Panchavadyam is Classical temple art form literally means orchestra of five instruments. It is the combination of Idakka, ilathalam. Thimila, shanku, and Maddalam. Panchavadyam is still largely a temple art but it has come out of its precincts to be seen performed during non –religious occasions like cultural Pageantry and which is basically a temple art form. The Panchavayam what is familiar now is slightly different from the originated ones. It has Thimila, Maddhalam, Kompu idakka, ilathalam, Kuzhal and shanku. Shanku will be blown only in the starting and end of the vadhyam.
It is still unknown about the origin of this art. It is only a presumption about this art when it got formed still no body could not find out the exact truth. Basically it a temple art form. The present form was formed by Thiruvilwamala Venkichan Swamy, Annamanada Peethambara Marar, Annamanada Achuthamarar, Annamanada Parameshwara Marar, Pattarathu Sankara marar. They played an Important role in creating a strong foundation and choosing the right instruments and concepts with an intelligent mixture of composed and improvised parts for panchavadyam.
Panchvadyam melam (harmony)
Usually the Panchavadyam troupe consist of 40 artists. It is divided as 11 Thimila players, 5 maddalam players, 2 Idakka players , 11 kombu players , and 11 elathalam players. All these players has their fixed positions. It is anchored and led by the timila artist at the centre of his band of instrumentalists , behind whom stand the ilathalam players. The Maddalam players stand opposite to them in a row and behind them stands the kompu players. The two idakka players stand on both sides of the aisle separating the timila and Maddalam line up. For Shanku the position is behind the Idakka players. The panchavadyam starts with the blowing sound of shanku.
Usually panchavadyam is performed in the temple festivals. This art is more familiar in Mid Kerala. The famous form will be conducted in Thrissur Pooram. In pooram this is known as Madathil varavu Panchavadyam. It is conducted by the famous Thiruvambadi Temple troupe