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Kerala, a land with a culture and tradition that have many interesting facets, has over the years become ...
Kerala Kalamandalam has, for decades, been regarded as the most prestigious Kathakali school in the entire world...
The land of Kerala has given birth to quite a lot of cults and cultures. To untwine these cults from the culture, religion...
History encounters you in lots of ways at Iringal. It might come to you as a whiff of a war...
In the deep reaches of Kollam, there is a pristine, expanse of greenery that will be of interest ...
Welcome to Kodikuthimala – a quiet beauty that waits to fascinate you with its perennial springs, waterfalls and sheer charm..
Sadya is a feast encompassing the length and breadth of vegetarian cuisine. Its spread can go up to28 dishesat a time..
Sprouted in the pristine land of India some 5000 years ago, Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity
Kerala, a land with a culture and tradition that have many interesting facets, has over the years become a fascination for visitors from around the world. Its cultural fabric is woven by the captivating threads of traditional practices and beliefs. Among them, the ritual arts deserve special mention. Tholpavakoothu or shadow puppetry using leather puppets is a ritual art popular in the northern districts of Kerala, viz. Palakkad and Malappuram. In Malayalam, Thol means leather, pava means doll and koothu the play. An ancient ritualistic art form, very little is known about the period of origin of Tholpavakoothu. Finding a place among the ancient art forms of Kerala, typically Tholpavakoothu is presented for 7, 14 or 41 days as an offering at temples dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. The lead puppeteer is called pulavar. It is believed that the compositions for Tholpavakoothu were done by Chinnathampi Vadhyar, based on the version of the epic Ramayan written by the great Tamil poet and scholar - Kambar, who lived in 12 C.E. With Ramayana as the theme, the puppets in Tholpavakoothu represent characters in it. As per belief, Goddess Bhadrakali who was busy in her fight with Dharika, whom she eventually kills, could not watch the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana and the subsequent release of Sita, the beloved wife of Rama. Since the goddess missed that epic battle between Rama and Ravana, the story of Ramayana was staged in the form of Tholpavakoothu, especially Yudha Kanda, the chapter dealing with the war. The story of Ramayana is composed for Tholpavakoothu in 21 parts, which are presented during 21 nights. About 180 puppets are needed for a full performance. The art form is usually staged late in the evening. By nightfall, performance begins on a specially made stage called the koothumadam. Here, the puppets are played behind a long curtain illuminated by traditional earthen lamps. The puppets are flat and made of malleable deerskin, and their shadows fall on a white cloth stretched taut across the koothumadam. As per the local belief, this ritual art form is watched by the goddess, who in turn blesses the community.
Kerala Kalamandalam has, for decades, been regarded as the most prestigious Kathakali school in the entire world. This legendary school of art is located in Cheruthuruthy and was originally set up by the famous poet of Malayalam, Vallathol Narayana Menon. The story goes that he recognised a subtle decrease in the interest people had in Kathakali and other traditional art forms and thus started the venture. Today, the Kalamandalam is the foremost proponent of a variety of traditional performing art forms that include Mohiniyattam, Kutiyattam, Thullal and Nangiarkoothu. It is also an official deemed University for Art and Culture. Founded in 1930 along the banks of the Nila (Bharathapuzha) River in Thrissur District, its ambience has assisted and nurtured Kerala’s traditional art forms for nearly a century. Performances and classes are regularly held in Kalamandalam, fostered by its quaint charm. Eminent artists from across the state and beyond perform regularly at its famous dance theatre, Koothambalam. Interestingly, it is the only one of its kind to be built outside a Temple complex. The Koothambalam’s granite pillars are famous for having one hundred and eight karanas (dance-poses) inscribed on them. Watching recitals in these hallowed halls is an ethereal experience. A number of scholarships and awards, sponsored by patrons from across the world, are regularly awarded to aid the student’s journey as artists. As per the local belief, this ritual art form is watched by the goddess, who in turn blesses the community.
