Kerala Kalamandalam

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Kalamandalam Deemed University of Art and Culture, is a major centre for learning Indian performing arts, especially those that developed in the Southern states of India, with the special emphasis on Kerala. It is situated in the village of Cheruthuruthy in Thrissur District on the banks of the Bharathapuzha river.

Kerala Kalamandalam is the premiere public institution in India imparting training in and conducting performances of the classical arts of Kerala viz. Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyaattam, Thullal and Panchavaadyam. Founded in 1930 by renowned poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon along the banks of the river Nila in the Cheruthuruthy village of Thrissur District, Kalamandalam is an immortal name in the cultural map of the world. Training in art-disciplines at Kalamandalam essentially adheres to the ancient Gurukula sambradaaya (The traditional mode of education which calls for a deep bond between the teacher and the student). Kalamandalam is strictly a residential center of learning. Veteran teachers and talented students are its inestimable wealth. For art-recitals held in Kalamandalam and outside, artiste-teachers and students participate. Kalamandalam Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyaatam and Thullal Troupes have traveled widely in India and abroad for programs, lecture-demonstrations and workshops. They have represented India in many an international dance and theater festival.

Kerala Kalamandalam has been functioning as a grant-in-aid institution under the Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Kerala. For special Projects, the Department of Culture, Government of India, and the Sangeet Natak Akademy, New Delhi, have been extending financial support. For the preservation and promotion of Koodiyattam, UNESCO has sanctioned substantial financial assistance to Kalamandalam in 2004. The South Zone Cultural Center, Thanjavur, has, for years, been extending financial assistance to Kalamandalam for conducting dance & music festival in this campus. Being a regular event, the festival held every year attracts hundreds of rasikaas.

Since the historic encounter between the noble laureate Rabindranatha Tagore and vallathole at Santinikethan, Culcutta, the latter nurtured dreams of converting Kalamandalam in to a world renowned University for art and culture. Together with his close associate, Manakkulam Mudhuntha Raja, Vallathole made pioneering efforts for the multifaced development of Kalamandalam with its recently achieved status of a deemed university, Kerala Kalamandalam has fulfilled the of long cherished dream of its founder.

Cultural Tourism

A Day With the Masters
Arrangements have been Streamlined for helping visitors to spend a few hours at the Kalamandalam campus most beneficially through direct exposure to masters in various art-disciplines. Dr. V. Venu, former Director of Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala, initiated a proposal for effectively making use of tourism- potentials in Kalamandalam. Named as A Day With the Masters the project in collaboration with Kerala Tourism is an earnest attempt to attract national and international tourists to the inner aesthetics of traditional arts. We launched the Cultural Tourism Project in February2003 at the Koothambalam. Key-players in the tourism industry have shown a deep interest in promoting this project. Nice it has become a major attraction for the tourists looking for serious entertainments.. All those interested to join the conducted tour may contact our Project Executive (Ph.04884-262305, Fax: 262019, E-mail:

Koothambalam (Traditional Temple-Theater)
Koothambalam or Natyagriha has for long been part of Kerala’s temple-heritage. Now only a few major temples have retain Koothambalams within the compounds. Koothambalams were built in accordance with the principles laid down in the Natyasaastra( The ancient Indian dramaturgy) of sage Bharata. Completed in 1976, the Kalamandalam Koothambalam has traditional architectural elegance coupled with the imaginations of a renowned architect late D. Appukkuttan Nair. The pillars of the Natyagriha are made of granite. The roof-structure, the stage-floor and its pillars are made of teak-wood and rose-wood. On the granite pillars are inscribed one hundred and eight karanas (dance-poses) dealt within the Natyasastra. There are two green-rooms behind the stage. Traditionally KOOTHU and KOODIYATTAM were performed at the Koothambalam. In the Kalamandalam Koothambalam, there will be variety programs on special occasions. Watching the recitals of performing arts at the koothambalam is a delightful experience.

The Art-Gallery
Our Art-Gallery has neatly exhibited elegant statutes of different Kathakali characters and those of other performing arts.The statues are in fiber conceived and created by the renowned artiste Namboodiri. The outer walls of the Gallery have beautiful mural paintings by artiste Suresh and his colleagues of the Vaasthuvidya Gurukulam, Aaranmula. The costume- room has a wide variety of costumes, head-gears, wooden masks and wooden weapons used by the Kathakali and Koodiyattam characters. Near the old Kalamandalam campus, there is the Vallathol Museum where the precious moments in the life of Vallathol are preserved in visuals and words. In the old Kalamandalam campus, there is a Portrait Gallery where master- artistes of yore come alive in remarkable oil-portrait, Vallathol-Samaadh; sheltered by lush green trees is yet another attraction in the old campus.

For art-lovers and cultural-enthusiasts, there is much more to see in Kalamandalam. The Vallathol-Museum at Cheruthuruthy showcases the poetic works, cultural contributions and achievements of Mahakavi Vallathol over a long period of time. In the old kalamandalam campus there is the vallathol Samadhi where his soul rests in peace. The main-building in the old campus is converted into Portrait-Gallery. Here portraits of the great artists of yore in oil painting adorn the four walls. Most of them had played commendable roles in the formative years of Kalamandalam. In the Gallery we have exhibited countless mementos and honors Kalamandalam received for the Kathakali, Koodiyattam and Mohiniyattam recitals held in the international dance, drama and music festivals all over the world.

Kerala Kalamandalam
Deemed University for Art and Culture
Cheruthuruthy 679 531, Thrissur, Kerala
Telephone: 04884 262418, 262526; Fax: 04884 262019

How to reach:

By Road : From Thrissur town, Kalamandalam is 32 KMs to the North. From Kochi/Eranakulam, the distance to Kalamandalam is only 110 KMs to the North. Kalamandalam is 330 KMs to the north of Thiruvananthapuram

By Rail : SHORANUR JUNCTION, a major Railway-station is only three KMs away from Kalamandalam.

By Air: Nedumbassery international airport is only 85 KMs away from Kalamandalam.


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