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Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy, Kerala


Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy, Kerala
Address:Vallathol Nagar, 3 Kms from SHORANUR JUNCTION Railway Station, Thrissur-Shoranur Highway
Cheruthuruthy (District Thrissur (Trichur))
Kerala, India
Pin Code : 679531

Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala is a University recognised by UGC. Status: Deemed University. Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala was established on / in 1930.

Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture is situated in Cheruthuruthy of Kerala state (Province) in India. This data has been provided by www.punjabcolleges.com. Fax # of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala is +91-4884-262019.

Contact Person(s) of the Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala is (are): Vice Chancellor: Dr. K.G. Paulose, 09846041205.

email ID(s) is Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture Cheruthuruthy Kerala

Website of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala is www.kalamandalam.org.

Contact Details of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala are : Telephone: +91-4884 262418, 262526

Profile of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture

Founded in 1930 by renowned poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon along the banks of the river Nila in the Cheruthuruthy village of Thrissur District. Kalamandalam is an immortal name in the cultural map of the world. Kalamandalam is strictly a residential center of learning. Veteran teachers and talented students are its inestimable wealth. For art-recitals held in Kalamandalam and outside, artiste-teachers and students participate

Media coverage of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala, Kerala

About Us

Kerala Kalamandalam is the premiere public institution in India imparting training in and conducting performances of the classical arts of Kerala viz. Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyaattam, Thullal and Panchavaadyam. Founded in 1930 by renowned poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon along the banks of the river Nila in the Cheruthuruthy village of Thrissur District, Kalamandalam is an immortal name in the cultural map of the world. Training in art-disciplines at Kalamandalam essentially adheres to the ancient Gurukula sambradaaya (The traditional mode of education which calls for a deep bond between the teacher and the student). Kalamandalam is strictly a residential center of learning. Veteran teachers and talented students are its inestimable wealth. For art-recitals held in Kalamandalam and outside, artiste-teachers and students participate. Kalamandalam Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyaatam and Thullal Troupes have traveled widely in India and abroad for programs, lecture-demonstrations and workshops. They have represented India in many an international dance and theater festival.

Kerala Kalamandalam has been functioning as a grant-in-aid institution under the Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Kerala. For special Projects, the Department of Culture, Government of India, and the Sangeet Natak Akademy, New Delhi, have been extending financial support. For the preservation and promotion of Koodiyattam, UNESCO has sanctioned substantial financial assistance to Kalamandalam in 2004. The South Zone Cultural Center, Thanjavur, has, for years, been extending financial assistance to Kalamandalam for conducting dance & music festival in this campus. Being a regular event, the festival held every year attracts hundreds of rasikaas.

Since the historic encounter between the noble laureate Rabindranatha Tagore and vallathole at Santinikethan, Culcutta, the latter nurtured dreams of converting Kalamandalam in to a world renowned University for art and culture. Together with his close associate, Manakkulam Mudhuntha Raja, Vallathole made pioneering efforts for the multifaced development of Kalamandalam with its recently achieved status of a deemed university, Kerala Kalamandalam has fulfilled the of long cherished dream of its founder.


Kerala Kalamandalam is situated along the Thrissur-Shoranur Highway, From Thrissur town, Kalamandalam is 32 KMs to the North. SHORANUR JUNCTION, a major Railway-station is only three KMs away from Kalamandalam. From Kochi/Eranakulam, the distance to Kalamandalam is only 110 KMs to the North. Kalamandalam is 330 KMs to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala’s international airport at Nedumbassery is only 85 KMs away from Kalamandalam along the Thrissur- Eranakulam National
Highway - 47.

Message from Vice Chancellor

Dr. K.G. Paulose
Vice Chancellor

Kerala Kalamandalam that celebrated its Platinum Jubilee last year is the premiere public institution in India for the preservation and promotion of Kerala’s traditional performing arts. Since its inception, it has been a beehive of activities attracting artists, art-scholars, historians, theater-directors, choreographers and art-lovers all over the world. Approved by the University Grants Commission as a Deemed University, Kalamandalam has envisaged multi-level development programs in the academic and artistic spheres. Hence our website calls for continuous revision.

The revised website gives glimpses of the entire spectrum of activities Kalamandalam has undertaken all these years. We hope it would act as a window to the aesthetically rich and colorful world of Kerala’s classical arts both for the initiated and the uninitiated viewers.


