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Great Dance Forms you can enjoy live in Kerala

Dance and Kerala have a great bonding. Kerala’s beauty and culture are well expressed through the various dance forms here which you can enjoy during your Kerala tour packages. Though there are many places where you can see and enjoy the landscapes, Kerala opens up a new arena of culture and performing arts too. There are beautiful locations in Kerala are just perfect for a family holiday as well as honeymoon trips. You will find vivid landscapes in Kerala, ranging from the Rocky Mountains to soothing backwaters. We can also visit the long seashores and misty hill stations on our Kerala tourism packages. If you can spare a week in Kerala, you will be able to see the beautiful locales as well as enjoy the traditions of the state to some extent. Keralites also enjoy stage shows and theater which is called drama here.


Art Forms in Kerala

Kerala is a land blessed with many art forms and each one unique enough. Many of them are popular and others are constricted to a community or society. Temple art forms are another major part in that. For each religious group, there will be different dance forms. The costumes and make-up is noted for the categories like Kathakali, Mohiniyattom etc. Let's make a glimpse to the important art dance forms in Kerala which you can enjoy in your Kerala trip.




If you are visiting Kerala on tours, you must watch a live performance of Kathakali, to complete the tour experience. Probably one of the most ancient and most developed dance forms in the south India, Kathakali has more of Mudras and facial expressions than steps to perform. It is a very difficult art to learn and perform and usually requires more than 5 to 8 years to learn it properly. The makeup is done using organic vegetable colors and that itself takes hours before the performance. Both the artist and the makeup assistant spend hours completing the makeup and dressing and the performance usually lasts overnight. Kathakali usually describes episodes from mythical stories like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Earlier only male artists used to perform, this being a temple art and requiring tremendous physical and mental stamina. Now many female artists are also performing well and getting recognized the world over. Live Kathakali performances can be opted for during your Kerala packages. Many foreign tourists are fascinated by the colors and the passionate performances and they even join the Kalamandalam to learn it from the Gurus.




This is our version of the classical dance. Mohini means the beautiful lady who attracts and the dance form usually revolves around romance. This is a gentle dance performed by a lady, though now men are also learning and performing this dance form. Facial expressions, particularly eyes, and hand mudras are more used for the performance. The dancer is dressed beautifully in a Kerala saree which is worn in a different style that allows free movements. You can enjoy a live performance of Mohiniyattom during yourKerala holiday packages in your resort or even on the houseboat. Since it does not involve heavy movements, the artist will have no issues performing in a slow-moving or anchored boat. Otherwise, you can watch the performances in temple festivals, stages such as at Kalamandalam, Guruvayoor, and Fine Arts halls spread throughout the state and during the cultural festivals.


Chakyar Koothu


This is essentially not a dance form but it is an entertaining performance to watch out for. Usually performed as a temple art, Chakyar Koothu is probably the oldest form of standup comedy which was popular down south! The Chakyar had all the rights to ridicule whatever wrongs he could see, even on the local ruler. It was more of sarcasm that you would hear in his act. While he tells a mythical story, he will connect it with the local issues or sometimes even the audience and make fun of it. The entire audience starts laughing out while he continues his story as if nothing happened. You can enjoy this during your Kerala trip if you understand Malayalam.


Ottam Thullal

ottam thullal


The story goes that Kunjan Nambiar, who is considered one of the 3 legendary poets of Malayalam language, fell asleep during a Chakyar Koothu performance and he was ridiculed by the Chakyar for the same. Nambiar got angry at this and developed his own rival form which came to be known as Ottamthullal. In Chakyar Koothu, the performer usually sits on a high stool and performs. In Ottamthullal, the performer keeps running and jumping while he performs and probably that got it the name Ottamthullam meaning running and jumping! This follows a similar satirical touch on current affairs and links it to the mythical stories based on which the performance is planned. You can enjoy this performance on your Kerala tour packages from Mumbai if you understand the language.




This is a group dance performed usually at households by the family members. As the name suggests, women perform this dance in a circle around the sacred lamp on the day of Thiruvathira singing melodious songs. It is also known as Kaikottikkali. Kaikottal means clapping, so the dance has some clapping movements which form the rhythm and swift movements around the lamp. Women of all ages perform this dance on auspicious occasions like Onam, Thiruvathira and Vishu. They wear Kerala set-mundu which makes sure that they can move their hands and legs freely to dance. If you happen to be enjoying your Kerala tour during these auspicious occasions, you can enjoy a live performance of thiruvathirakkali.




Essentially a temple art form, Koodiyattom is also as complicated, if not more complicated, as Kathakali. It is almost 2000 years old dance form and is probably the first and major reminder of the ancient Sanskrit drama. It is a combination of Kathakali and Chakyar Koothu, but a more serious form. Koodiyattom is essentially performed over 12 hours to 150 hours spanning many nights. It has 3 parts, the first part is when the Chakyar sings a verse and also performs, then he uses his facial expressions to convey the background story and bring the audience to the story’s mood. The 3rd part involved the Nangyar and other artists as required for the story, perform their parts to actually tell the story which is the Koodiyaattom. You can enjoy a shortened version of if during your Kerala tour packages from Delhi. Since the verse is in Sanskrit, you may be able to understand. Even otherwise the acting will be quite elaborate which will easily make you get into the story.




Theyyam is essentially a temple ritual rather than a dance form. During this ritual, men dressed as the fierce Bhagavathi are possessed by her and she starts giving instructions on various matters to her disciples. If you visit the Malabar regions during your Kerala Travel, Theyyam is more prevalent there.


Chavittu Naadakam

chavittu nadakam

Though this is essentially a dance drama, which can be mold into a dance form. As the name suggests, it is a form of stamping drama. The Christians wanted their own form of dance to depict their God’s stories just as the other dance forms told Hindu mythological stories. If you are visiting the Muziris Heritage areas during your Kerala honeymoon packages, you can enjoy it at Gothuruthu from where this dance form was initially orchestrated. The name comes as the artists stamps on the stage while performing the drama.



Now you know that Munnar, Thekkady and Wayanad are not only the popular destinations for honeymoon packages in Kerala. Tourists, who are artistically inclined, would enjoy the dance performances that accompany the tour in the popular destinations. For the others, temple grounds, performance stages, and cultural festivals remain the major locations where they can enjoy live performances of these art forms that are all very difficult to learn. There are other less-popular and not so developed dances like Kurathiyattom, folk dance and dramas performed by artists during the temple festivals and cultural feasts. Most of the dance forms can be enjoyed during your honeymoon packages in the resorts you stay if you request for the same in advance. For foreigners, special performances are arranged so that they will take back beautiful memories of our good old days.


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