Kathakali is a classical dance-drama that combines elements of dance, music,
and drama to tell stories from Hindu epics and mythology. With its vibrant
costumes, elaborate makeup, and dramatic gestures, Kathakali has captivated
audiences for centuries and continues to be a cherished form of artistic
The origins of Kathakali can be traced back to the 17th century when it emerged as a distinct art form in the courts of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore. The word "Kathakali" is derived from two Malayalam words: "Katha" meaning story and "Kali" meaning play or performance. Kathakali draws heavily from ancient Sanskrit theatrical traditions, including Kutiyattam and Krishnanattam, and incorporates elements of classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam.
Elements of Kathakali:
Kathakali is known for its highly stylized and intricate performances that involve various elements. One of the most striking features of Kathakali is its makeup, known as "Chutti," which plays a crucial role in portraying the different characters. The elaborate makeup involves intricate designs and bright colors to represent the different types of characters, such as gods, demons, heroes, and heroines. The use of facial expressions, known as "Navarasas," is another integral aspect of Kathakali, with performers trained in conveying emotions through subtle eye movements and facial gestures.
Costumes and Attire:
The costumes worn by Kathakali performers are ornate and visually stunning. The male characters usually wear a long pleated skirt, called "Mundu," along with a decorative belt, while the female characters don vibrant, flowing costumes. The headgear, known as "Mudras," is an essential element of the attire and adds height and grandeur to the characters. The performers also wear large, expressive masks, known as "Mukhavasams," for certain characters, which further enhance the visual impact of the performance.
Music and Rhythms:
The music and rhythms of Kathakali are equally important in creating the overall atmosphere and mood of the performance. The musical ensemble, called "Panchavadyam," consists of traditional instruments such as chenda (drum), maddalam (barrel-shaped drum), ilathalam (cymbals), shankha (conch shell), and chengila (gong). The orchestra, known as "Nattuvanar," coordinates the music with the movements of the performers, and the recitation of verses and dialogues is accompanied by melodic and rhythmic patterns.
Themes and Stories:
Kathakali showcases a wide range of themes and stories, mostly derived from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The performances often depict the triumph of good over evil, the struggles of heroes, or the divine interventions of gods and goddesses. Each character is portrayed with distinct physicality and expressions, allowing the audience to connect with the narrative and experience the emotions evoked by the story.
performance is offered as offering to the diety at sree vallabha temple by
devotees. kathakali performance is held almost every night from 10 30 pm to 5
am at the temples
ksree vallabha temple is located at kavumbhagam near tiruvalla . .... .
june 2 2023
To enquire about kathakali performances contact sree vallabha vilasam
kathakali yogam 0469 2633307
sree vaishnavam kathakali yogam 0469 2601574
. .. ..