Close to Our Arts

Close to our Arts is a flagship endeavor of Neelambari to present the rich cultural tradition of Kerala to its discerning visitors without abridgment or adulteration. Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Koothu, Mohiniyattam, Ottan Thullal, Melam, Thayampaka, Mudiyettu, Panchavadyam, Kalamezhuthu - Kerala has a seemingly endless list of splendid art forms that have evolved over several centuries and encapsulates the varied social, cultural and regional flavors that defined them. Most of these art forms are highly nuanced and carry a deeper significance than meets the eye. At the same time they are invariably colorful and mesmerizing to the senses for any lay spectator. So much so that the inner beauty and deeper significance of these art forms are usually lost to a casual visitor to Kerala. Only a few manage to scratch beneath the surface and some of them completely enamored by what they see often spend months or years in pursuit of a better understanding and master of these arts.

Close to our Arts is an attempt to provide some context and guidance for a better appreciation of the traditional art forms of Kerala. While eschewing a superficial presentation we also wanted to entertain the leisurely visitors and have studiously avoided pedagogy (sic). The Koothambalam (traditional theater / performance arena) of Neelambari provides a truly magnificent space to engage in these classical art forms. The beautiful nature around us including the riverside is used as an extended setting to add a feeling of timelessness as you engage in art forms that evolved over several centuries.

Close to our Arts involves a full day of entertainment that includes actual unabridged performances aided by audio-visual briefings, live demonstrations and artiste interactions in a very casual and lively setting so that our guests are engaged without being challenged. An epicurean fare involving Kerala’s traditional fare, a boat or canoe ride in the beautiful Karuvannur Puzha (river) and village walk add to the charm of this signature event. A typical schedule would be as follows:

  • - 10.30 am A simple, endearing cultural performance (that sets the tone for the day)
  • - 11.30 am An audio-visual presentation in English to gives a brief introduction to the art form and main performance of the day
  • - 12.30 A traditional Kerala lunch in Neelambari’s Nalukettu (traditional courtyard)
  • - 2.30 pm Free flowing artiste interaction and live demonstration usually in our riverside campus (if it rains we have it in our airy Yoga hall)
  • - 3.30 pm Leisure time, you can go on boating, kayaking, village walk etc. Tea and snacks would be served. You can also spend some time watching the elaborate makeup that art forms like Kathakali, Koodiyattam or Thullal would involve. Ayurveda massage can also be arranged during this time with advance reservation
  • - 5.30 pm Main cultural performance of the day, which you would have a better appreciation of based on the earlier briefings and interactions from the day
  • - 7.30 pm A sumptuous Indian dinner, which would provide opportunity for artiste interactions and further discussion on the performance
  • - 9.30 pm Close of the day! Hopefully our art is now close to your heart as well.

Close to our Arts is usually held on the second or third Saturday of every month. For specific schedules please refer our Events page. We can also arrange bespoke version of the program assuming there are a minimum number of guests. Please contact us for more details if you are interested.