Kerala, the state that enchants all and sundry with its heavenly beauty that is richly endowed by nature is also a land of exquisite culture and cuisine. Whether it be the way festivals are celebrated or special food cooked for auspicious occasions, the rich sweetness of coconuts seems to permeate everything life in Kerala.
One of the compelling and captivating aspects of the culture of Kerala is its dances which are intertwined with its festivals and culture. The dances themselves are many-hued and cover different aspects of life that range from stories from mythology to military warfare.
One place to witness the rich heritage of the culture of Kerala showcased in the form of dance is at the Kalari Kshetra in Munnar. Munnar with its picturesque landscapes forms an ideal setting for getting an immersive experience of Kerala’s spectacular and colourful dances.
What is Kalari Kshetra
Kalari Kshetra is a centre in Munnar, Kerala that showcases the best of Kerala’s dance culture through spectacular shows. The centre also conducts training classes in these dance forms. Here are 5 reasons why you should not miss a show at the Kalari Kshetra in Munnar
Kalaripayattu-The Spectacular Martial Art
Kalaripayattu is an ancient martial art now immortalised in dance form. The martial art is said to be more than 3,000 years old. It is believed that the ancient art of Kalaripayattu is the precursor of all other martial arts. Different types of martial arts are believed to have originated from Kalaripayattu. The famous martial arts like Karate, Kung Fu, Judo are derived from Kalaripayattu. It is believed that Bodhi dharma who travelled to China sometime in the 5th or 6th century took the ancient art of Kalaripayattu which evolved into the martial arts like Kung Fu and Karate.
Kalaripayattu is made up of four components or types. They are Mey Payattu or physical training, Vadi Payattu or combat with a stick, Ayudha Payattu or combat with weapons, and Adi Thada or hand to hand combat.
The dance is nothing short of poetry in motion and is a stunning demonstration of grace, strength, and fluidity of motion. An experience of Kalaripayattu at the Kalari Kshetra is nothing short of a revelation and is bound to leave indelible memories to cherish.
Kathakali – Indian Epics Brought To Life
Kathakali which has become synonymous with Kerala and is its iconic dance form is another reason to visit the Kalari Kshetra in Munnar. The traditional folk dance of Kerala with its colourful costumes, mesmerising music and the hypnotic sounds of percussion transform the Kalari Kshetra into a spectacular theatre. Kathakali is a dance form that brings alive stories from the famous Indian mythologies, Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Watch The Intricate Art of Makeup
One of the most critical aspects of the Kathakali dance form is the makeup which the artist dons. It takes hours to put the makeup on and is in itself an experience to enjoy. One gets an opportunity to observe the artists putting on their makeup at the Kalari Kalakshetra.
Immersive Experience of the Dance Forms
The Kalari Kalakshetra not only stages spectacular shows of the dance forms of Kerala but also disseminates knowledge of its history and heritage. The centre also gives an opportunity to learn the dance forms by organising training classes. A great way for people to go beyond just being observers and audience to these unique and ancient dance forms of Kerala.
Dance – The Soul of Kerala Culture
Munnar and Kerala undoubtedly dazzle with their natural beauty. But it would be unthinkable to travel to Munnar and not experience the magic of its soul. The soul of the place is its vibrant culture which is best represented by the ancient dance forms of Kathakali and Kalaripayattu. The Kalari Kalakshetra is the best place to be touched by this soul of Kerala.
The booming sounds of drums and the rhythms of the dances of Kerala beckons. The call is irresistible, and the Kalari Kshetra’s theatre of dance awaits its audience. The next time you are in those parts do avail the hospitality of Sterling Munnar and immerse yourself in the culture and dance of Kerala at the Kalari Kshetra. It will be an experience that will refresh you with the fragrance of the ancient culture and heritage of God’s own country and create memories that will linger on for a long, long time.