Krishnanattam Temple Art Form Kerala

Krishnanattam- A Temple Art Form of Kerala


Krishnanattam is a temple art form of Kerala, India. This art form was developed by Manaveda, who was the king of Calicut (Zamoorin) in northern Kerala. He was also a great Poet and Sanskrit Scholar. Krishnanattam is evolved from The Krishnageethi, which is an eight part poem inspired from Geethagovindam, by Poet Jayadeva in Bengali Language. Krishnageethi was written in between 1655 and 1658 AD.This eight parts consists of the stories from the birth of Krishna to death and his ascension to heaven. With the decline of Zamoorin Kingdom, the popularity of Krishnanattam too declined. But this art form is active in Kala Nilayam of Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple in Thrissur District. From 1958 one troupe of artists are active at Kala Nilayam for Krishnanattam.


Krishnanattam Temple Art Form Kerala

The Eight Plays in Krishnanattam are


  1. Avataram
  2. Kaliyamardanam
  3. Rasakrida
  4. Kamsavadham
  5. Swayamvaram
  6. Banayudham
  7. Vividhavadam
  8. Swargarohanam

it can be mortised by the mnemonic “a-ka-ra-ka-swa-bha-vi-swa”

History of Krishnanattam

It is Believed that Krishna appeared to Zamoorin of Calicut and awarded him a Peacock feather. The detailed Story is as follows.

Krishnanattam Temple Art Form Kerala
Krishnanattam Performance on Stage


Manadeva once said Vilwamangalam Swami – Who is  a saint, lived at Guruvayur – that he wanted to see lord Krishna. He replied that Krishna’s consent is needed for this. On the next day He told Manaveda that Krishna has agreed to give appearance to him and he can see Krishna early morning near the Platform of Elanji tree. According to this, Next day Manadeva found a small boy playing near the Elanji Tree. Upon excitement Manadeva approached the child to embrace him. But the boy disappeared immediately saying that Vilwamangala didnt tell me about this. But Manadeva got a peacock feather from the head gear of the child.  Peacock Feathers are still used in Krishnanattam to commemorate the Incident.

Krishnanattam Performance

There was around 50-60 people in the troupe. Female characters are also played by male artists. To play the role of Krishna as a kid, a boy aged 6-7 too is included in the troupe. One play will he a duration of 3-4 hours. Krishnanattam is just like in Kathakali in case of musical instruments used, Madalam, Chengila and Ilathaalam are used here. Only one play will be staged per day. Avataram is played again in the ninth day of the play because Manadeva felt that it is not right to end the play with the demise of Krishna.

Memorial Monument of Krishnanattam Founder Manadeva in Guruvayur
Memorial Monument of Manadeva in Guruvayur

How to Book Krishnanattam

Looking for How to Book Krishnanattam in Guruvayur ? Lets have a look at this. Every person who like to watch Krishnanattam must book their seats in advance in Guruvayur Dewasom. People who book tickets for Krishnanattam can watch at a specific date according to the schedule. The cost for Booking Krishnanattam is as Follows.

  • For First 7 Plays – Rs. 2000
  • For Swargarohanam only – Rs. 2300
  • For conducting Krishnanattam Outside – Rs. 3000

people booking for Swargarohanam should book for the other 7 Plays too.

Hope this article helped you. Drop your comments below.


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