Founded in 1930 by renowned poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon along the banks of the river Nila in the Cheruthuruthy village of Thrissur District, Kalamandalam is an immortal name in the cultural map of the world. Kalamandalam is strictly a residential center of learning. Veteran teachers and talented students are its inestimable wealth. For art-recitals, demonstrations and workshops held in Kalamandalam and outside, artiste-teachers and students participate.
Koothambalam (Traditional Temple-Theater)
Koothambalam or Natyagriha has for long been part of Kerala’s temple-heritage. Only a few major temples have retained Koothambalams. The traditional Koothambalams were built in accordance with the principles laid down in the Natyasaastra ( The ancient Indian dramaturgy) of sage Bharata. Completed in 1976, Kalamandalam Koothambalam has traditional architectural elegance coupled with the imagination of a renowned architect and art connoisseur, the late D. Appukkuttan Nair. The pillars of the Natyagriha are made of granite. The roof-structure, the stage-floor and its pillars are made of teak-wood and rose-wood. On the granite pillars are inscribed one hundred and eight karanas (dance-poses) dealt within the Natyasastra. There are two dressing-rooms behind the stage. Traditionally Kuttu and Kutiyattam were performed at the Koothambalam. In the architecturally exquisite Koothambalam, there will be variety programs on special occasions. Watching recitals at the Koothambalam is a delightful experience.
Our Art-Gallery has neatly exhibited elegant statutes of different Kathakali characters and those of other performing arts.The statues are in fiber conceived and created by the renowned artiste Namboodiri. The outer walls of the Gallery have beautiful mural paintings by artiste Suresh and his colleagues of the Vaasthuvidya Gurukulam, Aaranmula. The costume- room has a wide variety of colourful costumes, head-gears, wooden masks and wooden weapons used by the Kathakali and Koodiyattam characters.For art-lovers and cultural-enthusiasts, there is much more to see at Kalamandalam. The Vallathol-Museum at Cheruthuruthy showcases the poetic works, cultural contributions and achievements of Mahakavi Vallathol over a long period of time. In the old kalamandalam campus there is the Vallathol Samadhi where his soul rests in peace. The main-building in the old campus is converted into Portrait-Gallery. Here portraits of the great artists of yore in oil painting adorn the four walls. Most of them had played commendable roles in the formative years of Kalamandalam. In the Gallery we have exhibited countless mementos and plaques Kalamandalam received for the Kathakali, Koodiyattam and Mohiniyattam recitals held in the international dance, drama and music festivals all over the world.
Years back, the Vallathol house at the Cheruthuruthy village was taken over by the Government and handed over to Kalamandalam. The house has been converted into Vallathol Museum which exhibits among others the precious manuscripts, gifts which the poet received from various countries, the different dresses he used on various occasions, photographs of Vallathol with luminaries from all over the world and the audio-version of his select poems. The museum-building has been renovated and the display has been redesigned with architectural eloquence. A visit to Vallathol Museum has now become a cultural pilgrimage.
‘A Day with the Masters’ is a pilgrimage to the most sacred temple of arts, giving a world class experience to the visitors, with an unique menu of presentations that bring out the grandeur of the institution. This premier cultural tourism product of the ‘Gods Own Country’ is jointly promoted by Kerala Tourism and Kerala Kalamandalam.