institutions of historic value are being preserved conscientiously.
A Kerala touring will leave you marvel at the exquisite architecture manifested in palatial mansions and monuments. Hanging around the ruins of dilapidated forts, temples would help you splash deep into the rich past of the state.

Alwaye Palace
On the banks of River Periyar stands imposing Alwaye( now Aluva) palace ruminating over a past, long and eventful. One of the finest palaces in the state with beautiful circular verandahs overlooking the river. Now being used as Alwaye Guest House.
Location: Aluva. on N H 47, 15 kms away from Kochi. near Kochi International Airport.

Bolghatty Palace
Built by the Dutch in 1744, this palace is on an island, off Cochin in the Arabian Sea. Earlier Dutch and later British used the palace as Governor's residence. Today, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has transformed the palace into a tourist hotel. A canopied garden is another tourist attraction on the island.
Location: Kochi. Frequent boat services from High Court Jetty, Kochi

Hill Palace Museum
This museum showcases wealth and prosperity of erstwhile royal family of Cochin. including the king's throne and crown. Also on display are other trapping of royalty like majestic beds, paintings , carving and samples of epigraphy. Tripunithura is also known for the nearby Chottanikkara Temple and the Tripunithura Temple.
Location: 13 kms from Kochi

Kanakakkunnu Palace
Situated on a hillock in the museum compound in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city. This imposing, fine-looking mansion of the Travancore Rajas is a stunning piece of architectural excellence of yore.
At night, when the palace premise is lit up, the gabled, pagoda style red brick structure comes alive, bringing to mind the majesty and gallantry of kings Inside one can see large crystal chandeliers and exquisite pieces of royal furniture.
Location : Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram)

Koyikkal Palace
A 15th century palace. Situated between Ponmudi hill station and Kuttalam waterfalls. The manor was the official residence o Umayamma Rani of the Venad royal family. In the double-storeyed Nalukettu (Traditional house) Kerala Archeology Department has set up two museums of folklore and numismatics.
Location: 18 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram

Krishnapuram Palace, Alappuzha
The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace was built during the reign of the Travancore Monarch, Marthanda Varma. A double storied structure which displays typical characteristics of Kerala's architecture-gabled roofs, dormer windows and narrow corridors.
The 'Ganjendra Moksham' Mural, one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala, is a major attraction in the palace.. A museum with antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes is housed inside the building. The Palace is situated 47kms from Alleppey.
Location: Kayamkulam. 47 kms from Alappuzha

Kuthiramalika
This palace was built by Tamil sculptures from Thanchavore. Pillars carved on single stone and exquisitely designed roofs enhances the beauty of the palace. A striking monument of 122 horses is attached to the palace. Hence derived the name Kuthiramalika ( kuthira means horse).
Location: Thiruvananthapuram, East Fort

Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Also known as Thoppu palace, is spread over an area of 6 acres. Sakthan Thampuran, erstwhile ruler of Thrissur is buried in the palace compound.
Location : Thrissur

Mattancherry Palace
Also known as Dutch Palace. Built by Portuguese and handed over to Cochin Raja in 1555 AD and the was renamed as Mattancheri Palace in 1663, when the Dutch spruced up the palace. However, neither did Portuguese nor Dutch stay in the palace.
The centre of the building has a Coronation Hall where Cochin Rajas investitures were held. Today, it is a portrait gallery of the Rajas. Rooms adjacent display 17th century murals depicting scenes from the epic, the Ramayana.
Location: Eranakulam. Open for visitors. 10 am to 5 pm Closed on Fridays, national holidays.

Padmanabhapuram Palace
Manor of erstwhile Venad kings, Padmanabhapuram palace is a 16 the century marvel on wood. It flaunts the dexterity of Kerala's master carpenters.
Carved wooden ceilings, slatted shuttered windows, intricate interlocking beams, sculpted door panels and pagoda like tiled roofs stand testimony to the deftness of architectures.Intricate carvings, murals and exquisite wall paintings reflect the prolific talent of the sculptors and painters who enjoyed the patronage of Travancore kings.
Location : 60 kms from Thiruvananthapuram

Bekal Fort
The largest and the best preserved coastal fort in Kerala, Bekal Fort, is 14 km off Kasargode, North Kerala. The pristine Bakel beach along with the fort is being groomed into an international tourist destination. The fort has historical as well as archeological significance.
Location: Kasargod
Nearest Airport: Bijayee, Mangalore (58 km)

