Koodiyattam

Koodiyattam is the oldest form of Sanskrit Theatre and has been recognised by the UNESCO as an `intangible heritage of humanity’. Considered to be the mother of all dances Koodiyattam has influenced all major ancient art forms.

Performed in a koothamabalam, a theatre within the temple, the play demands a strict adherence to rules and takes nights to perform. Based on a stage manual and a performance manual considered unarguable and indisputable, Koodiyattam is performed using Vedic chants, ragas, and defined bodily gestures that communicate attitudes of the character. Hand, eye and facial expressions are the other modes of enactment.

Painted faces made up of vegetable dyes and colourful attire completes the make-up. Musical instruments that fill the background include the mizhavu or sacred drum, edakka and thimila producing complex sounds usually announcing the entry of kings.