Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy
Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthy in Thrissur district is a premier institute in the field of performing arts. It was founded by the famous Malayalam novelist Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon in 1930. The institution trains and provides a platform for artists to stage their performances in performing art disciplines like Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyaattam, Thullal and Panchavaadyam. This is one destination which no art lover can miss it in one’s lifetime.
The founder Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon’s interaction with Noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan inspired him to take the institution to new heights at world level. He worked hard towards in this direction and as a result this institution today is renowned world institute of art and culture. His effort was aided by efforts from western enthusiasts of arts. Dr. Clifford Jones and his wife Betty True Jones who had great interest in Kathakali and Mohiniyattam took the Kalamandalam’s repute known to the world. Many others like Dr. Phillip Zarrilli, Dr. Farley Richmond and many more had contributions towards enriching the Kalamandalam’s repute all around the world. The Kalamandalam receives financial assistance from various organisations like Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Kerala, Department of Culture, Government of India, The South Zone Cultural Centre, Tanjavur and the Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi.
The Kalamandalam follows the Gurukul system of training and is a residential centre of learning where students are expected to stay within the campus. Classes start as early as 4.30 am in the morning and continue till late night in art forms like Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyaattam, Thullal and Music. The students bond with their teachers and the devotion generated by the teachers in the students towards the art forms is truly spiritual and exemplary. The artists from this University are well renowned all over the state and the world. Training here is highly formalised and like in any other Universities. Students who wish to get trained here join the three-year Art High School Leaving Certificate Course (AHSLC) which involves study on performing arts as well as academic study. After completion of AHSLC, students have to join the Plus Two Course and then the B.A. Degree in Performing Arts. Later they can opt for M. Phil and Ph. D programs in two faculties known as Faculty of Performing Arts and Faculty of Cultural Studies. The university also offers courses on cultural studies, cultural journalism, multimedia, mass communication, women studies, documentation etc. At the end of all these courses students are expected to write exams on the subjects chosen by them and pass with good numbers.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport which at 85 kms away on the along the Thrissur-Ernakulam National Highway-47. The nearest railway is 3 kms away at Shoranur Junction. Shoranur Junction is well connected with most parts of the country by rail. By road the Kalamandalam is situated 32 kms from Thrissur town on the Thrissur-Shoranur highway. The state’s capital Thiruvananthapuram is at a distance of 330 kms.