An amalgamation of Dravidian and Aryan cultures and heritage, the unique culture of Kerala has developed over the years as one of the richest in the country. The native traditions of classical performing arts such as Koodiyattom, Kathakali, Koothu, Mohiniyaattam, Thullal, Thirayattam, Padayani, Theyyam, Kummattikali, Kannyar Kali, Oppana and Margam Kali. These include dances, dance-dramas and tribal folk art forms. Kathakali is a 300-year-old dance form that combines major aspects of opera, ballet, masque, and pantomime art forms.
The Keralite music, world renowned, is quite influenced by Carnatic Music. The major genres and sub-genres of traditional music in Kerala includes melam, which is especially performed in temples and religious festivals. It is a percussive style of music, and quite popular among tourists as well as locals.
Other major aspects of Keralite culture includes literature, folklore and martial arts such as Kalaripayattu. Kerala is also home to a plethora of temples, and most of them celebrate annual festivals. Some aspects of these annual festivals are unique to the region, as well as unique to the temple itself. The importance of elephants in Kerala culture is also highly defined. They are given a very prestigious place and are considered indispensable for temple festivals. The Malayali people in the state make sure to maintain and keep building on the rich cultural heritage of the state.