Kerala Kalamandalam, deemed to be the University of Art and Culture by the Government of India, is a major center for learning Indian performing arts, especially those that developed in the Southern states of India, with the special emphasis on Kerala.
It would be no exaggeration to call this hallowed institute of art and culture Kerala’s pride. Founded in 1930 by eminent poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon to renew people’s interest in art and culture, Kerala Kalamandalam has grown into one of the most respected residential training centres for the classical arts. The institution is the result of a meeting between Vallathol and Rabindranath Tagore which inspired the former to begin Kalamandalam with his associate Manakkulam Mukunda Raja. Kalamandalam came to be, on the banks of the river Nila in Thrissur’s Cheruthuruthy town also known as Vallathol Nagar. The artiste-teachers and students of Kalamandalam put in hours of practice, honing and nurturing their craft. Training is held in Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Koodiyattam, Thullal, Nangiar Koothu, the Panchavadyam and percussion instruments like mridangam, chenda, maddalam and mizhavu. With strict adherence to the Gurukulam model of teaching, students live on campus and imbibe knowledge from the teacher. The staff take visitors through the history of the institute and a walk through campus. Visitors can take in the traditional style of architecture used for the institute’s buildings and also interact with the teachers and students. Students are not to be interrupted in between practice as it is considered disrespectful to the art form. Kathakali, Kutiyattam, Mohiniyattam and Thullal troupes from Kalamandalam are held in high regard for their performances in India and abroad. Artiste-teachers and students participate in art recitals and lecture demonstrations that draw aficionados of classical arts from around the world. It is now a deemed university and has enjoyed the support of the cultural affairs departments of both the state and central governments, and the Sangeet Natak Akademy, New Delhi.
- Railway station: Shoranur railway station, 3 km away
- Flight: Cochin International Airport, 85 km away
- Timings: 9 am – 1 pm
- Activities: Tour of the institute