Kunchan Nambiar, the renowned bard and satirist of Kerala is known for the art form of Ottan Thullal, which he single-handedly developed. With Thullal, Nambiar lit the fuse for a social revolution in the caste and inequity- ridden Kerala society in the 17th century.
Literally, Thullal means dance. But what emanated from Nambiar's genius intellect was a new style of verse narration. According to legends, Nambiar was a Mizhavu player for Chakiyar Koothu. Once during the performance he dozed off and was humiliated by the Chakiyar for playing wrong notes. An infuriated Nambiar vowed to come up with an alternative art form to Chakiyar Koothu. The result was the fascinating art form of Ottan Thullal that ridiculed all the prevalent socio-political equations and prejudices of society.
Kunchan Nambiar has the rare distinction of having two memorials in the state - one at his birthplace in Palakkad district and another at Ambalappuzha in Alappuzha district, where he spent most of his life and created the new art form.
The Kunchan Nambiar Smarakam, the memorial at his birthplace incorporating his ancestral Kalakkath house in Killikkurissiimangalam, Lakkidi, was opened in 1976. The memorial, which is an initiative of the Government of Kerala, includes a kalithattu (stage) for staging Thullal and other art forms, a library and a museum. The museum displays traditional Thullal costumes and paraphernalia.
Every year, on May 5th is observed as Kunchan Day at the memorial. Various programmes are arranged on the premises of the Killikkurissimangalam memorial as a tribute to the maestro.Â
The centre also celebrates Vijayadasami by holding the Vidyarambham ceremony that initiates children into the world of letters. The centre has taken many steps to support upcoming as well as veteran artists in the field of Thullal. As part of this, it awards a distinguished Thullal artist every year with the Kunchan Award. The centre also imparts training in Ottan Thullal.
Kunchan Nambiar Smarakam
Lakkidi, Palakkad - 679301
Ph: +91 466 2230551
Nearest railway station: Â Ottappalam, about 9 Km from Lakkidi
Nearest airport: Coimbatore (Tamilnadu) about, 55 Km from Palakkad