<< Kerala Culture

Palakkad district has a glorious cultural tradition. Thunchathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, the father of Malayalam literature, is said to have spent his last days in Chittur. To commemorate this, there is the “Thunchathu Acharya Madam” at Chittur. Kunjan nambiar, the most popular poet of Malayalam and the founder of Thullal, purely a Kerala art form, had his birth in a small village called Killikurissimangalam (Lakkidi) in this district.

Worthy contributions have been made by talented artists of this district for maintaining and enriching the classical dance forms of Kerala, such as Chakkiar Koothu, Thullal, Kathakali and Mohiniattom. Mani Madhava Chakiar for ‘Koothu’ and Vazhenkada Kunju Nair for Kathakali are the two names to be remembered in this context. The “ Kalluvazhichitta”, the most popular school of ‘Kathakali’ had its origin in Palakkad district and its exponent was late Sri Vazhenkada Kunju Nair.

The musical tradition of Palakkad district is unchallenged. The district has been blessed with the birth of the late Sri Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, the exponent of Carnatic music and Sri Palakkad Mani Iyer, the inimitable maestro of mridangam. Sri C. Sankaran Nair also belongs to Mankara, a place in this district.

Among the eminent personalities of the district are the late K.P.S. Menon, diplomat and author who won the Lenin Prize and late K.P.Kesava Menon, the great freedom fighter, celebrated author and journalist. Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai spent his life in exile at Vadakkanthara near Palakkad town. Some of the old temples in the district have in them beautiful paintings and sculptures of great artistic value.

In the months of March and April, after the harvests, festivals called Vela are celebrated in many villages. These festivals feature a parade of caparisoned elephants, traditional orchestra of percussion instruments (called Panchavadyam, Thayambaka, Pandimelam etc) and fireworks. These festivals are very popular; people from neighbouring districts and Tamil Nadu come to witness them. Nemmara Vellangi Vela and Chinakkathur Pooram are the most popular among them.

Another important festival is the Kalpathy Ratholsavam. This is festival of the Tamil Brahmins. The deities of the various temples are taken out on a procession in chariots. It is believed that the God goes out to see his people on these days.

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