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An Architectural Survey of Temples of Kerala

An Architectural Survey of Temples of Kerala



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Book Information

Publisher:The Director General, Archaeological Survey of India
Published In:1978
Binding Type:Hardback
Weight:3.17 lbs
Pages:xv + 296 Pages, Frontispiece, Figures, 75 Pages of Plates (2 Folded), Tables, Maps, Index, Glossary, Bibliography

The Title "An Architectural Survey of Temples of Kerala " is written by H. Sarkar. This book was published in the year 1978. This book has total of pp. xv + 296 (Pages). The publisher of this title is The Director General, Archaeological Survey of India. We have about 572 other great books from this publisher. An Architectural Survey of Temples of Kerala is currently Available with us.

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About the Book

Kerala is a Land of Temples. And Temples Here, in a Sense, Were the Pivot of religious, social, economic and cultural life of the Malayalam people. But not much attention has been paid to the legacy of its temple-architecture until the present author conducted a rapid survey of temples on the west coast between the years 1969 and 1971. The present monograph attempts at summarizing the result of this reconnaissance, covering all the Districts. For the purpose of comparison, the survey was extended to the heart of Tulunadu as well. Though beset by many a difficulty, quite voluminous data have been collected; and indeed, there are innumerable temples each deserving a separate treatment of its own. None the less, an effort has been made to classify and periodize the available data with a view to presenting a picture of the evolution of Kerala's temple-architecture. In this process of analysis, many temples, well-known from religious or pilgrims' point of view, received lesser attention. Further, these are the temples where restrictions are too many, sometimes even making it difficult to have a close look of the interior, not to speak of preparation of drawings. Yet it must be recorded here that the present study achieved success because of the unstinted cooperation that individual priests offered in getting the measurements of the shrine-interior, an area still out of bounds for anybody except the concerned priest.



1. Geographical
2. Historical :
A. Early Cheras and their Contemporaries
B. The Ay-vels
C. The Second Chera Dynasty
D. The Mushikas
E. The Venadu rulers
F. The Zamorins of Calicut
G. Contact with European Powers
H. The Vijayanagara Rulers and the Nayakas
I. Rise of Centralized Administration

3. Architectural :
A. Introduction
B. The Chera rock-shelter
C. The Cave-temples
D. Relics of Buddhism
E. Jaina Vestiges

1. Introduction
2. Beginnings
3. Building Materials
4. Types of Ground-plan and their Distribution
5. Different Aspects of Elevation :
A. General
B. The Adhishthana
C. The Bhitti and Prastara

6. The Shrine-Interior
7. Minor Features :
A. General
B. The Sopana
C. The Pranala
D. The Balipitha

8. The Phases :
A. General
B. The Early phase (A.D. 800-1000)
C. The Middle phase (A.D. 1001-1300)
D. The Late phase (A.D. 1301-1800)

9. Influences

1. Introduction
2. Stone-sculptures :
A. Early phase
B. Middle phase
C. Late phase

3. Images in Clay or Stucco
4. Wood-sculptures
5. Metal-sculptures
6. Mural paintings

1. Introduction
2. Temples in Ay Country :
A. Introduction
B. Square Dravida shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Parthivasekharapuram : Parthasarathi temple
b. Munjira : Siva temple in Tirumalai temple-complex
c. Vilinjam : Siva temple

C. Rectangular Dravida shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Vilinjam : Bhagavati temple

D. Square Dravida-Kerala shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Kazhakutam : Mahadeva temple

E. Circular Dravida-Kerala shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Perumpaladur : The site of Naranattukkavu

3. Temples in Chera Country :
A. Introduction
B. Square Dravida shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Netirimangalam : Siva temple

C. Square Dravida-Kerala shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Tirukkulasekharapuram : Krishna temple
b. Methala near Thiruvanchikulam : Kilatali Siva temple
c. Tali : Siva or Nityavicharesvara temple
d. Panniyur : Lakshminarayana shrine in Ayyappan temple-complex

D. Circular Dravida-Kerala shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Polpulli : Ruined Siva temple
b. Kaviyur : Siva temple

E. Apsidal Dravida-Kerala shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Manjeri : Ayyappan shrine in Karikkad-kshetram
b. Triprangod : Kalasamharamurti temple
c. Trikkandiyur : Siva temple
d. Tiruvannur : Siva temple

4. Temples in Mushika Country :
A. Introduction
B. Square Dravida-Kerala shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Eraman : Chalappurattu-ambalam
b. Kannapuram : Kuruvakkava temple
c. Tricchambaram : Rajarajesvara temple
d. Tricchambaram : Krishna temple

C. Circular Dravida-Kerala shrine :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Ramantali : Narayankannur temple

1. Introduction
2. Square shrine :
A. Dravida :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Chalapuram : Kattilmadam

B. Dravida-Kerala :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Peruvanam : Madattilappan shrine
b. Edappal : Sukapuram Dakshinamurti temple
c. Maniyur : Subrahmanya temple
d. Pullur : Sri Kodavalam Vishnu temple
e. Anantapuram : Anantapadmanabhasvami temple

3. Circular shrine :
A. Dravida-Kerala :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Manjeri : Subrahmanya shrine in Karikkad-kshetram
b. Pulpatta : Siva temple
c. Trichur : Vadakkunnatha temple
d. Triprayar : Rama temple
e. Peruvanam : Irattayappan shrine
f. Tirunillai : Siva temple
g. Venganellur : Tiruvembilappan temple
h. Udayamperur : Peruntirukkoyil
i. Nemam : Niramankara temple
j. Punalur : Sri Trikotesvara Mahadeva temple

4. Apsidal shrine :
A. Dravida-Kerala :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Kizhavellur : Vamana temple
b. Panjal : Sri Ayyappankavu temple
c. Nedumpura : Siva temple
d. Triprangod : Kalasamharamurti temple
e. Trikkandiyur : Siva temple
f. Tiruvannur : Siva temple

1. Introduction
2. Square shrine :
A. Dravida :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Quilon : Ganapati temple
b. Quilon : Sri Ramesvara temple
c. Kanjirapalli : Ganapati temple

B. Dravida-Kerala :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Kalpathi (Palghat) : Visvanatha temple
b. Podiyal : Krishna temple
c. Udayanapuram : Subrahmanya temple
d. Kozhikode : Tali temple
e. Chengannur : Narasimha temple

3. Circular shrine :
A. General
B. Dravida :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Tiruvallam : Parasuramesvara temple
b. Valaya-Udayadichchapuram : Sri Valaya-Udayesvaram temple

C. Dravida-Kerala :
i. General
ii. Description :
a. Navaikulam : Sri Sankaranarayana temple
b. Ettumanur : Siva temple
c. Tiruvalattur : Bhagavati temple

4. Apsidal shrine :
A. General
B. Dravida-Kerala :
i. Description :
a. Payynnur : Subrahmanya temple
b. Mangalapadi : Sadasiva temple
c. Aduru : Mahalingesvara temple

5. Elliptical shrine :
A. General
B. Dravida-Kerala :
i. Description :
a. Vaikam : Siva temple

Glossary of Indian Architectural Terms


The present monograph is the second in the series of the Architectural Survey of Temples published by the Archaeological Survey of India. As no worthwhile survey of the Kerala temples had been conducted, taking the entire Kerala coast as a whole, the present author was asked by the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, in 1968, to take up a systematic study of these temples. The actual survey was carried out between the years 1968 and 1971, the results of which have now been incorporated in this publication. A brief summary of the history of Kerala's temple-architecture has also been given in an earlier publication, Monuments of Kerala (New Delhi, 1973), published by the Archaeological Survey of India.

After the publication of the yearwise reports on the present survey in the various issues of the Indian Archaeology-A Review, scholars have shown renewed interest in the temples of Kerala: some monographs are now being prepared, and after the present volume was sent to the press a few studies on the subject have also come out in print. Unfortunately, all these studies centre round the architectural and sculptural aspects of temples, and those too, not based on any scientific sampling. The archaeological approach has so much appeal that we hardly make an effort to unravel the forces that led to the construction of a temple or the creation of legends and myths around it. An analytical study of the mythical accounts or the sthala-puranas of various temples is bound to reveal interactions of diverse social and economic forces.

The temple-institution seems to have played an important role in the community-formation and in evolving a scheme of social stratification. A temple being the pivot of a landed group, Kerala's agrarian system was naturally knit closely with the institution of temples, the practice of matriarchy and the law of primogeniture amongst the privileged groups. As the present survey was carried out as a part of the Archaeological Survey of India's programme of architectural survey of temples, all these aspects do not necessarily come within the scope of the present work. But it is hoped that future studies will make attempts at focusing more attention on these hidden strata of Kerala's past history.

The present survey does not claim any finality; as a matter of fact, it is just a beginning for taking up intensive studies on different aspects of the temples of Kerala. It is necessary here to record that the number of temples included for illustrating this book is only a few compared to that actually surveyed and documented since the intention was only to include the representative types from the historical and architectural point of view. Unpublished drawings and photographs of a good number of temples are available with the office of the Temple Survey Project (Southern Region), Madras, for reference of scholars for any future wider study on the subject. It is this offiice whose members of the staff, both technical and ministrial, extended full cooperation in making the present survey a fruitful one.

