After a wait of 13 years, the postal code for Ayroor Panchayat in the Pathanamthitta district will now be Kathakali Gramam, and the official name will be Ayirur Kathakali Gramam. Although the panchayat committee approved the name change back in 2010, the process took 13 years to complete.
From a little village on the banks of the Pamba River (also known as Pampa River) in the southern Kerala district, Kathakali performers have been performing tales from Hindu Puranas as well as the Bible for many years, giving the town the right to associate the traditional dance style with its name.
Kathakali is an art form that is rooted in Kerala
With the use of hand and facial movements and expressions, Kathakali, which has its roots in Kerala and has been performed for more than 300 years, uses devotion, drama, dance, music, costumes, and make-up to recount famous historical tales, mostly from Indian epics.
According to Vimal Raj, a native of the village of Ayirur, performances of biblical tales like “Abraham’s sacrifice,” “The Prodigal Son,” and “Mary Magdalene” are also popular with the local Christian population.
Community near the Pamba River Basin
The community located in the Pamba river basin has now been given the go-ahead by the Center to alter its name in all official documents. In a letter to the senior secretary of the state revenue department, the undersecretary of the ministry of home affairs confirmed this.
The Pamba River, after Periyar and Bharathapuzha, is the longest in the Indian state of Kerala. It is also the longest river in the formerly princely state of Travancore. On the banks of the Pamba River stands the Lord Ayyappa-dedicated Sabarimala Temple. Another name for the river is “Dakshina Bhageerathi.” The Jordan of Malankara and the River Baris were their ancient names.
The Indian map will now display Ayroor village in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta as “Ayirur Kathakali Gramam” as a sign of the significance given to the dance style Kathakali, famed for its lavishly colored makeup and costumes.
Kathakali Performers in Ayroor Village
Renowned Kathakali performers from the area during the first half of the 20th century were Changanassery Parameswara Panikkar, Ayroor Viswanathan, Ayroor Chirakkuzhiyil Sankara Panikkar, Narayana Panikkar, Srambickal Narayanan Nair, and Pothuplackal Nanu Pillai.
The establishment of a Kathakali club in the village in 1995 reignited the villagers’ interest in the dance style. In 1995, Raj and a couple of his friends founded a local group since they were so passionate about dance art. Raj is a third-generation, whose family background belongs to Kathakali dancer and admirer.
For the past 16 years, a seven-day festival has been held in January. According to V. R. Vimal Raj, secretary of the Kathakali Club, special performances are held throughout the festival days for the benefit of the students.
To rename the panchayat as Kathakali Gramam, the club presented a memorandum to the panchayat in 2010. The memorandum was unanimously approved by the panchayat committee at the time, which Sreeja Vimal presided over, and it was sent to the state government. The name change “required drawn-out procedures, and the state government’s approval was only obtained in 2019,” claims Raj.
The central survey director general gave his consent to the decision made by the Kerala Names Authority. Following this, the Union Home Ministry formally decided to rename the village. The Ayroor South PO will henceforth be referred to as Kathakali Gramam PO.
In addition, the panchayat committee has chosen to work with the state tourism agency to develop a museum in the community.
The cultural department has already begun a youth training program for Kathak. According to Ambily, training sessions for Kathakali mudras will soon start in all of the village’s lower elementary schools.
Ambily Prabhakaran Nair, the head of the panchayat, stated that the permission for the name change also acknowledged Kathakali. This is the very first time an area in the nation has been given a name derived from an artistic medium, she stated.