Changampuzha Samskarika Kendram

Changampuzha Park, Edappally, Cochin

Life Membership Fee—Individual: Rs 3,000/-
Present Strength: 1800 (JANUARY 2016)

Changampuzha Krishna Pillai

Changampuzha Krishna Pillai

Changampuzha SamskarikaKendram, as the  title implies, is a multi-faceted cultural centre established in the name of one of  Kerala’s most  celebrated  modern  poets, Changampuzha Krishna Pillai. It is situated in a two-acre park established and  named after the great poet in Edappally, Kochi, where  he spent most of his creative years  tending the muses, and   has  his final resting place.  The  ChangampuzhaSamskarikaKendram  (CSK)  is conveniently located  just five km.  fromErnakulam Town, on the main road  to Aluva  and  has  idyllic  surroundings  that give  an   ambiance appropriate  to its reputed cultural ethos.   For, Edappally  has been lucky to wear  the halos of its other illustrious sons, like Poet  EdappallyRaghavan Pillai, historian K.P. Padmanabha Menon, thespian P.J. Antony,  Edappally Karunakara Menon and several others. Edappally hosted two All Kerala Meetings of Sahithya Parishad.

The eponymous  institution is not just a cultural centre as the title modestly  implies; it embraces  the  whole  gamut of  arts in their  many-splendored forms.  Started in 1997 by a group of  zealous  lovers of the arts, CSK’s  avowed  objective is promotion of  the protean culture of  our country in general  and that of  Kerala  in  particular. That is to say, the entire range of  Malayalam literature and   Kerala’s  all other  art forms  are in  the focus of its activities.

CSK is registered under the Charitable and Cultural Societies Act  and is governed by a 32 member executive committee elected  for a three-year  term. The committee includes men and women of letters,  artists from different streams, working  and retired bureaucrats and keen connoisseurs of  the arts, all of whom are committed  to work for  the healthy growth  of the institution.

Mr. K. Balachandran (Former Mayor of Kochi and former Chairman of GCDA) continues at the helm of affairs of CSK, helping it to develop and grow to ever greater  heights. Dr Mohan Bose is the new Secretary and Mr. Joseph Souhardan Treasurer for the next three years.

Apart from  the elected members of the executive committee the Member of Parliament for Eranakulam constituency , the Thrikkakara  M.L.A.,  District  Collector,  Kochi Mayor, the G.C.D.A. Chairperson and  the G.C.D.A. Secretary are permanent invitees  to the EC meeting.  The broad-based governance of CSK is thus truly representative of Edappally’s   effulgent socio-cultural milieu.

CSK Functioning

The executive committee (EC) of CSK  gets many of the functions carried out through various sector-wise units formed under its auspices.   It  lays down policy guidelines,  coordinates  activities of different wings,   arranges  technical  and material supports and provides  financial  assistance and advice  where necessary. It may thus seem  just an  umbrella organization. But it is  much more than that. It  has  several onerous functions  which do not fall under the purview of the sector-wise managing committees.  For instance, holding  commemorative meetings, honouring  men of letters, instituting endowments in memory of eminent artistes, allocating use of its two stages  and other paraphernalia  for functions that occur almost daily, interfacing  in matters official,  etc. are under  EC’s  direct  domain. The EC Meets once in every month. Various Sub Committees meet  regularly and every function is planned meticulously .

Some of the sector-wise units are registered separately and have  their own  managing committees (MCs). The prominent among these units are EdappallyKathakaliAswadaka  Sadas, EdappallySangeethaSadas, Edappally  Senior Citizens Forum and Edappally Nruthaswadaka Sadas . ( Pl. see Links  for sector-wise details of these units). These  MCs  conduct   their intra- mural affairs largely  independently.

The vibrant activities of these constituents  in consonance with the executive committee make Changampuzha SamskarikaKendram  a name to reckon with on the  art-and-culture  map of  Kerala.

Facilities and Services

Twelve  years  is too short a period in an institution’s life to make an  impact, especially for a cultural body conceived as a grand  idea,  one  which is  designed to make a pervasive influence on the people of the area. Even so,  the record hitherto is  gratifying  enough. One index  that it has made an impression on the public  is the growing  number of  its members. It has  already 1176 life-members,  apart from 16 institutional  and three organizational members, on its rolls. Since  life  membership  fee for individuals is somewhat high, it is fair to assume that those who opt to pay and become members—their number is growing steadily—must consider the ‘returns’ worth the cost.

