This unique theatrical art has played a major role the evolution of medieval temple art forms in Kerala. Ashtapadiyattam is based on renowned lyrical play, Gita Govindamof Jayadeva, compiled around 12 AD, which describes the relationship between Sree Krishna and the gopikas (female cow herders) of vridavanam. The text is dived into 12 chapters and 2 sub-divisions called Prabhandas. Prabhandas contain couplets called Ashtapadas. There are only five characters in Ashtapadiyattam - Krishna, Radha and three females. The recital also elaborates the eight moods and nine emotions of Heroine Radha, the Ashta nayika in its verses. The portrayal of this concept “Ashta nayika” is the inspiration to many compositions and choreographic works in Indian classical dances
Instruments used: Chenda, Madhalam, Elathalam and chengala.
Ashtapadiyattam is now extinct