This is prevalent in Valluvanad and Thrissur with children axting as chozhi, elders as kalan, Chitragupta and Muthiyamma. There is one leader for the game. It is also called chozhikettu or Kudachozhi.



Literally, ‘story play’, the spectacular classical dance drama of Kerala based on the guidelines laid by Sage Bharata’s Natya Sastra, is over five hundred years old. This art form has attained international fame and recognition and the Kerala Kalamandalam is the premier institution for this art form. The art form has elaborate make up called veshams and include pacha, kathi, kari, thadi and minukku forms. The plays of Kathakali are called ‘attakathas’ and the music is in the ‘sopanam’ style. Instruments like chengila, elathalam, chenda and maddalam accompany the song. The themes of this awe-inspiring art are taken from India’s rich and colorful mythology.



As the name suggests, Krishnanattam originated as a votive offering to Lord Sree Krishna. The story of the Lord is enacted in eight plays and is performed accompanied by maddalam, elathalam and chengila. The art form was developed by King Manaveda of Zamorin and is today mainly performed at the Guruvayur Temple.



This is the ancient Sanskrit theatre of Kerala that originated two millennia ago. The name literally means ‘dancing together’ and the plays are in Sanskrit. Elaborate stage manuals exist for the art form called ‘attaprakarams’ and ‘karmadeepikas’. The plays are performed by Chakiars and Nangiars. This art form has been declared by UNESCO as one among the ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. The Koothambalam is a prominent feature in many major temples of Thrissur district like Vadakkumnathan, Koodalmanikyam and Guruvayur where Koodiyattom, Koothu, Patakam etc. are played.



This is the gracefully elegant solo classical dance form with lasya and sringara as the predominant element. The dancer is dressed in white and gold and is accompanied by cymbals and edakka. The Travancore Maharaja Swathi Tirunal made the art form in its present form. The name literally means the dance of the enchantress. Kerala Kalamandalam is a major centre for learning this art form.



This has evolved from the Bhagavati cult and praises the glory of Goddess Kali. Performed by Kuruppanmar, it has its own costumes and paintings. Recently, UNESCO has listed this folk art. It is performed generally in South and Central Kerala. The performing artists Varanattu Kuruppanmar are located in Koratty near Chalakkudi in Thrissur district.


Poratttu natakom

Also called Porattukali, this is a theatre art that is being sustained in the districts of Palakkad and Thrissur. The members of the Pana community present this art form and the theme is based on the day to day affairs of Dasi, Kuravan – Kurathi, Mannan – Mannathi, Cheruman – Cherumi etc. This art is an imitation or mimicry of chettis, chettichis, kurvas and kurathis. The dialect is Tamil and is performed by Ezhavas or Pulayas.



Tholpavakoothu is the shadow puppetry of Kerala. In Malayalam, ‘Thol’ means leather; ‘pava’ means puppet and ‘koothu’, the play. This play was composed by Chinnathampi Vadhyar, an ancient scholar. The play is based on Kamba Ramayana, authored by the great Tamil scholar and poet Kambar who lived in the twelfth century. The story of Ramayana is composed for Tholpavakoothu in twenty one parts, which are presented during twenty one nights. About one hundred and eighty puppets are needed for a full performance. The puppets are made from deer skin. The deer skin is first cleaned and dried at sunlight. After this an outline is drawn and the puppets are carefully chiselled out by using hammer. The visual beauty of a performance largely depends on the perfection in shape and expression in the face of a puppet. Puppets are moved and danced behind a curtain lit by bright oil wick lamps. Also called Olappavakkoothu, Pavakkoothu or Nizhalkoothu, this is prevalent in northern parts of Thrissur, Palakkad and Ponnani. It is performed by Pulavanmars. The art form debuts in the month of Dhanu (November / December).