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Koothambalam of Guruvayur Temple


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Koothambalam

Mains level : Keralan Architecture

The renovated Koothambalam of the Sreekrishna temple, Guruvayur, has been selected for the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for cultural heritage conservation.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Building ‘Kalyana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of-
(a) Chalukya
(b) Chandela
(c) Rashtrakuta
(d) Vijayanagara

What is Koothambalam?

  • Koothambalam meaning temple theatre is a closed hall for staging Koothu, Nangiar koothu and Koodiyattam, the ancient ritualistic art forms of Kerala.
  • Koothambalams are said to be constructed according to the guidelines given in chapter 2 of Nātyasāstra of Bharata Muni.
  • The stage within the hall is considered to be as sacred as the temple sanctum.

Its’ construction

  • It is constructed within the cloister of the Temple; more precisely within the pancaprakaras of the temple. The prescribe location is between the prakaras of bahyahara and maryada.
  • In Kerala tradition, it is considered as one among the panchaprasadas of a temple complex.
  • Its dimension varies from temple to temple.
  • A square platform with a separate pyramidal roof supported by pillars in the centre called natyamandapam is constructed as s separate structure within the large hall of Koothampalam.
  • The floor of the hall is divided into two equal halves and one part is for performance (including stage, instruments, green room etc.) and another half for seating audience.

About Guruvayur Temple

  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu lord, Guruvayurappan (a four-armed form of the Lord Vishnu), located in the town of Guruvayur in Kerala.
  • It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus in Kerala and is often referred to as Bhuloka Vaikunta (Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth).
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