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Kathakali (katha for story, kali for game) originated in the South Indian state of Kerala, over 500 years ago. It is a spectacular combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics, Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

A Kathakali actor uses immense concentration, skill and physical stamina, gained from training based on Kalari Payattu, the ancient martial art of Kerala, to prepare for the demanding role of a Kathakali actor.

Drummers, singers, make up artists and costumers complete the ensemble of highly trained specialists, to present a Kathakali performance.

Kathakali is a harmonious combination of five forms of fine art: