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Koothambalam is a theater hall for staging Koothu , Nangiar koothu and Koodiyattam, the ancient dramatic art forms of Kerala, India. Koothambalams are constructed according to the guide lines given in the chapter 2 of Nātyasāstra of Bharata Muni. The hall is considered to be as sacred as the temple sanctum itself. It is constructed within the grounds of the Temple and is usually about 16m long and 12m broad with a 4m square platform supported by pillars in the center.The whole area of the hall is divided in to two equal halves and one part is for performance (including stage, instruments, green room etc.) and other half for audience. During the performance, the stage is decorated with fruit-bearing plaintains, bunches of coconuts and fronds of the coconut palm. A para Template:What? filled with rice is placed on the stage. A nilavilakku is used for lighting. The mizhavu, a percussion instrument for accompanying Koothu, is placed within a railed enclosure, with a high seat for the drummer( belonging to nampiar community).
Only men from the Chakyar community are allowed to perform Koothu and Koodiyattam inside the Koothambalam. The women of the Ambalavasi-Nambiar caste (Nangyarammas), play Nangyar Koothu and the female characters of Koodiyattam. The traditional Ambalavasi- Nambiars play the mizhavu.
Famous temples with Koothambalams include the Guruvayur Temple, Vadakkumnathan Temple, Koodalmanikyam TemplePerevanam temple, Thiruvegappura temple etc. The Kerala Kalamandalam houses a beautiful Koothambalam.
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- Chakyar Koothu
- Mani Madhava Chakyar
- Mani Damodara Chakyar