Cheruthuruthy (Kerala Kalamandalam)
Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthy, was founded by Malayalam Poet Vallathol in 1930. Main objective was to revive, preserve and develop ancient and traditional art form of Kerala, particularly Kathakali.
Kalamandalam has been the nursery of Kerala's renowned kathakali artistes. Hundreds of boys and girls are undergoing training in various branches of performing arts such as Mohiniyattom, Koodiyattom and Ottan Thullal. Many foreigners captivated by the language of Kathakali and other art forms are joining the training sessions. Koothambalam attached to the Kalamandalam is a major attraction.
The Samadhi (tomb) of the founder-poet is in the premises of the Kalamandalam on the banks of River Bharathapuzha.
Location: Shornur (Thirssur district) Near Shornur railway station on Mangalore- Chennai route. 29 Km away from Thrissur, bus services from Thrissur Private bus stand.

Edakkal Cave, Wayanad
Atop Ambukutty Hills near Ambalavayal in Wayanad is Edakkal Caves. Two caves, formed by a split in a mammoth rock- one roofed over by other- make up the Edakkal caves. For decades the caves have been the haven of archeologists. Ancient carvings and pictorial wall inscriptions are supposed to be of pre-historic period. The stone walls also have pictures of human beings and instruments. Archaeologists consider this as one of the earliest centres of human habitation.
A 1500-acre Reserve Forest also houses as many as 200 stone age monuments. Down town Ambalavayal has a heritage museum, first of its kind in the state. It has a rare collection of instruments and curios shedding light to life, centuries back.
Location : Caves three km away from Ambalavayal, Wayanad. Ambalavayal buses from Kozhikode, Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery.

Jewish Synagogue,Mattancherry
Built in A D 1568. Great scrolls of the Old Testament (Bible) and copper plates in which the grants of privilege to Jews from Cochin rulers were carved are preserved here.
Chinese hand-painted tiles are another attraction. Finely-wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by various patrons are also displayed. This, the only Synagogue in India has a nostalgic past of a Jewish Diaspora.
A few Jew families are still residing in Kochi and its suburbs reciprocating the love and affection of this land. Besides, preserving the Synagogue is also their mission. Years back, hundreds of families were here, but for them the call of roots were irresistible.
Visitors permitted from 10 am to 12 am and from 3 pm to 5 pm. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
Location : Mattancheri, 8km off Kochi. Bus , boat services( from High Court jetty ) available.

Karumadikuttan
A 10th century, black granite statute of Budha, founder of Buddhism. The statue is known as Karumadikkuttan is situated 3 km east of Ambalapuzha, Alappuzha. Legends are woven around this idol.
Location : Ambalapuzha enroute NH 47 between Kollam and Alappuzha.


Kaviyoor Stone Temple
A temple of historical and archeological significance, Kaviyoor is on the banks of River Manimala. The stone figuress here are considered to be the earliest specimen of stone culture.
Location : Kaviyoor in Mallappally taluk, Pathanamthitta district.

Kuthiramalika
This palace was built by Tamil sculptures from Thanchavore. Pillars carved on single stone and exquisitely designed roofs enhances the beauty of the palace. A striking monument of 122 horses is attached to the palace. Hence derived the name Kuthiramalika ( kuthira means horse).
Location: Thiruvananthapuram, Eastfort

Pazhassi Raja's Tomb, Mananthavady
Pazhassi Kerala Varma Raja had a heroic death after fighting to the finish against British supremacy in the thick forests of Wayanad. he died on November 30,1805. His tomb at the Mananthavady, Wayanad had been a source of inspiration for many to fight the colonial forces. Archeology Department had taken over the Pazhassi tomb at Mananthavady town.
Location: Mananthavady, 30 km from Kalpetta, Wayanad district head quarters.100 km from Kozhikode. Round the clock bus service from Kozhikode KSRTC stand. Accessible from Mysore and Bangalore via road.

Napier Museum
Gem of architectural exuberance, perfectly blending Chinese and Mughal styles with Kerala's traditional structural design. The ethereal beauty to the structure was added with the magical brush up of Chisholm, a 19th century architect.
Strips of blue and pink alternating with yellow and red, scalloped arches of a banana yellow, elaborately carved balconies, red and white lattice work and mock friezes make an engrossing ensemble.
Location : Thiruvananthapuram

Tipu's Fort, Palghat
The fort in the nerve centre of Palakkad, built by Haider Ali of Mysore, dates back to 1766 A.D. Today known after Haider Ali's son Tipu Sultan. The fort still echoes the ballyhoo of those troops which barged into it to fight pitched battles. The fort was supposed to have built the fort to facilitate communication between Coimbatore and Palakkad, two vantage points.. In 1784 after a 11-days siege, Lord Fullerton, the then British Colonel, conquered the fort. Later Zamorin's troops wrested control but the British occupied the fort in 1790.
Location : Palakkad , 79km from Thrissur. Rail, road network with all centres in South India.