Vallathol Nagar, Cheruthuruthy P.O
Thrissur - 679531, Kerala, South India.

Phone: 04884 262418, 262526
Mob: +91 9846041205
Fax: 04884 - 262019

E-mail: info@kalamandalam.org, kgpaulose@gmail.com
Website: www.kalamandalam.org

Message from Registrar

Dr. N. R. Gramprakash

Kerala Kalamandalam is the best known public institution in India committed to the preservation and promotion of Kerala’s Classical arts. Recently recognized by the University Grants Commission as a Deemed University, its international status is still to reach the different parts of the world. Our revised website is an earnest attempt to give a glimpse of the large spectrum of activities undertaken by Kalamandalam

We expect, from all the esteemed viewers, a healthy feed-back so that the form and content of the website can be enriched in future.


Vallathol Nagar, Cheruthuruthy
Thrissur - 679 531, Kerala, South India.

Phone: 04884 262418, 262562
Mob: +91 9446542562
Fax: 04884 - 262019

E-mail: info@kalamandalam.org, gramaprakas@rediffmail.com
Website: www.kalamandalam.org

Traditional Art Kathakali

It is difficult to define Kathakali in a single word or single sentence. It is considered by rasikas all over the world as a highly stylized classical dance-drama. By mid seventeenth century, the King of Kottarakkara composed eight plays from the epic Ramayana and named them as RAMANAATTAM Till today nothing is precisely known about the visual rendering of RAMANAATTAM. Probably the king had been inspired by the then indigenous art-forms of south Kerala and re-created their aesthetics and stage-craft in the visual-grammar and music of this new art form. Years later the King of Kottayam in North Kerala worked on RAMANAATTAM and evolved Kathakali with the practical guidance of great gurus of NATYA and NRITTA. Several folk, ritual and classical arts have exerted a definite influence in the whole-sided development of Kathakali. It is the confluence of acting, dancing and music, vocal and instrumental. From the twenty-four basic hand-gestures the Kathakali actor has developed a language comprising of more than six hundred words. He enacts the many different characters in Kathakali using stylized hand- gestures, facial- expressions and body-movements. In five different rhythms and four different tempos, the Kathakali characters unfold the text and the context of a play on stage.

Two vocalists, the principal and the supporting, stand behind the actors and sing the text of the play. The former marks the rhythmic beat on the gong and the latter on a pair of cymbals. Chenda, Maddalam and Edaykka are the percussion- instruments used. Chenda is played with two sticks, Edaykka with one stick and Maddalam with both hands. The vocal- music is in a sense the verbal-acting which the characters in Kathakali render. The instrumental-music is functionally linked to the performance of the actors. Chenda, Maddalam and Edaykka augment the effect of the visual frames in Kathakali. The make-up and costuming of Kathakali is elaborate, intricate and intriguing. It takes three to four hours for an actor to transform into a character in the green-room. Green and red are predominant colors in the Kathakali make-up. The costumes and ornaments used are gorgeous and colorful. There are broad divisions in the make-up and costuming of characters based on their inner-characteristics. Curtain or technically Thiraseela is used on Kathakali stage for the entry and exit of characters and to denote change of scene. Of the noble, wicked and grotesque characters, the last two have ‘curtain-look’. Here the character holds the curtain on both sides, brings it down slowly and shows emotions of sringara (love), veera (majesty) and raudra (anger). There are over two hundred Kathakali plays composed by well-known playwrights. Of them the plays of the King of Kottayam and Unnai Warrier are distinctive in many respects.

Traditional Art Koodiyattam

This is the sole surviving traditional Sanskrit theater in India. Honored recently by UNESCO as world’s oral and intangible heritage, the one thousand eight hundred year old Sanskrit-theater was included in the curriculum of Kalamandalam in 1965. Late Painkulam Rama Chakyar was the Head of the faculty of Koodiyattam for a long period of time. Till mid- twentieth century this esoteric art-form was restricted to some of the Hindu temples of Kerala. Chakyars, Nambiars and their women, the Nangiars, were traditionally the practitioners of Koodiyattam. These are temple-caste-people who presented the theater in the Koothambalams for the high-caste Brahmins and the kshatriyas. Excerpts from the plays of great playwrights such as Bhasa, Kalidasa, Sakthibhadra, Bodhayana and Kulasekhara form the text of the Koodiyattam plays. For visualization of the plays, the Chakyars have effected many notable changes. Acting-manuals penned by Chakyars over centuries tell us a lot about their amazing creativity in re-interpreting the text of major Sanskrit plays.