It was indeed a team-work in which every member played an important role. However, I want here to express my grateful thanks to some of the many people who helped me in the field and in the office : to the Draftsmen Sarvashri A. T. P. Ponnuswamy, N. Selvapathy, M. S. R. K. Prasad and G. Krishnamurthy and to the Photographers Sarvashri K. S. Mani and M. Thyagarajan, all of the Temple Survey Project, Madras ; to Shri M. S. Mani of the Headquarters Office for making the drawings ready for publication; to Shri S. K. Sundara Rajan, Stenographer, Temple Survey Project, Madras, for carrying out all typing work and his assistance in the field; and to Shri B. Narasimhaiah, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, Headquarters, for the preparation of the exhaustive index.

List of Plates

Frontispiece : Cochin, Mattencheri Palace : Mural Paintings Depicting Rama's Coronation

I. Kaviyur : Rock-cut cave, relief of a chieftain
II. Kaviyur : Rock-cut cave :
A. Dvara-pala
B. Rishi
III. A. Vilinjam : Rock-cut cave, reliefs on facade
B. Kottukal : Rock-cut cave, general view

IV. A. Bhrantanpara : Unfinished cave, general view
B. Irunilancode : Rock-cut cave, reliefs of Dakshinamurti
C. Kottukal : Rock-cut cave, relief of Hanuman

V. A. Vilinjam : Bhagavati temple
B. Image of Matrika
C. Dakshinamurti

VI. Kazhakuttam : Mahadeva temple
VII. Kazhakuttam : Mahadeva temple, details of adhishthana and wall
VIII. A. Kazhakuttam : Mahadeva temple, image of Vishnu in a sub-shrine
B. Atiyannur : Vishnu temple, image of Vishnu

IX. Vilinjam : Siva temple
X. Netirimangalam : Siva temple, close view of unfinished wall
XI. Tirukkulasekharapuram :
A. Krishna temple
B. Subsidiary Govardhana shrine

XII. Tirukkulasekharapuram : Krishna temple :
A and B : Image in deva-koshtha
C. Dance-scene on banister of Govardhana shrine

XIII. Tirukkulasekharapuram : Krishna temple, close view of adhishthana and wall
XIV. A. Thiruvanchikulam : Kilatali Siva temple, image of Ganapati
B. Kavur : Kannesvara temple, image of Ganapati

XV. Trichur Museum : Images from Kilatali Siva temple :
A. Dakshinamurti
B. Brahmi
C. One of the Matrikas

XVI. Thiruvanchikulam : Kilatali Siva temple :
A. General view
B. An image of Matrika
C. Details of pranala

XVII. A. Tali : Siva temple
B. Panniyur : Lakshminarayana temple, close view of pranala and adhishthana
C. Ruined garbha-griha

XVIII. Tali : Siva temple, close view of bhitti
XIX. A. Kodungalur : Bhagavati temple
B. Triprangod : Kalasamharamurti temple

XX. A. Tiruvanchikulam : Siva temple
B. Kandiyur : Siva temple

XXI. A. Tiruvannur : Siva temple, close view of adhishthana and wall
B. Trikkandiyur : Siva temple, close view of adhishthana and wall

XXII. A. Ramantali : Narayankannur temple
B. Tricchambaram : Rajarajesvara temple, view of wall and adhishthana

XXIII. Ramantali : Narayankannur temple :
A. Image of Sasta
B. Balakrishna

XXIV. Eramam : Chalappurattu ambalam, image of Vishnu
XXV. Tricchambaram : Krishna temple
XXVI. Chalapuram : Kattilmadam
XXVII. Peruvanam : Siva temple :
A. Madattilappan shrine
B. Irattayappan shrine

XXVIII. Peruvanam : Siva temple, close view of wall and adhishthana of Madattilappan shrine
XXIX. Peruvanam : Siva temple :
A. Dvara-pala
B. Wooden bracket figure of Irattayappan shrine
C. Tricchambaram : Rajarajesvara temple, gaja-vyala as wooden bracket figure

XXX. A. Edapal : Sukapuram Dakshinamurti temple
B. Maniyur : Subrahmanya temple

XXXI. Maniyur : Subrahmanya temple :
A. Subrahmanya, stone and metal image
B. Sasta

XXXII. A. Maniyur : Subrahmanya temple, adhishthana and wall
B. Pullur : Kodavalam Vishnu temple

XXXIII. A. Tirkakara : Vamana-Mahavishnu temple
B. Anantapuram : Anantapadmanabha temple

XXXIV. Anantapuram : Anantapadmanabha temple :
A. Murals on sanctum-wall
B. Stucco figure of Vishnu
C. Vellanad : Subrahmanya temple, image of Subrahmanya

XXXV. Trichur : Vadakkunnatha temple-complex :
A. Gopura
B. Shrines of Vadakkunnatha, and
C. Rama

XXXVI. Trichur : Vadakkunnatha temple :
A. Kuttambalam
B. Murals in valiambalam depicting Vaikunthanatha and his consorts

