Kerala Kalamandalam

Kerala Kalamandalam founded in 1930, this is a center for reviving, preserving and developing the traditional art forms of Kerala especially Kathakali. Kerala Kalamandalam was established by Vallathol Narayana Menon, the renowned Malayalam poet. Besides being an outstanding poet and scholar, Vallathol was a passionate lover of Kathakali and other classical dance-theatre traditions of Kerala. It was a time when the popularity of Kathakali was on the wane. English education had been introduced and only a few upper class families in the state held the key to the art form. Realising 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 revival and popularisation these programs. They arranged performances by eminent artistes across the state and even raised funds through lotteries.

Kalamandalam is one of the most revered places for the traditional art forms of Kerala. Kalamandalam also imparts training in other performing art forms like Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam, Thullal and Nangiarkoothu. Training in vocal and percussion instruments are also conducted here. Many of the internationally renowned artistes of Kerala and India have been trained here.

Close to the River Bharathapuzha in Cheruthuruthy, a small village in the northern fringe of Thrissur District, the birth of Kalamandalam marked the first institutional step in the cultural history of Kerala to start training in classical performing arts, which were so far left to the patronage of provincial kings and landlords.

Since its inception many stalwarts contributed to the growth and reputation of Kerala Kalamandalam. It is strictly a residential mode of learning that is followed at the Kerala Kalamandalam. It is the Gurukula or traditional style of education, calling for deep bonds between the teacher and the student. Veteran teachers and talented students are the real wealth of Kerala Kalamandalam.

Close to the old Kalamandalam campus is the Vallathol Museum where the precious moments in the life of poet and scholar Vallathol are preserved in visuals and words. The portrait gallery here has on display oil portraits of eminent artistes of yester years. The Vallathol Samaadhi - the final resting place of the poet is another attraction in the old campus.