Krishnanattom, unique to Guruvayur
Among the performances,
Krishnanattam is auspicious.
If Ramanattam starts, defects will follow definitely
said Kunjan Nambiar, the Master Malayalam poet in the 18th century.
Originally the Art was known as Krishnanattom, which was developed by the Zamorin of Calicut. Manadevan. Kottappuram Thampuran requested Manadevan to send a troup of K artists and when refused, created a parallel art called Kathakali ( Ramanattom ). Kathakali gained worldwide reputation and Krishnanattom was forgotten as an Art.
Krishnanattom is the traditional performance which lasts for 8 days and covers the whole span of the Lord's life, from birth to Heavenly Ascension !
You will find that that the same masks and dresses are used in Kathakali. A spectacle to the simple rustic and the scholar, Krishnattom is a Morality Play and ignores the sophistry of Kathakali and Koodiyattam, other temple arts !
The Guruvayur Devaswom conducts Krishnanattom performances, ordered by devotees as ritual offerings to the Lord.
Manadevan composed Krisha Geethi in 1654 and Krishnanattom is based on this text.
The Krishna Geethi Day falls on Nov 16 in 2014.
The plays which compose Krishnanattom are
Avataram Or Incarnation of the Lord
Kaliyamardanam or Destruction of the Seven Deadly Sins
Rasakreeda or Play with the Gopis or Upanishads
Kamsa Vadham or Slaying of the Ego
Swayamvaram or Marriage of the Lord
Swargarohanam or Ascension to the Heavens
By Govind Kumar