Temple Arts

Kerala has a number of other minor temple arts and some of these deserve mention. Patakam which is a simple form otKpothu is an art which is fast flying out for want of encouragement. In it, a single actor expounds puranic stories. Harikatha performance has in recent times taken the place of patakam., as it has more musical overtones and hence is more popular. A more modern version of this art is the Kathaprasangam in which the, performer narrates a story punctuated with verges sung in .different tunes. This is performed not only in temples, but also for purposes of popular entertainment outside and it deals with non-religious themes also.

Kurathlyattam is a kind of gypsy dance performed in connection with, temple festivals in Central Kerala, The stories about Siva and Parvathi |are sung to the accompaniment of dance and music and usually there are two actors. They can be seen vying with each other in narrating the virtues of their respective lords. Perhaps, Kurathiyattam was originally a play in which women were the sole participants, but how the dancers are men in the make-up of .women, one impersonating Vishnu and the other Siva.


Chendamelam which is a unique feature of Trichur Pooram and such other festivals is played with such instruments as Chenda, Kombu, Kuzhal etc. It is supposed to express the all powerful nature of the Supreme God. The churches also resort to it in connection with their Perunnals.. Parichavadyam is a unique art in which the sounds emanating from five instruments in varying pitches are synchronized. Bach avarthana or session in Panchavadyam lasts for several hours and is noted for its thrilling climaxes and anti- climaxes. Thayambaka, a classical piece of orchestra, is played on chenda or drum. It is a typical temple Vadya of Kerala, which too like Panchavadyam, is performed in several sessions lasting for hours, each session having its climates and anti-climaxes. Nagaswaramelam, also known as Pandivadyam, is another set of Vadyams played in connection with the main pujas in the temples. It is also played on other auspicious occasions like marriages.