The land of Kerala has given birth to quite a lot of cults and cultures. To untwine these cults from the culture, religion, land and people of this state would be an unattainable task for such is the synthesis obtained by all these entities. Theeyattam or Theeyattu is such an ancient and multihued cult the genesis of which is untraceable in the pages of history. A traditional ritual in dance form theeyattam is performed by the members of Theeyaattunni or Thiyaadi Nambiar community in Kerala. Bhadrakali Theeyattu and Ayyappan Theeyattu are the two types of theeyattam. Bhadrakali Theeyattu is a ritualistic dance usually performed in Bhadrakali temples and in the households of namboothiri and theeyattunni communities. The ritual starts with the ceremony of kalamezhuthu, ritualistic drawings in colourful powder. An elaborate picture (kalam) of Goddess Bhadrakali is drawn on the floor using natural colours strictly following guidelines on pattern, details and dimensions. The materials used are rice for white, charcoal of husk for black, turmeric for yellow, mixture of lime and turmeric for red and green leaves for green colour. When lighted oil lamps are placed there emanates an awe inspiring image of goddess Bhadrakali. Following this is a three-hour long song praising Bhadrakali. The dance parts usually commence at night which is performed by a male theeyattunni. He enters the stage with elaborate dressing and a huge headgear is placed on his head which ascribes him the status of goddess Bhadrakali. 'She' narrates the story of the battle with Darika to Lord Shiva who is her progenitor. Lord Shiva is symbolized by a huge lighted lamp. The performance, which progress through chants, dance and gestures, reports the incidents leading to the killing of Darika. The performance concludes with the enacting of the assassination of Darikasura, representing the destruction of evil. Bhadrakali theeyattu is performed mostly in the south and central districts of Kerala including Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam. As per the local belief, this ritual art form is watched by the goddess, who in turn blesses the community.
History encounters you in lots of ways at Iringal. It might come to you as a whiff of a war fought in the bygone era, the renowned resistance of Kunjali Marakkar against the Portuguese, or it might resound in your tympanum as the squall of the ghosts of giant granites, splintered ruthlessly by gunpowder. Iringal, a pretty little village near Vadakara in Kozhikode has a special place in the history of Kerala. We are inviting you to Iringal not to get amazed by the glorious past of this place but to experience and enjoy the unrivaled skills of the traditional craftsmen of the State. Sargaalaya, the Kerala Arts and Crafts village at Iringal in Kerala is an initiative of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala. It is an exclusive place where you can not only pick a product fashioned by the traditional artisans of Kerala but also learn one or two lessons in the subtleties of crafts-making. Conceptualized as a tourist destination, Sargaalaya was developed and implemented on the Responsible Tourism model. Put up on a sprawling 20-acre land on the shores of the Moorad River at Iringal in Kozhikode, the craft village has 60 stalls housed in beautiful cottages that are environment-friendly and ethnic in design. The management of the village is vested in the hands of the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS). Combining the streams of art and business, the village throws up a comprehensive platform for exhibition, sales and craft-making. The uniqueness of the craft village is that it is the only place where a tourist can witness and learn in person the nuances of crafts-making and skills of the traditional artisans of Kerala. You surely wouldn't miss a chance like this, especially if you have a great passion for art and craft. You can also carry these fascinating crafts as a souvenir to your home at a reasonable price. And if you are into craft business you can establish longstanding business relations with the artisans of Kerala. Being set up by the Department of Tourism, the venture ensures brand protection to foreign entrepreneurs and local artisans. The wide range of products displayed here is crafted with different raw materials ranging from less expensive natural options to modern alloys. There are artifices designed with banana fibre, coir, bamboo, sand, coconut shells, husk, palm leaves, coconut leaves and screw-pine. The Crafts Design and Technology development centre at Sargaalaya provides training for craftsmen on the latest techniques of production and encourages innovation in the traditional system. Sargaalaya also provides opportunity for the tourists to enjoy classical and folk art forms of Kerala according to their preference. The tourists can also enjoy boating in the Moorad River. A tourist circuit will soon be developed connecting Kunjali Marakkar Museum, Kolavipalam Turtle Hatchery and Vadakara Sandbanks.
