#GS 01 Art and Culture

For Prelims


  • Mohiniattam is one of the classical dance forms of India.
  • Mohiniattam, which belongs to Kerala, takes its name from the mythic enchantress Mohini.
  • The word ‘Mohini’ refers to the charming women avatar of Lord Vishnu- to end the evil powers.
  • It is a dance of feminine grace, and has grown out of performances connected with Kerala’s temples.
  • Characterized as it is by femininity, Mohiniattam has no heavy steps or rhythmic tension: the footwork is gentle, soft, and sliding.
  • The dancer’s body rises and falls with an easy grace, with the emphasis mainly on the torso.
  • Dancers adorn a white saree with a golden brocade, which is a highlight of the dance form.
  • Vyavaharamala, the 16th-century text by Mazhamangalam Narayanan Nampoothiri contains the first known mention of the term Mohiniyattam.
  • Another old text containing the mention of the art form was Ghoshayatra, written later by great poet Kunjan Nambiar.

Kanak Rele

  • Kanak Rele was a Mohiniyattam expert who was awarded the first Guru Gopinath National Puraskaram of the Government of Kerala.
  • She established the Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya in 1973.
  • She also earned her Ph.D. in dance, the first in India, in 1977.
  • Rele was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2013.

Source “Mohiniyattam artiste Kanak Rele no more