Kerala Culture and Cuisine


Kerala has a rich cultural heritage. Its diverse culture is influenced by three main religions of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Exquisite sculptures, music and dance forms can be seen in the historic development of Kerala's cultural traditions.

Hinduism has ancient roots here, and is the religion of the majority. The temples of Kerala display exquisite sculptures, carving and architectural features, which testify to the skill of the master craftsmen who created them. Some of the well-known temples of Kerala known for their design and sculptural excellence are the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram and the Guruvayoor Temple in Thrissur district.

The traditions of Kathakali and Mohiniattam are highly developed art forms that have developed from their folk origins into highly evolved classical dance forms.

Kathakali:
The classical dance form of Kerala has its origins in folk dances, which became more sophisticated and stylized as it evolved into the classical dance performed today.Kathakali literally means 'story-play' and is almost 400 yrs old. Kathakali is characterized by its elaborate costumes, which include multiple layers of clothing and ornate headgear. The stories performed are all episodes from the epics, including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The faces of the heroic characters in Kathakali are painted green in color, the villains and demons are painted black and the women's faces are painted yellow. Performances often begin in the evening and can go on all night.

Mohiniattam:
The dance of the celestial enchantress, Mohiniattam is characterized by graceful movements of the body and limbs and facial and hand gestures that convey a range of emotions.

Painting in Kerala:
One of the foremost painters of India, Raja Ravi Verma, (1848-1906) developed an entirely new technique of art in India. He used the western technique of oil paining to depict characters from Indian mythology and to paint portraits of the royal families of Kerala, Mysore and Baroda. His legacy lives on in his priceless painting and the many prints and lithographs of his work.

Cuisine in Kerala:
Kerala is known for its delectable vegetarian and seafood cuisine. Meals in Kerala are traditionally eaten using the fingers, from a plate that consists of a fresh banana leaf. With coconut and coconut milk liberally used to thicken curries and the legendary spices of Kerala adding a dash of flavor to various dishes, the cuisine of Kerala is sure to leave you licking your fingers and asking for more. Each community in Kerala, the Brahmins, the Nairs, the Thiyyas, the Ezhavas, the Muslims and the Christians have their own special dishes made on their festive occasions. -

Some of the well-known dishes of Kerala are: appam, puttu, pradaman, payasam, fish moilee, nadan kozhi curry, meen pollichathu, prawn curry and kappa.

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