Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala


Mannan is a tribal people living in the forest area of Idukki district, Kerala. Ardent devotees of Madura Meenaksthi, Mannan community of Kerala has a well established administration when compared to other tribal communities. They even have a King as their head and Kovil Mala is the King's headquarters. They still continue this unique customs and hereditary traditions.

Like other tribal’s, Mannan also has colourful festivals and one such festival related to harvest is ‘Kavaloottu’.

Mannankoothu, a ritual art form, tells the story of Kovilan and Kannagi (central characters from the Tamil epic Silapathikaram) is performed during 'Kavaloottu'. An attractive and highly elaborate art form, Mannankoothu has similar elements that of Kathakali, the classical dance drama of Kerala. Like Kathakali, mannankoothu also has performance like Kelikottu (announcement prior to the performance) and for this they use Charal (an instrument made of animal skin) and Mathalam (a percussion instrument) are musical instruments used for the kelikottu.

The performance will begin with an invocation to Gods and Goddesses.  Women performers are not allowed to perform; men will be disguised as women characters in the play. They use a mixture made of rice flour and oil for facial make-up.  

Cultural News