Kutiyattam is an artistic tradition that goes beyond 2000 years. It is the only ancient form of Sanskrit theatre, which has kept alive its vibrant tradition till date. Sometimes it takes 40 days to enact a full play in Kutiyattam. The creation of the present form of Kutiyattam is ascribed to Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal, an ancient King of Kerala of the Chera dynasty.

Kutiyattam is recognized by the UNESCO as one of the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.

Strictly a temple art, Kutiyattam was performed by the Chakiyar community supported by Nambiars and Nangiyars, the women folk of Nambiar community. This Sanskrit theatre got its name due to the combined performance of Chakiyars and Nangiyars. The only musical accompaniment used earlier was Mizhavu, a percussion instrument played by Nambiar men. Of late, Edakka, Sankhu and Kuzhithalam are also being used besides Mizhavu. Kutiyattam is usually performed in a Koothambalam, which is a specially designed theatre attached to major temples. Koothambalams are built according to the traditional texts on Vaasthusasthram Silparatna.