krishnanattam by P K S Raja,Present Zamorin Raja of Calicut
For a critical review of Krishnanattam pl visit:
Theatre and the world: performance and the politics of cultureBy Rustom Bharucha on Google Books
The story as depicted in the mural:
*Krishnagiti* was written between 1655 A.D. and 1658 A.D. by the then Zamorin Raja of Calicut , Manavedan. During this period, the renowned Vaishnava Sage Vilwamangalam Swamiyar and the Manavedan were staying at Guruvayur. Vilwamangalam Swamiyar was such an ardent devotee of Bhagavan Guruvayurappan that he could see Bhagavan in flesh and blood whenever he wanted.
One day requested Bilwamangala Swamiyar to guide him in realising the Bhagavan.
King Manavedan became sad for the inadvertent discourtesy shown by him to Bhagavan Sri Krishna . As advised by Vilwamangalam Swamiyar, , he immediately went to the sanctum sanctorum of Bhagavan Guruvayurappan and pledged that with that feather of peacock, he will make a headgear , compose *Krishnagiti* in the form of a dance drama and dedicate it to Bhagavan.
A Moorthy of Sri Krishna was made using the wood of the `Eanji' tree. (The `Elanji' tree stood at the place where now, the Kuttambalam stands, on the south-east side of the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple ). According to the advice of Vilwamangalam, Manavedan composed *Krishnagiti* sitting before that Moorthy with single minded devotion.
The peacock feather was incorporated in the headgear for the character of Sri Krishna. The headgear was found to suit the heads of all actors performing as Bhagavan Krishna. The actor also used to get 'possessed' on wearing this headgear.
Manavedan wrote *Krishnagiti* in eight cantos, and without any assistance did the choreography, all the costume make up including Krishna's headgear, facial make up, details of instruments for the background music and prepared the list of all and sundry articles required for staging the dance drama. He himself selected the artists for the *Arangetam* ( inaugural performance) and trained them to perform the dance drama. It is to be noted that the Arangetam of all the eight plays viz., Avatharam, Kaliyamardanam, Rasakrida, Kamsavadham , Swayamvaram, Banayuddham, Vividavadham and Swargarohanam were performed near the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple. On the ninth day, Avatharam was repeated as the Zamorin felt that it was not auspicious to end the series with the demise of Lord Krishna. This practice of performing Avatharam after Swargarohanam is being continued to this day.