Welcome to Kodikuthimala – a quiet beauty that waits to fascinate you with its perennial springs, waterfalls and sheer charm. Walk through the lush green valleys and feel refreshed and young all again. Nestling amidst the mist-clad Amminikkadan hills in Malappuram district, Kodikuthimala is a favoured weekend destination in north Kerala. Popularly known as the mini Ooty of Malappuram, this green paradise has long been a magnet for trekkers, travel junkies and nature enthusiasts. It is the best place to stop by on your trip to north Kerala. You are sure to feel truly rejuvenated as you step into this quaintly beauteous atmosphere. The grassy meadows, the cool breeze and the serene, secluded ambience are truly rewarding. You will get a chance to see a spectrum of vibrant flora and fauna as well. It is believed that the British hoisted (kuthi) their flag (kodi) on this hill (mala), during a survey, and thus the place came to be known as Kodikuthimala (literally, the hill where a flag was hoisted). The place is situated at an altitude of 2,000 feet above sea level, offering a spectacular visual treat. It also has a watch tower that offers its visitors a vantage point to seize a panoramic view and distil the full essence of its splendour. As you trek up and down the undulating landscape of Kodikuthimala you are likely to see Nature in all her moods. You may be enveloped by a blanket of mist or baptized by a light drizzle, you may be caressed by happy sunshine or pricked by a bit of chill. At times when the mist becomes palpably thick, the hilltop can get quite spooky too! Come to Kodikuthimala and soak yourself in its scintillating sights! Getting there: The place is located about 10 kms away from Perinthalmanna. Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport, about 55 km Nearest railway station: Tirur, about 52 km (Major Railway Station)
Sadya is a feast encompassing the length and breadth of vegetarian cuisine. Its spread can go up to28 dishesat a time. This traditional vegetarian feast of Kerala is among the most favourite delicacies of all who visit our shores. Traditionally, Sadya is served on a plantain leaf, with the tapering side of the leaf pointing to the left of the guest. It consists of par boiled red rice, side dishes, savouries, pickles and desserts, all served at different times of the meal. Rice is usually placed on the lower side of the leaf. First served item after rice is Parippu, which is a liquid curry made from small gram and ghee. It is followed by the South Indian household favourite, Sambar. This vegetable stew can be made from any assortment of vegetables available. They are then boiled in gravy of crushed lentils, onions, chillies, coriander and turmeric with a pinch of asafoetida. Side dishes are equally important. Avial, a combination of vegetables, coconut paste and green chillies, is extremely famous. Fresh coconut oil and raw curry leaves are immediately added after the dish is prepared to add to the flavour of the dish. Thoran is another important side dish. It usually contains minced string beans, cabbage, radish or grams, mixed with grated coconut along with a dash of red chillies and turmeric powder. Olan is a dish which consists mainly of pumpkin and red grams cooked inthin gravy of coconut milk. Major savouries of a Sadya include Upperi (deep fried banana chips), Pappadams (fried wafer of black gram flour), Ginger Pickle and Kichadi (sliced cucumber/ladyfinger in curd, seasoned with mustard, red chillies and curry leaves in coconut oil). They are served along with mango and lime pickle. Payasams, Kerala’s beloved dessert, are served next. There are different variety of Payasams like Pal Payasam, Palada Pradhaman and Kadalaparippu Pradhaman. A payasam is basically a pudding of sweet brown molasses or milk, coconut milk and spices, garnished with cashew nuts and raisins. One normally has a ripe yellow plantain, Pazham, along with it. At the end of the feast, one is served rice again, along with traditionally made Rasam. Rasam is a mixture of chilli and pepperpowders boiled in diluted tamarind juice. Kaalan, seasoned buttermilk with turmeric powder and green chillies along with sour buttermilk with salt and chopped green chillies are served. These are supposed to help with digestion as well. The meal is wound up by folding the plantain leaf in half. Sadya is a feast of flavours and enriches your palate in many ways. It is something to be experienced at least once during one’s life span
Sprouted in the pristine land of India some 5000 years ago, Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Since ancient times Ayurveda has stood for the wholesome physical, mental and spiritual growth of humanity around the world. Today, it's a unique, indispensable branch of medicine, a complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body's humours - vata, pitta and kapha - to achieve the right balance.
