India | Kerala


A Form of Dance Drama

Krishnattam or Krishnanattam, a product of the Bhakti Movement, is a dramatic form based on Lord Krishnaís life presented at the Guruvayoorappan Temple, Thrissur in Kerala. It is a milestone in the evolution of dance-drama. Originally, it was based on the Sanskrit poem Krishnagiti, mostly written in quatrains by the Zamorin King Manavedan in 1654. He was a great researcher and supporter of art, and has been regarded as the inventor of Krishnattam. The performers of this art were called Chakyars. The performers wear costumes and makeup to resemble Kathakali and folk arts like Mudiyettu and Theyyam. The story of Krishna as told in the puranas and epics such as Srimad Bhagavata, Mahabharata and Harivamsa is presented as a sequence of eight plays over a period of eight days. Song, dance and acting are features of this art form. It is performed to the accompaniment of Madalam, Ilathalam and Chengila.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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