is an oldest theatrical art in Kerala. Chakyar is the upper caste of Hindu group, who are experts in narrating stories from the legends in a humorous style, earned their living by the meagre salary obtained from the temple. The name Chakyar Koothu
means ‘dance performed by Chakyars'.
The story is recited in a dramatic style accompanied by hand gestures and facial expressions. Chakyar is dressed in glittering cloth with a red headgear. The headgear resembles snake’s hood, to symbolise the narration by Anantha, the thousand headed serpent. He tells the story in a humorous way accompanied by the beating of the Mizhavu, a percussion instrument made of copper with a narrow mouth.
It was a solo dance in which the artist sings the lyrics. Chakyar is permitted to tease anyone, even the king during the course of the performance. It is primarily a type of highly refined monologue where Chakyar narrates episodes from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and stories from other Puranas.
It is Padma Shri Māni Mādhava Chākyār who took Koothu
and Kudiyattam outside the temples to the common people. He was the first to perform Chakyar Koothu
for All India Radio and Doordarshan. Many consider him to be the greatest Chakyar Koothu
and Kutiyattam artist of modern times.
is a variation of the Chakyar Koothu
, which is performed by the Nangiars or the female members of the Chakkiar community. This is also solo dance form mainly centred on the legends of Sree Krishna. This art form is still performed in temples like Vadakkumnatha temple at Thrissur,