Kerala, the Land of Ayurveda
Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (traditional practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only solution for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala. The legendary eight families of Vaidyas (Ashta vaidyas) and their successors treated the entire state for centuries. Unlike the other Indian states the status of Ayurveda in Kerala is not that an alternative but is main stream. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication. Being the only resort of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.
The Boons of Nature
The equable climate, natural abundance of forests and the cool Monsoon season of Kerala are best suited for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages. Kerala is perhaps one of the few places on Earth where a temperature of 24-28 degrees is maintained during a period of continuous rain. This prevalence of moisture in the air and on the surface of the skin makes it the ideal place for natural medicines to work at their highest levels of potency. The land is also blessed with innumerous medicinal plants and provides the continuity and consistency of Ayurveda medicines needed for effective treatment procedures. The same herbs with the same potency are available year after year across every season. The rich alkaloid content of the soil enhances the intensity and potency of many Ayurvedic medicines when compared to places with a different soil constitution.
The Advantages of Ayurveda in Kerala
Ashtangahridayam, the practical, user friendly interpretation of Ayurveda, compiled by the great Sage Vagbata is seldom used anywhere in the world as it is extensively done in Kerala. The Vaidyars of Kerala are proficient in this most contemporary treatise of Ayurveda which many scholars consider an advancement over the earlier samhitas of Charaka and Sushruta, the pioneers of Ayurveda. It is in Kerala that Kashaya Chikitsa (treatment with concoction) has become a standardised protocol involving hundreds of Kashayams that were scientifically classified and organised according to various treatment needs. Keralite Vaidyars were the first to focus on the anti oxidant properties of Abayangam leading to the profusion of kizhis. The largest number of Ayurveda colleges and the largest number of practitioners in comparison to any place in the world has led to a tradition of Ayurveda research in a scientific manner in Kerala.
Ayurveda as a lifestyle
In Kerala Ayurveda is not just a healthcare system but it is a part and parcel of every aspect of life, in Kerala. Miracles like paralysed people walking, incurable diseases cured etc. that happen even today inspire respect and awe for the vaidyars of Kerala.
In the deep reaches of Kollam, there is a pristine, expanse of greenery that will be of interest to the members of the great Scottish Clan, Munroe, who are scattered across the globe. Precisely for the two crores fourty lakh members of the Munroe Clan! It must be noted that just a few places named after the Clan exist and this islet in Kerala named after a Munroe should not be given a miss. An endless stretch of emerald green waters polka-dotted by green stretches of land, the Munroe Island in Kollam is a green paradise indeed. The Munroe Island is a cluster of eight small islands that lie comfortably against the placid backwaters. The ideal way to experience the charm and rhythm of life at the islands is by ferrying in a country boat through its green labyrinth. This backwater island village has been named after Colonel John Munroe, the British Resident of erstwhile Travancore State. He contributed significantly in integrating several backwater regions by digging canals. This slice of greenery lies nestled at the confluence of the Ashtamudi Lake and Kallada River, around 27 km off Kollam. The antiquity of the islet can be traced back to the age of megaliths and Stone-Age tools. If you are looking for the perfect getaway, this palm-tree lined remote and breathtakingly beautiful island where nature is in overdrive is the ideal choice. If there is one place where you understand the true meaning of tranquility, it is here at Munroe Thuruth.