Thursday, October 31, 2013

Krishnanattam, Cochin

Krishnanattam - a temple dance form - covers the story of Krishna in eight parts. The first part is his entry to earth as an avatar of Vishnu, while the last covers his ascension to heaven. The intervening parts describe the world-changing events that his heroics wrought. 

His righteous defeat of the corrupt and his love of dance and music – sounds like the perfect man, tough yet tender, all-knowing yet silent, serious yet fun-loving.

That should explain the reason for a dance form dedicated to him.

The costumes are elaborate, with face paint in green or orange and for some roles, black. The elaborate head dress (called kiriitam) and masks denote characters based on their importance.

The performance is conducted over nine nights at the Guravayoor temple site with a huge lamp in the foreground. On the eighth night, Krishna's death is shown and the ninth night, his rebirth. After all, the story can't end with his dying can it?

This rare art which formed the basis for the more popular, Kathakali, continues to thrive in the region only due to the support of the temple trust.

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