Kerala is a state rich for its colorful art forms. Guruvayur is the place which is also well known for its temple arts. Kathakali, Ottanthullal, Chakyarkoothu, Krishnanaattam etc. are the most famous temple arts. Krishnanaattam, which is the most important art form of the temple, is performed in the temple as an offering. This artform deals with the stories of Lord Krishna. Kathakali, which is a world famous dancedrama, depicts almost all stories of the Puranas. Ottanthullal and Chakyarkoothu are artforms in which social sarcasm is used.
Prince Manavedan was a great devotee of Guruvayurappa, greatly inspired by the Geet Govinda of 12th century Bengali poet Jayadeva, the Narayaniyam and Bhagavata, he wrote a series of 8 dramas - the Krishna Geeti, representing the important incidents in the life of Lord Krishna. This he converted into a dance drama - the Krishnanattam in 1654. It is rendered in abhinaya (drama gestures) ,it is the only classical dance in Kerala making use of colorful masks derived from folk rituals like Tirayattam and Theyyam. And, in Krishnanattam arose that special technique of presentation that came to be the characteristic expressional feature of the future Kathakali. The words are sung by Musicians positioned behind the actors. ords. The instruments are "Sudha Madhalam", "Edakka","Symbals", Gong and Conch. It is presented in 8 episodes. In Guruvayur it is performed on all days except Tuesday after the Sree kovil closes.
Avathara is offered for the birth of a child.
Kaliyamardana to offset the effect of poison .
Rasakreeda For the well being of unmarried girls, to end disputes between couples.
Kamsavadha to eliminate enemies.
Swayamvara to speed up matrimony.
Banayudha For the fulfillment of vows.
Vividha vadhato eliminate poverty and increase yield from farms
Swargarohana for the peace of departed souls. Devotees can offer these episodes individually or in a series. Swargarohana must, however be followed by avatara on the following day, as the former by itself is considered inauspicious.