Art Forms

Kutiyattam or Koodiyattam

This Sanskrit theatre originated from Kerala in India and is also the only one left of the theatre. Kutiyattam connotes combined acting. During the performance of Kutiyattam, performers put on intricate attires and makeup that distinguish their role.


Nangyarkoothu is another classical art form that originated from Kerala. The art was named after the female members – Nangyars – of the Nambiar community who performed the art. Nangyarkoothu was derived from Kutiyattam and is exclusive to the female folks. Both Nangyarkoothu and Kutiyattam share similar attires and makeup.

Chakyar Koothu

This performance art is a monologue involving narrations from Hindu epics. The performance requires hand gestures. Chakyar Koothu is limited to a part of the temple called Koothambalam. It was named Chakyar Koothu because members from the Chakyar community were the only performers of this art form.

Chakyar Koothu uses humor, satire, and criticism to pass its message. When the Chakyar gives criticism, it isn’t subject to opposition. If challenged, the art form will never take place in that venue again.


This art involves a dance drama in eight parts; Swargarohanam, Rasakrida, Vividavadham, Swayamvaram, Kamsavadham, Avataram, Banayuddham, and Kaliyamardanam. Krishna is the story performed in this temple art. Manaveda, who held the title of Zamorin Raja in the city of Calicut, developed this play.


To perform this dance form, performers must have undergone years of training. Kathakali came to be due to Ramanattam, another art form developed by Kottarakkara Thampuran.

During the performance, all characters maintain silence so that the music playing in the background passes the message. Therefore, the role of music is indisputable in Kathakali. The lyrics of the songs are called Attakkatha. The musical instruments used for this art form are Chengila, Chenda, and Maddalam.

Kathakali uses elaborate costumes and colorful makeup.