Colonial power had endangered Kerala’s traditional art forms. At this juncture, Vallathol Narayana Menon and Mukanda Raja laid the blueprint for Kerala Kalamandalam which played an indispensible role in rescuing the performing arts of Kerala in 1930. Eighty six years later, on the banks of Bharatapuzha, Kalamandalam stirs up at 4 AM. Oil lamps cast shadows on the disciples, who sit cross-legged on the floor in front of their teacher practicing eye movements, their first ritual for the day. They spend days perfecting six hundred hand gestures and nine facial ‘rasas’ (emotions) that one must master to graduate. Sleep is vanquished as the wooden stick thuds on the floor to produce the rhythm for their day’s lessons. Kerala Kalamandalam, presently a Deemed University of Art and Culture, is a major centre for learning Indian performing arts, especially those that developed in the southern state of Kerala. It is situated in the village of Cheruthuruthy in Thrissur District on the banks of the Bharathapuzha River. It imparts training in classical dance and theatre forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Kudiyattam, Thullal, Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, and Nangiar Koothu, besides the traditional orchestra called Panchavadyam. Training is also given in various percussion instruments like chenda, maddalam and mizhavu. Kalamandalam follows the gurukula sampradayam, the ancient Indian education system based on residential tutelage. Completed in 1976, the Kalamandalam Koothambalam has traditional architectural elegance coupled with the imaginations of a renowned architect late D Appukkuttan Nair. Art gallery has elegant statutes of different Kathakali characters and those of other performing arts. The outer walls of the Gallery have beautiful mural paintings. The costume- room has a wide variety of costumes, head-gears, wooden masks and wooden weapons used by the Kathakali and Koodiyattam characters. 'A Day With the Masters' is a project to attract national and international tourists to spend a few hours at the Kalamandalam campus and give a direct exposure to masters in various art-disciplines, in collaboration with Kerala Tourism. The project was launched in February 2003 at the Koothambalam. For more serious learners there is the two month crash course.


  • Located at Cheruthuruthi, 35km fromThrissur
  • Nearest railway station: Vallathol Nagar ( 1 km away) and Shoranur Junction (3 km away)


Ph: 04884-262418