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Art can be defined as an expression of anything with skill or in a well-disciplined form. It may either be in the form of music, instruments, performing arts or any other form. The origin of music can be traced back to the primitive days when man imitated by raising his sounds similar to bird-calls, animal noises etc for different purposes like banishment of wild animals, exorcise evil spirits or even for emotional satisfaction. Voices thus produces by man had different tones of high or low pitch. In course of time languages which had a pivotal role in the form of thaala (rhythm), raga (melody) and measured verses, influenced these voices and music emerged depending on the occasion.

In Kerala, arts associated with the temple are music in the form of Sopana-Sangeetha (sung in front of the Deity), musical instruments, ritualistic arts like Theyyam, Thira etc, performing arts like Kathakali, Koothu, Krishnanaattam, Thullal etc. In temples of Kerala, either for Sopaana-Sangeetha or in playing instruments, thaala (rhythm) has an essential part, as it brings out the enchanting rhythmic beauty.

For ages, the rich and vibrant culture of Kerala has intrigued people worldwide. The songs and dances of the people, their ballads, their rituals and their intellectual pursuits. Truly, the real treasures of Kerala lay in the cultural heritage of its people. Kerala has its own art forms which reflect the life and outlook of the people. From the renowned Kathakali, considered to be the complete art form as it synthesizes all that is best in the fields of drama, music and dance, to the folk dances which are reflections of the rhythmic impulses of sensitive people.


Recently, the UNESCO brought to light, a less known art form - Koodiyattom - and declared it as one among the 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity'. It is for the first time in the history of UNESCO that select art forms across the world have been given this recognition as part of its effort to safeguard expressions of Oral Heritage and traditional culture which are in danger of disappearing due to the effects of globalization.

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