XXXVII. A. Tirunillai : Siva temple, inner shrine
B. Nemam : Niramankara temple

XXXVIII. Manjeri, Karikkad-kshetram :
A. Subrahmanya temple
B. Inscribed adhishthana

XXXIX. Trichur : Vadakkunnatha temple, pranala with bhuta-figure :
A. Vadakkunnatha shrine
B. Rama shrine

XL. A. Triprayar : Rama temple, adhishthana and pranala with bhuta-figure
B. Tirunillai : Siva temple, close view of inner shrine

XLI. A. Trivikramangalam : Vishnu temple, dvara-pala
B. Kidangur : Subrahmanya temple, dance-scene on banister
C. Nemam : Niramankara temple, image of Vishnu

XLII. Trivikramangalam : Vishnu temple, dance-scene on banister
XLIII. A. Trivikramangalam : Vishnu temple, dance-scene on banister
B. Kizhavellur : Vamana temple, carvings on banister

XLIV. A. Kizhavellur : Vamana temple
B. Punalur : Sri Trikotesvara temple

XLV. Punalur : Sri Trikotesvara temple :
A. Adhishthana
B. Pranala
C. Carving on banister

XLVI. Nedumpura : Siva temple :
A. General view
B. Close view of adhishthana and wall

XLVII. Quilon :
A. Ganapati temple
B. Ramesvara temple, adhisthana and pranala
C. Carved banister

XLVIII. A. Nemam : Niramankara temple, image of Brahmi
B. Tenari : Subrahmanya temple, image of Subrahmanya

XLIX. Podiyal : Krishna temple :
A. Image of Vishnu
B. Close view of adhishthana and wall

L. A. Kozhikode : Tali temple
B. Udayanapuram : Subrahmanya temple

LI. Kozhikode : Tali temple :
A. Reliefs of Sarasvati
B. Bhagavati and Siva

LII. A. Kozhikode : Tali temple, murals of Venugopala

LIII. A. Palliyurkavu : Siva temple, murals depicting Umasahita Siva
B. Kumblanad : Pallimanna Siva temple, murals showing Rama's coronation

LIV. A. Kumblanad : Pallimanna Siva temple, murals depicting Siva with Mohini
B. Manambur : Subrahmanya temple, wood-carvings showing Siva

LV. A. Manambur : Subrahmanya temple, wood-carvings of Anantasayi Vishnu
B. Venganellur : Tiruvembilappan temple, wood-carvings on architrave of valiambalam

LVI. Chenganur : Narasimha temple :
A. Carved wooden wall above granite adhishthana
B. Wooden dvara-pala

LVII. Kaviyur : Siva temple :
A and B : Wood carvings on wall

LVIII. Kaviyur : Siva temple :
A and B : Wood carvings on wall

LIX. A. Vaikam : Siva temple
B. Tiruvillamala : Rama temple, showing pranala with bhuta-figure

LX. Ettumanur : Mahadeva temple, murals depicting dancing Siva on gopura wall
LXI. A. Ettumanur : Mahadeva temple, details of granite adhishthana and carved wooden wall
B. Varkkalla : Janardana temple, chauri-bearer

LXII. A. Aimanam : Pandava-Sasta temple, murals
B. Tiruvalattur : Bhagavati temple, dvara-palika
C. Payyanur : Subrahmanya temple

LXIII. A. Payyanur : Subrahmanya temple, details of wall
B. Vaikam : Siva temple
C. Aduru : Mahalingesvara temple

LXIV. A. Ettumanur : Mahadeva temple
B. Suchindram : Sthanunathasvami temple, sikhara of main shrine

LXV. Varkkalla : Janardana temple, dancing Siva
LXVI. Trivandrum Museum :
A. Vishnu and
B. Balakrishna in bronze

LXVII. A. Trivandrum Museum : silver image of Sasta
B. Parappankod : Vishnu temple, ornamental rafter-shoe

LXVIII. A. Kalpathi : Visvanatha temple, front view
B. Tiruvallam : Parasuramesvara temple
LXIX. Valaya-Udayadichchapuram : Valaya-Udayesvaram temple
LXX. Tiruvattar : Adikesavaperumal temple, covered pradakshina-patha

LXXI. A. Tiruvattar : Adikesavaperumal temple, carvings on pillar
B. Suchindram : Sthanunathasvami temple, Bhikshatana Siva
C. Harihara

LXXII. Tiruvattar : Adikesavaperumal temple, carving on pillar
LXXIII. Tali : Siva temple, District Trichur
LXXIV. Peruvanam : Madattilappan shrine, District Trichur
LXXV. Maniyur : Subrahmanya temple, District Cannanore

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