Guruvayur Krishnanaattam

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Of the cultural programs and religious discourses conducted at Guruvayur, special mention must be made of the dance-drama known as Krishnanaattam – the dance of Krishna – which is very popular.Krishnanattam was written in the wake of twelth century Bengali

poet.Saint Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda (song of Govinda or Krishna)which became a popular poetical work in kerala a little over three hundred years ago.

Prince (afterwards the Zamorin) Manaveda of Calicut (A.D. 1595 – 1658), a great scholar and poet who was very much attached to the Guruvayur temple was fascinated by this song and arranged for its recital in the temple every day. Inspired by his own experience with the Lord of Guruvayur he wrote a series of eight dramas called Krishna Geeti representing the important incidents in the life of Lord Krishna. When he turned it into an enchanting dance – drama it came to be known as krishnanattam. All this took place in 1654.

It is said that once the Zamorin in his excessive devotion to Sri Krishna actually spotted him playing near about the present Kuttambalam where he used to be an "Elanji" tree. As he ran up eagerly to the divine child to hold him in his hands the Boy disappeared instantly. But in the process the Raja caught hold of a peacock feather adorning Krishna’s hair. Tradition has it that it is the same feather which adorned the crown of the actor who played the role of Krishna in Krishnanattam for several years.


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