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Kutiyattam

 

Kutiyattam or 'acting together' is the oldest dramatic art form to emanate from God’s Own Country. Said to be based on Sage Bharatha's 2nd century treatise ‘Natyasastra’, it would constantly evolve over the course of the next few centuries. Members of the Chakkiyar and Nangiyar communities traditionally enact the drama. Most performances can be seen inside temple premises; there are two or more characters onstage at the same time, with the Chakkiars providing the male cast and the Nangiars playing the female roles. The latter play cymbals and recite verses in Sanskrit, while in the background Nambiars play the Mizhavu, a large copper drum.

Among the most beloved characters is the Vidushaka, usually a wise man who criticizes and provides the entire group with straightforwardjudgment without any fear. A majority of themes tend to be around ancient mythological themes, and these can take anywhere from 6 to 20 days to perform. Those interested in viewing this beautiful art form can visit the Koodalmanikyam Temple at Irinjalakkuda and the Vadakkumnatha Temple at Thrissur, where some of the most famous renditions of the same can be seen to this day.

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