Krishnanattam Dance

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Krishnanattam is known as the temple art of the place Kerala in India. It is mainly a form of dance drama where the story of Lord Krishna is presented in the form of several plays. The performers mainly focus on their correct expressions and body gestures while performing this art. The main beauty of dance lies in the steps and rhythmic movements.


This famous dance drama is made on the basis of Krishnagiti. It was written by Manaveda during the 1652 AD. There is a saying that the writer saw Lord Krishna who gave him a feather of the peacock. Since then, this feather became a symbol of this art form and the performers wear the feather during their show. It is also said that Krishnanattam got inspired by several other dance forms which were practiced during the medieval period.

The Dance Forms:

The dance drama uses masks of different colors to highlight the evil characters in the play. The usage of this mask has been adopted from the folk rituals like Theyyam and Thirayattam which are practiced in the northern part of Kerala. In this play or dance form, the performers do not narrate any story rather they pay attention to two things: angya, the hand movement, and abhinayam, the expressions and body movements. There is an artist who does the singing part. There are eight plays shown in Krishnanattam:

  • Avataram
  • Rasakrida
  • Kaliyamardanam
  • Banayuddham
  • Swayamvaram
  • Swargarohanam
  • Vividavadham
  • Kamsavadham

The costumes and make-up used by the artists are vibrant, elaborate and colorful. This is what makes the spectators get even more involved in their performances. This dance drama holds its glory and is performed with a lot of devotion and love in the temple of Guruvayur Sri Krishna. Instruments like cymbals, maddhalam, conch, gong, and Thoppimaddalam get used in this form of art.

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Indian Dances

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