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Famous art forms of Kerala  



Do you know the famous art forms of Kerala? The different art forms of Kerala include Kathakali, Ottanthullal, Mohiniyattam, Kudiyattam etc. Any talented artists are there in respective fields of different arts forms of Kerala. There is facility for the foreign students as well as the students of the neighboring states who are interested in learning any art forms of Kerala through performance art schools. 


Kathakali, the dance drama was originated in 17th century. Some features of this art include attractive make-up of characters, detailed gestures, elaborate costumes, good body movements. After a lot of improvements, the present form of kathakali exists. In Kathakali, a combination of five elements exist namely Expression or Natyam, Dance or Nritham, Enactment or Nirthyam, Vocal Song and Vadyam or Instruments.   




By producing new plays including both traditional stories, historical stories, European classics etc , the International Centre for Kathakali at New Delhi has taken steps to promote this art form since 1980. Some of the stories choosing for Kathkali performance include Nalacharitham (a story from the Mahabharata ), Keechakavadham, Kalyanasougandhikam, DuryodhanaVadham Kuchelavrittam, Santanagopalam, Balivijayam, Dakshayagam, Rugminiswayamvaram etc. 



Have you heard of Koodiyattam (Kutiyattam)? This art form is 2000 years old. It is a form of Sanskrit theatre. This art form is recognized by UNESCO. The only surviving specimen of ancient Sanskrit theatre is Koodiyattam. Its meaning is “combined acting”. 



Koodiyattam was reformed by an ancient King of Tamil Chera dynasty, who ruled from Mahodayapuram (modern Kodungallur) namely Kulasekhara Varman Cheraman Perumal. Two plays namely Subhadraharana and Tapatisamvarana was written by the King. Ascaryacudamani of Saktibhadra, Kalyanasaugandhika of Nilakantha, Bhagavadajjuka of Bodhayana etc are some other plays presented in Koodiyattam. Māni Mādhava Chākyār is one of the noted artists of Koodiyattam. 

Another type of performing art form is Ottamthullal or Ottanthullal. In the 18th century, Malayalam poet namely Kunchan Nambiarcreated this art form. This art form has a single actor, wearing colorful costumes, donning a green make-up. Among common man, this art form is more popular. 

Three types of Thullal are there namely Seethankan, Parayan and Ottan. These types of thullals differs in costume, the place of the singing,way of presentation etc. Nambiar remains as an unquestioned mater of this art form even today.     




Heard of Moniniyattam? A classical dance form of Kerala is Mohiniyattam. In the 16th century, this dance form is believed to have originated. This graceful form of dance is one of the 8th Indian classical dance forms. 

The meaning of the word “Mohini” means a woman and “aattam” means graceful body movements. In a story, during the churning of the Palazhi, to lure the demons away from the amrita, Lord Vishnu disguised as Mohini. Sri Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, Sri Vallathol Narayana Menonand Smt. Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Ammacontributed a lot for this art form.  White sari embroidered with golden brocade at the ends is the costume of this art The vocal music of this art form involves differences in rhythmic structure known as chollu.  

The websites links namely,,, help you to know more about different art forms.    


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