Learn About Traditional Dance Forms of Kerala Before a Visit

Kochi to Chennai flight


Kerala is home to unique Arya-Indian and Tamil-Dravidian ‘kala’. It is reflected through the arts, crafts, history, language, martial arts, and food. The mythological dance drama isespecially an integral part of their cultural heritage. Many of the forms are performed at temples during festivals. These are known for distinctive costumes, beautifully synchronized movements, and exquisite expression. While some of them have gained recognition solely within Kerala, the others have crossed borders and acquired worldwide acceptance.

A mesmerizing experience is awaited after you deboard the Chennai to Kochi flight. Tourists mostly come to soak into the melody and rhythm of the gripping performance. Below are a few of the common dance forms you must not miss on your trip.


Thisclassical dance originated over 500 years ago. It is famous for the heavy makeup and substantial mudras of the palm and hand. The dress consists of junk jewellery, headgear, and a swirled skirt. ‘Katha’ means story and ‘Kali’ means to play. The performers usually tell a story of human emotions through vivid expressions. Other topics include spiritual ideas, religious legends, and folk mythologies fromdifferent granths and epics.

A lesser fact about Kathakali is that there are 5 types of face makeup. These are known as Vesham. Each one represents Kathi, Minukku, Kari, Pacha, and Thadi.


This is a graceful sensual semi-classical dance form of Kerala. It has its roots in the temples with a strong connection with Indian folklore. A solo woman usually performs in dazzling white and gold costumes, jasmine garland, and traditional jewellery. The uniqueness lies in the beautiful eye movements Mohini means ‘maiden’ and ‘yattam’ means dance in the local language. Try to catch a show at the academies and museums that host the performance before heading back in your Kochi to Chennai flight.


The dance originatedwas in the 18th century by Malayalam poet Kalakkaththu Nambair. The dancers are seen in loud makeup and vibrant costumes. The dance form was previously used to criticize the kings and leaders. Today it narrates stories from Indian mythology and is purely meant for entertainment purposes. The hand movements, jumping, and expressions evoke laughter. It is either performed solo or in a group.


This valuable art form is performed by teenage boys and girls. It is based on Natyashastra where the females belonging from the Nangiyar community and males from the Chakkiyar community come together. The dance is held inside temples for 6 to 20 days. You can see musical backgrounds of cymbals and drums. Other musical instruments involved are Sankhu, Kuzhitalam, Mizhavu, and Kurumkuzhal along with Sanskrit verses.


The Dravidian dance form comes in 400 variations. The most celebrated ones are Kari Chamundi, Gulikan, Pottan, and Rakhta Chamundi. The audience can see a brilliant mixture of music, action, characters, and emotions without uttering a single word. It is performed as a tribute to Goddess Kali. The dancers are adorned with exotic makeup and vibrant costumes. The main musical instruments used are Chenda and Veekkuchenda.

Don’t forget to check out Kolkali, Thumpi Thullal, Chakyar Koothu, and Velakali before boarding your Kochi to Chennai flight back home.

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