Koodiyattam, also spelt Kutiyattam, Sanskrit drama performed in Kerala, India,
has been recognised by UNESCO as a Human Heritage Art. Rightly so. It is the oldest existing classical theatre form in the entire world, having originated much before Kathakali and most other theatrical forms. It is considered to be at least 2000 years old. Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal, an ancient King of Kerala was known as the creator of Koodiyattam in the present form. His book "Aattaprakaram" describes various aspects about how to perform Koodiyattam. Till date this is considered the most authoritative work on the art form. The "grammar" of performance is entirely based on the stipulations of "Natyashasthram" by Bharatha Muni, the most authoritative book on the science of acting.
Traditionally, Koodiyattam is presented by "Chakyars" (a sub caste of Kerala Hindus). The female roles went only to "Nangyars" (Women of Nambiar caste). The name 'Koodiyattam' (combined dance form) came because it is the combined performance of Chakkyar and Nangyar. The only musical accompaniment used to be "Mizhav" played by Nambiar men. Of late, Idakka also finds a place beside Mizhav.
The photographs given in the following pages are from 'Soorpanakhangam' Koodiyattam and 'Jatayuvadham' Koodiyattam.