Pallippuram Fort
Another Portuguese legacy bequeathed to Kochi. Raised in 1503. Reckoned as one of the oldest European monuments in India. The Catholic Church here is an important pilgrim centre.
Location : Ernakulam

Pazhassirajah Museum & Art Gallery
Put on view are ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes and old coins as well as models of temples, megalithic monuments like dolmonoid cysts and umbrella stones. Run by the State Archaeological Department. The Art Gallery near the museum contains paintings of Raja Ravi Varma.
Location : Kozhikode ,East Hill


Shri Chitra Art Gallery
Masterpieces of Raja Ravi Varma, illustrious artist of Kerala are paraded in a different section. His works include a number of portraits of Maharajahs and members of royal family, distinguished British residents and prominent figures. A browsing of the pictures would give one a ballpark picture of who is who of Kerala history.
Antiques and curios once owned by Travancore royal lineage are showed at Sree Chitra Art Gallery. Prized ones are Bengali paintings, Rajasthani, Mughal miniatures, Tanjavore paintings and selected works of Svetosku Roerich, a Russian artist.
Location : Thiruvananthapuram.

St. Francis Church, Kochi
The first European Church in India. Churches elsewhere in the country were modeled after this Portuguese construction. A mute witness to the watershed events in this coastal town, for past five centuries.
Vasco De Gama, the legendary navigator from Lisbon, died at Kochi during his second voyage to Kerala. he was laid to rest in the St. Francis Church on Christmas eve 1524. Years later, his mortal remains were taken back to Portugal. The sepulcher is still preserved in the church hall and is open for visitors.
Location : Fort Kochi, Eranakulam.

Thalassery Fort
This coastal town as a whole is a historical monument. The centuries-old city is the cradle of Indian circus. Leading circus artistes and circus companies have roots in this city. Gymnastics was introduced in schools by German missionaries here.
Thalassery Fort, stand testimony for the vantage position the city enjoyed in the battles between Britain and Tippu Sulthan.

The first Malayalam daily, Rajyasamacharam, was published from Illikkunu, a sleepy hamlet near Thalassery. Herman Gundert, a German missionary was instrumental behind it. His another contribution for Malayalam language was the first Malayalam Dictionary. He also established a few educational institutions, churches in Thalassery.
Location : 20km. south of Kannur.

Town Hall and Archaeological Museum
Also known as Kollengodu House, this majestic hall accommodates picture gallery with mural collections.
Location : Thrissur. Open for visitors from 10 am to 5 pm except on holidays.


Thrissur Art Museum
Among art pieces and curios displayed in the museum include wood carvings, ancient jewellery pieces and figures depicting Kathakali, the majestic dance drama. Metal sculptures and traditional Kerala lamps are also shawcased.
Location : Thrissur, 2 km from town
Performing Art Forms of Kerala
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Kathakali is the most popular sacred dance-drama of Kerela. Kathakali evolved across the last 400 years. This classical dance of Kerela requires lengthy and rigorous training to attain complete control of the body and a sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances through facial expressions and hand gestures.

Kerala owes its transnational fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance form which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. It is said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kootiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakali explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas.

Presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls Kathakali is heralded by the Kelikottu or the beating of drums in accompaniment of the Chengila (gong). The riches of a happy blending of colour, expressions, music, drama and dance is unparallelled in any other art form.

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Literally meaning the dance of the celestial enchantress, this sensual dance form of Kerela, contains elements of Bharathanatyam as well as the classical and folk dances of Kerela. Mohiniyattam is usually performed as a solo dance and is very lyrical in its rendering.

Slow, graceful, swaying movements of the body and limbs and highly emotive eye and hand gestures are unique to this dance form. The simple, elegant gold-filigreed dress, in pure white or ivory, is akin to the traditional attire of the women of Kerala. The origin of Mohiniyattom is rooted in Hindu mythology. Once the ocean of milk was churned by the gods and demons to extract the elixir of life and immortality. The demons made away with this divine brew.