Nambiars are conventionally the percussionists in Koodiyattam. They play Mizhavau, the major musical-instrument in Koodiyattam. The Nangiars enact the female-roles in Koodiyattam. Edakka gives excellent sound-support to the evocation of subtle facial-expressions of a Koodiyattam actor. Nangiarkoothu, the female counter-part of Koodiyattam, provides immense scope for acting by female-artists. The life-story of Lord Krishna is extensively enacted in it. Along with detailed and precise execution of body-movements and facial-expressions by actors and actresses, both Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu follow powerful theatrical conventions on stage and in the green-room. Famous plays in Koodiyattam are ASCHARAYACHOODAMANI, SUBHDARADHANANJAYAM BHAGAVADAJJUKAM and so on. Make-up and costuming in Koodiyattam are unusually impressive. The actors speak in Sanskrit and actresses in PRAKRIT, a crude form of Sanskrit. Fascinating in Koodiyattam is the make-up and costumes of characters like Hanuman and Jatayu.( Sangeet Natak Akademy, New Delhi, has been giving financial support to Kalamandalam for years to popularize Koodiyattam,) In some of the plays like ‘ Dhananjayam’ and ‘Ajjukam’, Vidooshaka, the royal clown, has a dominant role. He is privileged to speak the local dialect, Malayalam too other than Sanskrit and Prakrit. Vidooshaka establishes easy rapport between the Play (characters and contexts too) and the common audience through his humorous anecdotes and ruthless satire.

The Sangeeth Natak Academy, New Delhi, has been gibing financial support to Kalamandalam for years to popularize Koodiyattam. Most recently UNESCO-Japan Funds in Trust provided financial assistance to kalamandalam for its several projects aimed at the preservation and promotion of Koodiyattam.

Traditional Art Mohiniyaattam

There is no precise historical evidence to establish the antiquity of Mohiniyaattam, the classical female dance-tradition of Kerala. Probably it was evolved in the eighteenth century. In the court of king Swathi Thirunal who ruled Travancore (South Kerala) in the 19th century Mohiniyaattam flourished along with Bharatanatyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu. The post -Swathy period witnessed the downfall of Mohiniyaattam. ‘The dance of the enchantress’ slipped into eroticism to satisfy the epicurean-life of some provincial satraps and feudal lords. Poet Vallathol rescued Mohiniyaattam form total extinction. It was added to the curriculum of Kalamandalam in 1930.

The make-up and dressing of Mohiniyaattam is simple and semi-realistic. The dancer’s face is made up of yellow and pink-paste. She wears sandal-colored jacket and sari. Jasmin flowers adorn her tied-up hair. She decorates her eyes with KAJAL and the lips are reddened. The traditional theme of Mohiniyaattam is devotion to and love of God. Vishnu or Krishna is more often the hero. This dance-form explores all the subtleties of the expression, Sringara, in all the items performed. We feel his invisible presence when the heroine or her friend (Sakhi) portrays him through hand-gestures, soft, undulating and circular body movements. In the slow and medium tempos the dancer finds adequate space for improvisation and suggestive facial-expressions, the invocation of Mohiniyaattam is known as CHOLKETTU. JATHISWARAM, VARNAM, PADAM and THILLANA are other items in a Mohiniyaattam-recital. Varnam is the piece de resistance in Mohiniyaattam.Thillana unfolds to the audience the dancer’s rhythmic virtuosity. Padam focuses on ABHINAYA. Mridangam, Violin and Edaykka lend excellent support to the vocal music and to the visual-rhythm of Mohiniyaattam.

Traditional Art Thullal

Thullal is the successor of Kathakali. Kunchan Nambiar who lived two centuries ago, wrote the text of Thullal and choreographed it for the stage. All the forty or more Plays of Thullal composed by Kunchan Nambiar are replete with humor, sarcasm and social-criticism, Thullal has three divisions- Seethankan, Ottan and Parayan. The distinction between them lies mostly in the make-up and costumes and to some extent in the metres and the rhythm applied. Thullal often reflects the literary, artistic and cultural life of the medieval Kerala. In Thullal, episodes from the Indian Epics are retold in simple Malayalam poetry. The stylized singing of the lines carries with it the beauty of the dravidian metres. A rasika once called Thullal ‘the poor man’s Kathakali’. Thullal is a solo performance. As a semi-stylized dance-theatre-narrative, Thullal is a more popular entertainment than other temple-arts. The performer establishes powerful communication with the audience through verbal-acting which is interspersed with humor and social references.

