One of the most respected places for the traditional art forms of Kerala, the Kalamandalam is the cradle of Kathakali training in India. Besides a major centre for Kathakali training, Kalamandalam also imparts training in other performing art forms like Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam, Thullal and Nangiarkoothu. Training in vocal and drumming instruments are also conducted here. Many of the internationally famous artistes of Kerala and India have been trained here.
The Kalamandalam and its surroundings reproduce the simple, pure and cultural atmosphere in which these arts have survived for centuries. The Koothambalam - the traditional dance theatre at Kalamandalam is the only one in Kerala which is built outside a temple complex. This theatre is 14.62 m long and 7.31m wide and has four wooden pillars supporting it. It has three main parts - the aniyara (green room), the rangam (stage) - the space in front and side of it meant for the audience and the mridanga-patha (where the drum is kept).
Kerala Kalamandalam was established by Vallathol Narayana Menon, the famous Malayalam poet. It was a time when the reputation of Kathakali was on the decline. English education had been introduced and only a few upper class families in the state held the key to the art form. Realizing the need to keep the art alive, the poet along with a few royal Kathakali enthusiasts like M. Mukundaraja and Kunjikuttan Thampuran, took over the revitalization and popularization programme. They arranged performances by eminent artistes across the state and even raised funds through lotteries.
Over the years this unique institution has imparted training in Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Kootiyattam, Panchavadyam, Thullal etc, following the ancient gurukula system of education.
Kerala Kalamandalam, Vallathol Nagar, Cheruthuruthy, Thrissur, Kerala - 679531, India. Phone: 91- 0488- 2462418.
Nearest railway station: Shornur, about 10 km.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 90 km.