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Kerala Temple Architecture Pdf 12

Kerala Temple Architecture PDF 12

Kerala is a land of temples, and temples here in a sense, were the pivot of the religious, social, economic and cultural life of the Malayalam people. Kerala temple architecture is a unique style of Hindu temple architecture that developed in the southwestern-most state of India. Kerala temple architecture reflects the ancient traditions and influences of Dravidian, Tamil, and later European cultures. Kerala temples are mainly built of wood, stone, and laterite, and have distinctive features such as gopurams (towers), vimanas (domes), srikoils (sanctums), palikkals (pillars), and mandapas (halls).

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In this article, we will explore some of the aspects of Kerala temple architecture based on the PDF documents available online. We will also provide links to some of the PDF files for further reading.

The Origins and Evolution of Kerala Temple Architecture

The origins and evolution of Kerala temple architecture are not well documented, as most of the early temples were either destroyed or renovated over time. However, some scholars have suggested that Kerala temple architecture was influenced by the Pallava, Chola, Pandya, and Vijayanagara styles of Tamil Nadu, as well as by the Buddhist and Jain temples of Karnataka. Some of the earliest examples of Kerala temple architecture are found in rock-cut caves, such as the Thirunandikkara cave temple in Kanyakumari district, which dates back to the 8th century CE. The Thirunandikkara cave temple has sculptures of Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Durga, Ganesha, and other deities in the Pallava style.

The Kerala style of temple architecture emerged as a distinct form in the 9th century CE, during the reign of the Kulasekhara dynasty. The Kulasekharas were patrons of art and literature, and they built many temples in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Kulasekhara style of temple architecture is characterized by a square plan, a pyramidal roof with tiers of wooden shikharas (spires), a circular sanctum with a conical roof, and a pillared mandapa in front of the sanctum. The Kulasekhara style temples also have elaborate carvings of floral motifs, animals, mythical creatures, and scenes from Hindu epics. Some of the examples of Kulasekhara style temples are the Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur, the Koodalmanikyam temple in Irinjalakuda, and the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of the richest temples in the world, with an estimated wealth of over $22 billion.

The Kerala style of temple architecture reached its zenith in the 16th century CE, during the rule of the Venad kings. The Venad kings were influenced by the Vijayanagara style of temple architecture, which was known for its grandeur and magnificence. The Venad style temples have massive gopurams with intricate sculptures and paintings, large vimanas with copper-plated roofs, spacious srikoils with ornate doors and windows, and majestic mandapas with carved pillars and ceilings. The Venad style temples also have elaborate rituals and festivals that attract thousands of devotees and tourists. Some of the examples of Venad style temples are the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, the Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayur, and the Sree Rama Swami temple in Thiruvalla. The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is considered to be one of the 108 Divya Desams (holy abodes) of Vishnu.

The Features and Elements of Kerala Temple Architecture

Kerala temple architecture has some distinctive features and elements that make it different from other styles of Hindu temple architecture. Some of these features and elements are:

  • Gopuram: A gopuram is a monumental tower that marks the entrance to a temple complex. It usually has several stories with niches containing sculptures and paintings of gods and goddesses. The gopuram also serves as a landmark for pilgrims and visitors. The gopuram is usually oriented towards the east or west direction.

  • Vimana: A vimana is a dome-shaped structure that covers the sanctum of the temple. It usually has a pyramidal or conical shape, and is made of wood, stone, or laterite. The vimana is often decorated with metal sheets, tiles, or paintings. The vimana also has a kalasa (finial) at the top, which symbolizes the presence of the deity.

  • Srikoil: A srikoil is the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, where the main idol of the deity is installed. It is usually circular or square in shape, and has a single door facing the east or west direction. The srikoil is surrounded by a prakara (wall) with openings for ventilation and lighting. The srikoil is considered to be the most sacred part of the temple, and only priests are allowed to enter it.

  • Palikkal: A palikkal is a wooden or stone pillar that supports the roof of the srikoil or the mandapa. It usually has a square or octagonal base, and a cylindrical or polygonal shaft. The palikkal is often carved with floral motifs, geometric patterns, or figures of deities, animals, or humans. The palikkal also serves as a medium for lighting lamps or hanging garlands.

  • Mandapa: A mandapa is a hall or pavilion that is attached to the srikoil or stands independently in the temple complex. It usually has a rectangular or square plan, and a flat or sloping roof. The mandapa is used for various purposes, such as performing rituals, offering prayers, conducting ceremonies, or hosting cultural events. The mandapa is often adorned with pillars, arches, windows, and paintings.

The Sources and References of Kerala Temple Architecture

Kerala temple architecture is a rich and diverse field of study that has attracted many scholars and enthusiasts over the years. There are many sources and references available online that provide more information and insights into Kerala temple architecture. Some of these sources and references are:

  • : This is a PDF document that explores the history, features, and elements of Kerala temple architecture. It also compares and contrasts Kerala temple architecture with other styles of Hindu temple architecture.

  • : This is a PDF document that traces the origins and evolution of Kerala temple architecture from the ancient to the modern times. It also discusses the influences and impacts of Kerala temple architecture on the society and culture of Kerala.

  • : This is a PDF document that analyzes the structure and function of Kerala style Hindu temples. It also examines the spatial organization and symbolic meaning of Kerala temples.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article on Kerala temple architecture PDF 12. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me.


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