What you see –
Located on Thevara Ferry road in Cochin, Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum welcomes you with a big kalvilakku (stone lamp). As you pass the kalvilakku, you will be greeted by elephant statues on either side of the steps leading to the massive multi-storey traditional building. The interiors are designed in the Kerala temple architectural style. The entire structure is made of wood and laterite stone with antique architectural objects.
What you get –
Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum is for architectural enthusiasts who wish to explore places with a touch of traditional designs. It was started by Annie George and George Thaliyath, who have an antique shop in Mattancherry, Cochin. They started this in early 2009 to promote the traditional art forms of South India.
The building in which the theater and museum is located is constructed in three different architectural styles - Malabar, Colonial and Travancore. Each of these styles depicts the cultural ethos of the three kingdoms of yore - Malabar (north Kerala), Kochi (central Kerala) and Thiruvithankoor or Travancore (south Kerala). The ground floor of the museum is done in the Malabar style and showcases masks, costumes, tribal jewelry, puppets and Raja Ravi Varma paintings from the nineteenth century.
The first floor has colonial style architecture with arched windows reflecting Kerala architecture in the late 16th and 17th centuries. Here you will come across a performance theater called Kalithattu, where folk art performances like string puppet, Kalaripayattu (martial arts), Thira (ritualistic art form performed during temple festivals), Pavakathakali (glove puppetry) and Kaalakali (tribal art form) are organized. The floor above is made in Travancore architectural style with a mix of murals and paintings on the ceilings and walls. This has been made completely of wood with the four walls as the only support for the massive wooden ceiling.
Apart from the folklore theaters on each floor, Kerala Folklore Museum has various antiques that showcase the history, tradition and cultural differences in different parts of the country, especially South India. There are costumes of dance forms like Mohiniattam, Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Thullal, Koodiyattam and Theyyam, antique properties including the oldest Bible from churches and temples across Kerala, old writing instruments, antique chairs etc.
Our verdict –
Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum is a must-visit place in Cochin. It is a fascinating museum and rich in terms of architectural display. Special folklore performances can be arranged at the museum for tourists or visitors upon prior booking. The shows are charged depending upon the performances. Daily theater shows are also organized for Rs. 500. There is a common entrance fee of Rs. 100 for adults and Rs. 50 for students.
Parking space is inadequate.
Anytime between –
9.30 AM – 7 PM
By Anto Thermadam