A six-day Kathakali festival, organised by the Pathanamthitta District Kathakali Club, began at Cherukolpuzha, near Kozhencherry, on Tuesday.

K. Jayakumar, Vice-Chancellor of the Malayalam University, inaugurated the event at a ‘pandal’ on the Pampa riverbed. Jose Parakkadavil, Kathakali club president, presided over the function. T.N. Upendranatha Kurup, Ayroor-Cherukolpuzha Hindumatha Maha Mandalam president; P.S. Nair, Travancore Development Council chairman; V.R.Vimalraj, club secretary; V.N. Unni, general convener of the event, and Prince T. Mathew, club office-bearer, spoke.

On the occasion, Mr. Jayakumar also presented this year’s Natyabharati Award instituted by the Kathakali club to veteran Kathakali artiste Kalamandalam Balasubramaniyan.

A book on Kathakali, ‘Kathakaliyude Kathakal’, written by Mr. Vimalraj was also released at the function.

Fact Mohan and Meenadom Unnikrishnan, renowned Kathakali artistes, will lead the Kathakali demonstrations on Wednesday.

The festival will come to a close on January 13. K.C. Joseph, Cultural Affairs Minister, will inaugurate the valedictory function. P.N. Suresh, Vice-Chancellor of the Kalamandalam Deemed University, will deliver the keynote address and Raju Abraham, MLA, will preside over the function.