The Kerala Kalamandalam deemed university will set up six extension centres of learning (Kalari) in five districts, according P. N. Suresh, Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Suresh said it was for the first time in its 83-year old history, the Kerala Kalamandalam has decided to set up out-station extension centres in any part of the State.

Mr. Suresh said the proposed Kalamandalam extension centres would be set up in the five districts of Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur and Ernakulam. With this, the university aims at extending expert guidance and facility to learn various classical dance forms as well as Kathakali to different parts of the State, he said. The Vice-Chancellor said Ramesh Chennithala, MLA, was keen to set up an extension centre of the university at Aevoor that houses the centuries’ old Sree Krishna Temple where Kathakali is an important offering to the presiding deity.

According to Mr. Chennithala, Aevoor Sree Krishna Temple has long been considered as a centre for the temple art form of Kathakali. He said efforts were under way to declare Aevoor a Kathakali Village. The proposed Kalamandalam extension centre was the first step in this regard, Mr. Chennithala said.

M. Chandrashekharan Nair, patron of the Aevoor Kshetrakala Samskarika Samiti, and H. Chandrasenan Nair, co-ordinator, said the organisation would facilitate a rented building for running the proposed Kalamandalam extension centre nearby the Sree Krishna Temple. Mr Suresh expressed hope that the university would be able to start all six extension centres by January 2014.

Mr. Suresh said the university would be setting up two extension centres at Thiruvalla and Ayroor in Pathanamthitta district. He said the Sree Vallabha Temple in Thiruvalla is the only temple where Kathakali is performed round the year as a ritualistic offering to the presiding deity.

Kathakali is performed after the Athazhapuja at the temple on all days and the temple has its own Kathakali Yogam (troupe). Similarly, Ayroor, a small village situated on the banks of river Pampa near Ranni is considered as a Kathakali village.

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