Prized for being one of the oldest form of martial arts, Kalaripayattu is the brave child of Kerala. Amongst the many things that are nestled in God’s own country, like the winding canals, the pristine beaches, and the rich flora and fauna, the state is also home to some of the country’s best artists. Whether it be the cuisine, the dance forms, the Ayurvedic massages, or this art of fighting, everything here breathes excellence. One of the intimidating, yet captivating facets of Kerala, exploring the art and techniques of Kalaripayattu is a must on your visit.
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Mythologically, the art is said to have been spread by Lord Parshurama, who learnt it from Lord Shiva himself. It is a symphony that is created with the mind, body and soul working in coordination. Peace of mind, physical health and together, the growth of the soul is its main aim. The process starts with seasoning the body with Ayurvedic massages and stretching. Poses inspired by animals are taught, and the stances and movements come next. Since it is said that it is the first form of martial arts, it is very interesting to observe the techniques of the other arts like Karate and Kung Fu, in this artform.
Historically, it is said that Kalaripayattu dates back to 300 BCE. Carried down from one generation to the next through strict traditional methods of teachings, like the Guru-Shishya method, it has evolved a lot over the years. While it is originally a sword less artform, all kinds of swords can be incorporated into its techniques. Now a days, you will find many renowned centers spread all across the state, offering traditional schooling, as well as short term classes.
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While planning your vacation to Kerala, make sure that you are a part of the Kalaripayattu show. Displaying graceful movements and strength, this martial art that is said to have been inspired by animals, bringing each of their strengths together.
Kalaripayattu shows are held all over Kerala. Cities like Kochi, Munnar, and Thekaddy put up some of the most spectacular shows. Part of the cultural shows most of the time, you can be an audience to Kalaripayattu, as well as Kathakali. This ancient dance form is also said to have evolved from Kalaripayattu. Stories from Indian Mythology are told through delicate, yet inspiring movements through Kathakali.
For a short-term course in this martial art, you can enroll in any of the following institutes.
ENS Kalari, Ernakulam: Offering courses that last over one week to years, this institute has certificate courses. So, whether you choose to take up the 1 week course, or the 1 year one, you will always have a certificate to take back home.
C.V.N Kalari, Kozhikode: With a special module for foreign guests, this center brings choreography and music to make the learning process easy and fun.
Poomully Aramthampuran’s Kalarisangham: A traditional school, this institute offers full time, as well as short term courses in this artform.