Proclaimed as one of the 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Mankind' in May 2001, by the UNESCO Kutiyattam is the oldest performing art form in India and is the oldest extant form of theatre in the world today. This art form's antiquity could be traced back to about two millennia. Kutiyattam literally means "acting together"
Kutiyattam is enacted inside the temple theatre (Koothambalam), there are two or more characters onstage at the same time, with the Chakkiars providing the male cast and the Nangiars playing the female roles. The Koodal Manikyam temple at Irinjalakkuda and the Vadakkumnatha temple at Thrissur are the main centres where Kutiyattam is still performed annually.