Born on 26 May 1927 in Killikkurussimangalam village, Kerala, Shri P.K. Narayanan Nambiar
trained in Koothu and Kutiyattam under his father Shri Mani Madhava Chakyar and acquired
mastery over the Mizhavu — the percussion instrument for Kutiyattam — as a student of Shri
Kochampilli Raman Nambiar and Shri Meledath Govindan Nambiar. He learnt Sanskrit from Shri
Panisseri Sankaran Namboodiripad and Shri Kizhiyapati Sankaran.
Since the age of 11, Shri Narayanan Nambiar has performed in the major temples of Kerala and in important cities in the country and abroad. Though equally proficient in Koothu, Kutiyattam and Pathakam, he is regarded as the foremost guru in the Mizhavu. From 1966 to 1988, Shri Nambiar taught at Kerala Kalamandalam, where he developed a system of training in the Mizhavu and a playing style which is now widely followed. Almost all Mizhavu artists of the younger generation are his disciples. He is the author of important works on Kutiyattam and Nangiar Koothu including a treatise on Kutiyattam talas and a book on Manthrankam — an act from Bhasa’s Pratigya Yougandharayana.
Shri Narayanan Nambiar was honoured with the Kerala Kalamandalam Award in 1985, the Guruvayurappan Award in 1993, the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award in 1994, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1994, and the Padma Shri in 2008 from the Government of India. Shri P.K. Narayanan Nambiar is elected Tagore Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contribution to Indian dance.