Traditional Art Panchavadyam

Panchavadyam, an orchestra composed of Thimila, Maddalam, Edakka, Cymbals and Kompu was introduced in Kalamandalam as a course of study only in the late 1960s. It is an ensemble performed during temple-festivals. Panchavadyam provides enough scope for collective and individual performance. In other words, team-work and individual expressions find enough space in it. Starting from a slow-tempo in the captivating Thriputa Tala, it steadily progresses and reaches the crescendo. It is a tower of rhythm created in front of caparisoned Elephants lining up in the temple-yard during the Festivals. The music of Panchavadyam is engrossing especially in the lush-green background of the pastoral-temples. There has been an ever-growing interest among the people to listen to this unique orchestra. Kalamandalam offers eight-year training in Thimila and Maddalam, the two major percussion- instruments of Panchavadyam.

Traditional Art Classical Music (Vocal)

All students of music have to learn the basic lessons in classical music. Seven syllables called saptaswaras form the basic-alphabets of classical music. These swaras sung in different tonal inflexions give rise to different ragas. At least four distinct rhythmic scales are employed in classical music. Music for dance and theater is functional music with a lot of emphasis on moods and voice-modulations.

Traditional Art Mridangam

This is the major percussion used for classical music concerts. In different rhythmic scales, both hands are employed for playing Mridangam. Syllables are many in number. There is mnemonics too. Deft fingering and strokes on four different points on the leather-surface create great melody. For Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, this is used as a major accompaniment.

Like Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, the ancient classical dance of Tamil Nadu and Kuchupudi, the folk turned classical dance of Andhra Pradesh are quite familiar to the malayalee milieu. People here enjoy watching these dance-forms characterized by colorful costumes, relatively fast-tempo-movements, sharp lines and high-density expressions. Kalamandalam is offering training in Bharatanatyam and Kuchupudi to students as subsidiary subjects. These are included in the dance- programs of Kalamandalam held in Kerala and outside.

International Association

Soon after its inception, Kalamandalam has been a favorite hub of dancers, theater-artists, musicians, art-scholars, historians and aesthetes from all over the world. In ensuring a sound footing for this institution, each of them has contributed his/her mite. Dr. Clifford Jones and his wife Betty True Jones who were passionately drawn towards Kathakali and Mohiniyattam were instrumental in letting the world know about the uniqueness of Kalamandalam in the first half of the 20th century. The article Ms. Betty wrote on Mohiniyattam even today remains one of the most authentic documents ever written on this dance tradition. Dr. Phillip Zarrilli who did a research on Kathakali in the 1970’s at Kalamandalam later published his monumental work titled “Kathakali Complex”. Dr. Farley Richmond has, in his writings on traditional Indian theater, was influenced by his observations of Koddiyattam at Kalamandalam.

Ms.Milena Salivin, Director, Mandapa, Paris, has an enduing association with Kalamandalam as student of Kathakali and as a great patron of the traditional Kerala performing arts. She has invited the Kathakali, Koodiyattam and Thullal troupes of Kalammandalam a number of times for performances in Europe. In recognition of her contributions to kalamandalam and to the classical arts, Kalamandalam conferred on her the M.Mukundaraja Memorial Award several year back. Dr. Marlene Pitkow and Dr. Rolf Groesbeck took their doctorates in Female Representations in Kathakali and The Drum Music Tradition of Kerala respectively thanks to their studentship and research at Kalamandalam. The 1990 to 2000 witnessed about a dozen researchers engaged in study and research on various art-subjects at this institution.

Kalamandalam Kathakali and Koodiyattam troupes have participated in almost all the international dance-theatre festivals held in Europe, USA and Canada during last five decades. For the Ramayana festival held in Bagkok twice and in the Asia-Pacific Festival held in Taipei under the National Centre for the Arts, Kalamandalam Kathakali and koddiyattam performances were a major attraction. At the Indian Festival held in New York in 1985 attended by the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Kalamandalam Kathakali troupe represented by Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, Ramankutty Nair and Gopi and others presented a sterling recital. The troupe later toured Canada and France and left an indelible impression on the spectators wherever performed.

Summary: Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University for Art and Culture, Cheruthuruthy Kerala website, mobile, contact address and approval / recognition details.