Enjoy a thousand-year old tradition of Kerala from home

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Soumini Varma

Soumini Varma

Auckland, October 13, 2021

AMHS Navaratri Festival today (October 13, 2021) features Prabandha Koothu
Facebook and YouTube from 8 pm

Nepathya Yadu Krishnan ready to perform Prabandha Koothu, a subgenre of Koodiyattam (Photo Supplied)

Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam, as part of its Online Navaratri Celebrations of 2021, is bringing to our viewers, the ancient art form from Kerala, namely Prabandha Koothu. 

We are streaming this today (Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 8:00 pm on Facebook Page and YouTube channel.  We are extremely grateful to Julie Ithappiri of VJ Associates Limited for her support to make this event a reality.

Unbroken and living traditions

The ritualistic theatre traditions of Kerala Temples are thousands of years old.

As well as being the oldest, they are unbroken and living traditions.

It is believed that these theatre systems are older than the Natya Shastra.  

Prabandha Koothu can be considered as a subgenre of Koodiyattam. This art form has a solo performer with two accompanying artistes on stage for percussion (Mizhavu) and rhythm (Thalam). In Prabandha koothu, Sanskrit texts called Champu Kavyam are taken for the performance. The performer recites the slokas in a peculiar tune with the accompaniment of Mizhavu and Talam.

The meaning of the slokas recited is explained in Malayalam to the audience. Mocking the society or people around, including the audience and the King is allowed in Koothu exposition. Koothu is usually held in Koothambalams (a special theatre located inside Kerala Temples).

The start and end of the Koothu have special rituals associated with them. Nowhere else is such ritualised drama tradition alive to this day.


N Y Krishnan when not performing Prabandha Koothu 

The Chakyar Community

Prabandha Koothu is also known as Chakyar Koothu as it was performed by the Chakyar Community. For AMHS Navaratri celebrations, the Prabandha Koothu will be on Panchali Swayamvaram (the wedding of Panchali), written by the eminent 16th century Scholar Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri. He is renowned as the author of Narayaneeyam.  

The artiste will describe the events in Malayalam, leading up to the wedding of Draupadi.

The Prabandha Koothu is being performed by Nepathya Yadu Krishnan. Supporting him on Mizhavu is Kalamandalam Manikandan and Thalam by Nepathya Arathy.

Facebook: https://facebook.com/AucklandMalayaliHindu
YouTube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCOmhkGssC6t3zWanvXuU8mA


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