For instance, an average of  270 engagements of  assorted nature–kathakali programmes, dance and music recitals, dramas, award presentations, memorial meetings, anniversary conferences  etc. all strictly apolitical– make CSK somewhat busy round the year.  Some of the items are sponsored, a few are in-house productions  and a sizeable number staged by outside parties on their own. But  no  rental is charged from any of the parties either for the stages– there are two, one open air and the other with a roof — , lighting arrangements or sound systems.  CSK even  allows free use of  its 700 odd chairs  and other  ancillary  items   including the standby generator.

These  impeccable  facilities  available to conduct programmes even in foul weather  make CSK the preferred destination of  art lovers and event managers  far and wide.  But  what make  CSK  most popular are three factors, 1. an overflowing and appreciative audience to watch,    2.  the programmes presented are  invariably of   high  standard and, 3. very important, they  are all completely  free.  People  can come  and occupy any vacant seat anywhere no reservation, watch the items presented, and go as they please.  In fact  the organizers  would consider it a privilege to have you anybody in the audience to  witness the performances.

Programmes presented by CSK  may  be divided into two kinds: some held at regular intervals/ or on  fixed days of the week/month, and  others  arranged as and when necessary with minor adjustments of the regular agenda. (Requests  for use of facilities from outside parties are  always  accommodated, subject to  CSK’s engagement roster.)  The programmes  held on fixed days include Senior Citizens Forum’s Azhachavattom, Kavyamoola etc.  Kathakali and Music programmes have no fixed days although care is taken to have at least one programme each every month. (For details please  see Links.)  Programmes with annual/longer periodicity include commemoration programmes, Natakolsavam, Nritholsavam,  award of puraskarams, youth festivals, Sargolsavam, Onam celebrations and  Kerala Day festivities.

In order to help children with an innate taste  for kathakali music, a class each for  chenda and kathakali vocal was started, the first at the instance of  the late Kalamandalam Kesavan and  the  second  at the initiative of  Kalamandalam Gopalakrishnan.  Both  the programmes have elicited fine response  and are making good progress.

Cinema making  (including acting in it) is an art distinct from drama in many ways.  In order to educate art-lovers  on the salient points of  this art form and the technological  revolutions sweeping it  these days –CSK cannot ignore it–  a beginning has been  made to have a film show every week. Initially  classics   are selected to show   recent innovations in  film making. The younger generation  exposed to  modern films can appreciate the gigantic strides made in recent years. The older generation may  have nostalgic  memories  of cinema  shows in dilapidated sheds when the haunting music of those halcyon days  seemed to compensate  for  all the discomforts. The new venture has become  a big draw.

Children’s Park

The one unique feature that sets CSK  apart from other cultural centres of similar  genre is the recognition accorded to the  needs of children to revel and play, along with their  mental development. While   Mazhavillu  will help to nurture and  promote their intellectual and  creative faculties, their urge to frolic and enjoy  has been attended to by CSK setting up a children’s park by carving a big chunk out of  the small plot allotted to it.  It is a well-equipped children’s  park and quite safe, and every  evening  a pretty good juvenile crowd  do make full use of  the facilities. GCDA  provides  some funds towards  the maintenance  cost of the Park  including the Children’s Corner but  obviously it is inadequate.

The kid’s  corner   does lend some  delightful sight and sound  to CSK’s overall  inspiring environment. The numerous  magnificent trees in and around the Park  give a cool and  comforting setting  to it  and, what is more, the imposing bust of poet Changampuzha Krishna Pillai installed at the centre of the Park, the beautiful fountain,   the decommissioned  fighter-plane and the many  abstract art pieces in stone and wood  done by eminent Indian and foreign  sculptors  thoughtfully kept at vantage points  augment  the aesthetics of  the whole place.


With so many activities crowding   its programme calendar CSK felt itself   handicapped without a  mouthpiece   to record  highlight of its  achievements in the month just concluded or to give notice of major events in the coming one. This  shortcoming has been largely rectified with the launching of a newsletter. The large number of pictures and  crisp reports make it attractive  and useful. It can do better with more pages, three-colour printing and larger contents but these will have to await more advertising support.