Travel Magazine

The Culture of Kerala is So Diverse and So Rich. It is Ex...

By Vishnudas
The culture of Kerala is so diverse and so rich. It is ex...The culture of Kerala is so diverse and so rich. It is expressed in various forms and is completely enchanting.
The festivals they celebrate, the ancient temples they have, the gods they worship, their dances and art forms, the delicious food they eat, the colourful clothes they wear, all gives us an idea of how rich the society is in terms of its culture. One of the earliest civilisations of India, it has a rich and fascinating history which is very magnetic. People from all corners of the world get attracted to its culture and come to this magical state to get a firsthand experience of it. The satisfaction they get from such encounters with one of the richest cultures in the world is precious and nothing can compare it. One of the most attractive features of the culture of Kerala is its dances which are of different types. One such popular dance is Kathakali.
Kathakali is a very important traditional dance form of Kerala which originated way back in the 17th century. With deep connections to Hindu mythology, this is a very stylized form of the many forms of Indian classical dances. The attractive make-up and costumes of the performers, the beautiful facial expressions and gestures and well defined body movements makes this dance form very pleasing and interesting to watch. This dance is performed on anchor playback music and other complementary percussion. It is not only a dance but a combination of painting, music, literature, acting and dance, perfectly combined to produce one of the most expressive forms of art. The literal translation of the word ‘Kathakali’ is ‘story-play’ and it completely does justice to its name by including various stories in its presentation which is presented in the most fascinating way. The songs on which this dance is performed is mostly in Malayalam, the main language of Kerala and the theme of this dance is mostly based on the characters or stories of ancient texts like Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. One of the most striking aspects of this dance is that it is performed by men who are dressed as women. The performance usually takes place at night and sometimes goes through the whole night. It forms a very important part of the social life of the Keralites and Kathakali dancers have high regard in their society.
Over time this form of dance has gone some changes and has incorporated improved looks, refined gestures and expressions, more new themes and ornate singing. There are about 101 stories for traditional classical Kathakali display however only about 1/3rd of it is actually displayed. Some of the traditional musical instruments used in this dance are shuddha madalam, chenda, manjira and idakka. The different forms of Kathakali styles are Vettahu Sampradayam, Kalladikkodan Sampradayam and Kaplingadu Sampradayam. These styles differ from each others in terms of choreography, position of hand and other gestures, balance between dance and drama etc. This is one of the most popular forms of dance of south India and is performed by various artists all over, gathering huge crowds.

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