The culture of Kerala is distinct with an admixture of innumerable facets of various cultures, which have had contact with it. As a result of the acculturation that has taken place due to cultural contact, the culture of Kerala stands out unique among similar cultures. The tradition of classical arts which has been Existed in Kerala for more than a thousand years are:
Koodiyattam: Sanskrit drama performed in Kerala, India, has been recognized by UNESCO as a Human Heritage Art. 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.
Kathakali: The spectacular dance drama of Kerala integrates dance, music, poetry, and histrionics. The dance referred the ‘first theatre of imagination’ in the world. It combines both lasya (gentle, graceful dance) and Thandava (Powerfull, energetic dance) elements.
Mohiniyattam (the dance of Enchantress): It is one of the gracefully elegant classical dance forms with lasya as the predominant element.
Thullal: This art is characterized by simplicity of presentation, wit & humour. Social satire at its best can be seen in Thullal performances where a large dose of humour keeps the audience in a constant state of merriment.
Folk arts are: Theyyam, thira, Mudiyettu, kaduvakali, Velakali, kakkarissnatakam, Chavittunatakam, Maragamkali, kolakali, Parichamuttukali, Bhadrakalipattu, pulluvanpattu and Thiruvathirakali are some of Kerala’s folk art forms.
Marital Arts: Kalaripayattu is an ancient tradition of martial training and Decipline. According to the legend it is the forerunner of all martial arts and it is still taught in Kerala. Its roots can be traced back to the 12th sanctuary AD. When skirmishes among the many feudal principalities in the region were very common. This comprehensive system of marital arts old Kerala is regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Even Kung – fu is believed to have originated from Kalaripayattu.