Lord Vishnu came to the rescue of the panicky gods and assumed the female form of an amorous celestial dame Mohini. Captivating the demons with her charms, Mohini stole the elixir from them and restored it to the gods. This dance was adopted by the Devadasi or temple dancers, hence also the name 'Dasiattam' which was very popular during the Chera reign from 9th to 12th century.
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Thullal is a classical solo dance form, of Kerela, which comes closer to contemporary life, and is marked for its simplicity, wit and humour.

Staged during temple festivals, the performer explicates the verses through expressive gestures. The themes are based on mythology. This satiric art form was introduced in the18th century by the renowned poet Kunchan Nambiar .

The make up, though simple, is very much akin to that of Kathakali. The Thullal dancer is supported by a singer who repeats the verses and is accompanied by an orchestra of mridangam or thoppi maddalam (percussions) and cymbals. There are three related forms of Thullal - Ottanthullal , Seethankanthullal and Parayanthullal - of which the first is the most popular. The three are distinguished by the costumes worn and the metre of the verses.

Thullal is usually performed in the premises of temples during festivals and provides for thought and entertainment to the thousands of people who gather at these events.
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Koodiyattam is a dance traditionally enacted in temples. Koodiyattam is Kathakali's 2000 year old predecessor and is offered as a votive offering to the deity.

Kootiyattam literally means "acting together". This is the earliest classical dramatic art form of Kerala. Based on Sage Bharatha's 'Natyasasthra' who lived in the second century, Kootiyattam evolved in the 9th century AD.

Kootiyattam is enacted inside the temple theatre, there are two or more characters onstage at the same time, with the Chakkiars providing the male cast and the Nangiars playing the female roles. The Nangiars beat the cymbals and recite verses in Sanskrit, while in the background Nambiars play the Mizhavu, a large copper drum.

Vidushaka or the wise man, a figure parallel to the Fool in Shakespearean plays, enacts his role with the liberty to criticise anyone without fear. The costume of the jester sets him apart from the rest. The Kootiyattam performance lasts for several days ranging from 6 to 20 days. Themes are based on mythology.

The Koodal Manickyam temple at Irinjalakkuda and the Vadakkumnatha temple at Thrissur are the main centres where Kootiyattam is still performed annually. Ammannoor Madhava Chakkiar is an unrivalled maestro of this rare art.
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Chaakyaar koothu is one of the plays performed in temples. This is enacted in the special dance hall called Koothambalam, connected to the temples. It is performed by people belonging to the Chaakyaar community. The word koothu is derived from the Sanskrit term, Koordanam which means ‘dance’.

The Chaakyaar community is a group which earns its livelihood by performing Chaakyaar koothu and Koodiyaattam. There are many versions regarding the origin of the term Chaakyaar, The Chaakyaars are believed to be people who have been ostracized from the Namboodiri Brahmin Community. The women of the community are called Illottamma.

The Chaakyaar koothu consists of two parts of which one is action and the other narration . In the earlier days, the action part of it was known as koothu. There are different types of koothu, known by different names like Mantraangam koothu, Anguliiyaangam koothu, Parakkum koothu, Matta Vilaasam koothu etc. When more than one actor performs on the stage, it is called Koodiyaattam. If the actors are not more than one, it is called Chaakyaar koothu. Chaakyaar koothu, is the narrration of Puranic stories by the Chaakyaars who wear the attire of a joker and tell the story humourously.
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Kalarippayattu is the only form of the most ancient traditional systems of physical, culture, self-defence and martial techniques still in existence. It is believed to have had its origin in Kerala, the tiny state situated South West of India.

In Sanskrit language, the word ‘Khaloorika’ denotes a place where weapon training is practiced. It is believed that it was from the Sanskrit term ‘Khaloorika’, that the word ‘Kalari’ came into use in Malayalam for similar institutions imparting training in martial arts. Such institutions were there throughout the country where similar training was imparted. In each region, they are known by different names according to the differences, in the regional languages as ‘Akhad’, ‘Garadi’ etc. All these terms are believed to have originated from the Sanskrit term ‘Khaloorika’ as in the case of the ‘Kalari’. The system of physical and weapon training imparted within the Kalari came to be called ‘Kalarippayattu'.

There are two forms of Kalari, one Vatakkan ‘Northern’ and another one Tekkan ‘Southern’. In Vatakkan, three types viz Arappukkai, Pillattaanni and Vatteel tirippu were the most important and they had wide publicity. It is believed that Sage Agastya was the Guru of Tekkan form of Kalari. The Tekkan type was more important than Vadakkan. But the use of different kinds of weapons and the beauty of performance made the Vadakkan Kalari become famous.



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