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Kerala is well-known for its classical art forms such as Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, Mohiniyattom and Theyyam. These art forms come alive at Soma Kerala Palace in all their traditional splendour during the Kalaasandhya. Kalaasandhya, which literally means, an evening of art, was a means of entertainment for members of the royal families in ancient Kerala. At Soma Kerala Palace, the Kalaasandhya brings you these spectacular art forms performed by professionals.

The most well known art form of Kerala, Kathakali is a Drishya Kavya (A story presented visually). It has several characters; the good and the evil, the Gods and the demons. Each of these characters has specific make-up and costumes. Each character has his/her face painted in a colour that represents a trait of the character they play. Green symbolizes godliness while white represents spirituality. Red suggests violence and black implies evil. And yellow represents the combined characteristics of godliness and violence.

A classical dance form, Mohiniyattom literally means the dance of the enchantress. A fusion of Kathakali and Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattom is a graceful dance usually performed solo. Though there are Nattuvans (Males who give training in Mohiniyattom), Mohiniyattom is generally never performed by males on stage. The costume worn is a nine yard, profusely pleated sari and a matching blouse. Traditional earrings called Kadukkan and Thoda, and necklaces called Illakathaali and Mullamottumala are also worn.


The martial art of Kerala, Kalaripayattu has two forms – Vadakkan and Thekkan. Of these, Vadakkan Kalari is more popular as it involves spell binding moves with swords of various kinds. Kalari is practiced with a variety of swords, spears, daggers and maces of different sizes and shapes. A form of self-defense, Kalaripayattu involves several postures and moves that can take years to be learnt.

Theyyam is an altered form of the word Deyvam meaning God. The person who plays the deity in the dance is referred to as Kolam which means figure or shape in Malayalam. The striking feature about Theyyam is its multi-coloured waist dress made out of long, thinly sliced shreds of bamboo, tied on to the waist with a bright red cloth. Peacock feathers, flowers and palm leaves are also used. An elaborate head gear worn by the performers is hard to miss. So are their painted faces that give an exaggerated look to their eyes and mouth. It is classified as Thaandava, the masculine form or Laasya, the feminine form.