Kerala

An ambassador for Kalaripayattu worldwide

Sankara Narayana Menon Chundayil, who has been honoured with Padma Shri, is one of the senior-most martial art practitioners in the country.

At 93, Menon, popularly known as Unni Gurukkal, still starts his training at the Vallabhatta Kalari, Chavakkad, from 5.30 a.m.

The family of Unni Gurukkal — Mudavangattil family — holds the legacy of leading the army of the King of Vettathu Nadu in Malabar. The Vallabhatta Kalari has disciples across the word.

Strict trainer

Age has not dampened his spirit, says his son Krishnadas Gurukkal. “He comes to the kalari at 5.30 a.m. every day and supervises training till 8.30 a.m. until he goes for breakfast. His discipline and meticulous practice keep him healthy even at this age. As a martial art trainer, he is very strict,” says Krishnadas.

Unni Gururkkal started practising Kalari Payattu at the age of six. He is the seventh generation kalari practitioner in the Mudavangattil family. His legacy is kept alive by his children and grandchildren.

Vallabhatta Kalri has played a major role in popularising Kalariparyattu across the world. Unni Gurukkal and his children have travelled extensively and started kalari centres in many countries, including the U.S., U.K. and France. They have more than 5,000 disciples across the world.

Unni Gurukkal had won many awards, including the Kerala Folklore Akademi Award, for his contributions to Kalaripayattu.


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Printable version | May 17, 2022 6:17:11 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/an-ambassador-for-kalaripayattu-worldwide/article38326385.ece