Kerala is known for traditional arts,cultural forms and sometime reffered as land of festivals. There are various communities in Kerala who contribute diverse forms of performing arts and colorful culture.
Here is the list of traditional and classical art forms of Kerala including Panchavadyam, Nangiar Koothu, Krishnanattam, Ottamthullal, Mohiniyattam, Theeyaattam, Tholpavakoothu, Poothan and Thira. Image source – keralatourism.org
Kathakali is a classical Indian dance form and also the most elaborate costuming from Kerala. The style of Kathakali originated from Kerala and developed as a Hindu performance art.
Mohiniyattam is another most famous classical dance form from Kerala, performed by women as a solo dance with extensive training. Mohini is the female avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu and involves various rhythms.
Theyyam is a ritual art form popular in north Kerala in Malabar region. The performers of Theyyam generally performed in front of the village shrine with dancer along with the drummers.
Padayani is a ceremonial and traditional folk dance and a ritual art performed in Bhagavati temples of Kerala. Patayani and Theyyam ritual dance are very similar in fashin but different in version that also involves ancient martial arts.
Ottan Thullal is a dance performance form of Kerala with green makeup and a colorful costume. Ottan Thullal, Kolam Thullal and Sarpam Thullal are three most exotic and spectacular ritual performance from the state of Kerala.
Onapottan is a traditional Kerala art form celebrated during Onam season specially in North Malabar. A folk character with painted face and crown showcases every day during the festival.
Puli Kali is a folk art performed during the annual harvest festival of Onam to entertain people and to create awareness. Puli means Tiger and Puli Kali is the play of the tigers on the theme of tiger hunting, practiced in Thrissur district of Kerala.
Koodiyattam is a theater performed art a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, recognized by UNESCO. The Sanskrit drama of Kutiyattam presented in the traditional style in temple theaters of Kerala with musical instruments.
Thirayattam is a ritual performing art from South Malabar region of the state in Kozhikode and Malappuram district. This Ethnic art form performed by Perumannan, Panan and Cherumar communities.
Kummatti Kali is the most colorful mask dance seen during Onam festival in Thrissur and Palakkad district of Kerala. The dancers cover their body with grass and the theme is mostly taken from the stories of Ramayana.
Chakyar Koothu is a story and performance art, traditionally been performed only by the Chakyar community. The traditional dance form is one of the oldest classical arts of Kerala and performed in the temples.
Kalaripayattu is a battlefield and combat art form, originated in Kerala and practiced in northern and central parts of the state. Kalaripayattu martial art is one of the oldest surviving fighting systems in the world and famous for its attacking and defensive patterns.