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This powerful dance drama, performed in the Temples at night, is a traditional and typical dance form of Kerala. In a sacred atmosphere in front of the Holy Lamp, the actors express themselves through hand gestures, body movements, facial expressions and steps, accompanied by vocal and instrumental music. Every night they recreate the stories of the Indian mythology. This complete art form can appeal to many people as acting, dance, pantomime, music, percussions and of course dresses and ornaments are equally attractive and contribute to touch all our senses.

Kathalai Music Course

Kathakali Music

A distinct style for the distinct purpose of the dance drama. The moods in a song determine the mode of the melody. Every couplet of the song is repeated until the actor has transcribed it into gestures. Kathakali music has got a distinct style called the Sopana style.

Kathakali Mudras or Hand Gestures

Kathakali Mudras (Hand gestures)

These are the gestures used by the the actors in Kathakali. Gestures of the hands play an important part in the expression of thoughts and emotions right from the time of 'Vedas". Priests repeat "Manthras" using certain gestures with their hands and these movements became a sacred ritual. Mudras enable a complete language of gestures which enable the actors not only to interpret the lines of the story but also to communicate with each other on matters relevant to the occasion. You can learn this separately if you have no time or no desire to study the steps of the dance.

Chutti or Kathakali Makeup

Chutti (Kathakali Make-up)

Facial colours represent different mental states and emotions. They help to beautify the gestures. Each type of character has its characteristic make-up. The “Chutti” is made of several layers of white paper glued on the face of the actor. You can get a special interest in the visual aspect of Kathakali and wish to study the various types of make-up or even how to make a “Chutti”.

South Indian Classical Dance Forms 3 Styles

Gurukula (Residential) Programs in three South Indian traditional classical dance forms.


Mohiniyattam or the “dance of Mohini” is a Kerala dance form. It is characterised by round and graceful movements. It has lyrical prose accompaniment and a leitmotiv of feminine charm.


Originating from Tamil Nadu, it is one of the oldest classical dance forms. It is characterised by very energetic steps and precise hand, eye and body movements.


A dance from Andhrapradesh, it depicts the stories of Lord Krishna with flowing movements. Originally, it was performed by men or young boys. From a folk dance, it gradually evolved into classical dance. In a special item of the dance called “Tharangam”, the performer dances on a plate with a pot on his or her head.


Martial Art "Kalarippayattu"

a martial training and a physical exercise

Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest living traditions of martial training and physical culture in the world. Kalaripayattu is not merely martial training; it is a way of life. Both physical and mental involvement is called for. Hence the importance given to the molding of personality and character of students. Training is based on an elaborate system of physical exercise. The practical experience of the body movements strengthens the knowledge of a disciple. The constant practice makes the body an eye and adds to agility and strength. The Kalari is also a temple of learning and religious worship, the anvil on which the character and moral attitude of the student are shaped.

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as an art form in contemporary theatre and performing arts

Nowadays, body training has become an essential requirement for performing arts. As an art form, it demands rigorous training of the artist to develop a strong physical culture of the body with quick movements. "Kalaripayattu" is often relied on by theatre people as well as people who are engaged in stage performances. Every movement, whether it is foot work, hand gesture or eye work derives its meaning with reference to an imaginary circle which frames the extremities of the human body. The basic idea of a kinetical build-up in theatre, that we can learn from the "Kalari", is ‘Sarirabhava’ or the mind equal to ‘Angika (body acting)’ and ‘Satvika (mental acting)’.

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Kalari Uzhichil (Ayurvedic Oil Massage)

Kalari Uzhichil (Ayurvedic Oil Massage) with hand and foot: Generally this relieves body tiredness, promotes blood circulation, relaxes muscles and revitalizes body systems. It is also useful in nervous fatigue and disorders, general body weakness and sleeplessness. By using a very unique technique and special oils the "marma", vital body points, are stimulated. This technique came to medicine from ancient martial art centers or Kalaries and its main aim is to tone up the musculoskeletal system and to set completely relaxed body with a positive frame of mind. Massage with foot is good for relaxation and reducing mental tension.

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Indian Classical Music 2 Courses

The world musical system can be classified as 'melodic and harmonic'. Indian music is melodic in the sense that the flow of one note is followed by another with a regular sequence of pitch, rhythm and tempo.

Carnatic Music Vocal

Carnatic Music (Vocal)

Carnatic Music (Vocal)

This musical system originated in South India, especially in Tamilnadu and Karnataka.

Carnatic Music Instrumental Violin

Carnatic Music (Instrumental) Violin

Carnatic Music (Instrumental) Violin

In India, the Violin is mainly used in classical music concerts for vocal support. Violin is based on Carnatic music system in south India.

Percussions 3 Courses

Study of South Indian Percussion Instruments



This South-Indian percussion instrument is considered as God's own instrument. It is mainly used in classical music concerts for rhythm support. Mridangam is played with fingers of both hands. It is made with Jack-fruit wood and skin of cow or Goat.



A rhythm instrument of Kerala. This is a cylindrical drum instrument. It is played by both hands with sticks. Chenda produces a very loud sound. Mainly used in Kathakali prformances for male and all demon characters, it is also used in many folk art forms and is essential during Temple Festivals.



A famous North Indian percussion instrument. Tabla is a two parts instrument for Right hand playing (Tabla) and Left hand playing (Dakka). It is mainly used in Hindusthani music for rhythm support.

General Information

  • Classes.

    From 10 a.m. to 5. p.m., five days a week (Saturday and Sunday are holidays). Every day, a two hour class in the subject you have chosen as your main subject of study plus one hour in your secondary subject will be conducted.

  • Communication Language


  • General Holidays

    September 14th to 16th ( last days of the famous Kerala Fesival "Onam" )

  • Food

    Tasty vegetarian food prepared in traditional Kerala style.

  • Breakfast

    From 8 to 9 a.m.

  • Lunch

    From 1 to 2 p.m.

  • Tea/coffee

    From 4 to 5 p.m. (with snacks)

  • Dinner

    7.30 to 8.30 p.m.(Filtered water is available at all times )

Miscellaneous Information of On Request Courses & Services

  • On Request Courses
    Subjects on request only

    Indian Languages (Malayalam,Sanskrit and Hindi) Mural painting, Kolam designing, Yoga, Ayurvedic massage and Cooking.

  • Optional Services
    Please note it is possible for us to arrange additional optional services for you

    Tourist guide and assistance, A/C and non A/C taxis, leisure activities such as boating on the river Pampa or a visit to the metal mirror making centre ('Aranmula Kannadi') and demonstrations and cultural programs as well.