Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kerala Architecture

Kerala is one of the most cultured and heritage States of India. The architecture of Kerala is quite simple and elegance. In Kerala there are many architectural monuments, temples, churches,mosques, tombs, theaters, nalukettu (traditional Kerala house) etc, which represent the dimensions of architectural development. None of these buildings is very big, which signifies the simplicity
with perfection.

In the architecture of Kerala you can find the extract of historic, climate and
geographical factors. The Tantrasamuchaya, Vastuvidya, Manushyalaya-Chandrika and hilparatna are the well known treatises in this manner. The Manushyalaya-Chandrika work is basically
dedicated to domestic architecture.

We can categorize the architecture of Kerala under four major sections as:

Nalukettu is the traditional Kerala house. These were initially the abode of wealthy Brahmin and Nair families, but now a days these have become the status symbol. Its shape is quadrangular, which is constructed exactly as per the principles of Tachu Shastra (science of architecture). These houses have their own compound and floor is made of carved and slotted wood. Later, tiles replaced the coconut fronds.

The enclosed courtyard (ankanam) is generally sunk and hence known as 'Kuzhi (pit) Anakanam'. In the middle of the adjacent southern or western salas is the Ara (storage room), which is at the side of bedroom. The projected roofs of salas enhance the shady verandas, that keep the house cool by protecting it from direct sunlight. The outer veranda has four blocks - Vadakkini (northern block), Padinjattini (western block), Kizhakkini (eastern block) and Thekkini (southern block). The Padmanabhapuram Palace, The Dutch Palace at mattancherry and Krishnapuram Palace near Kayamkulam are some famous examples of nalakettu.

Temple Architecture:
The architecture of Kerala temples is the result of evolutions of several years. The rock cut
temples are counted among the earliest known temples of Kerala, which belong to the period before 800 AD. These temples are primarily divided into two groups – the southern group and the northern group.

Kerala temples are found in rectangular, square, circular, apsidal and elliptical shapes. Circular shrines in bulk represent a unique feature of Kerala temples architecture, these are situated in southern half of state. The apsidal temples are mostly found in central Kerala, and these are scattered all over, covering west coast upto Thriuvanaanthapuram. While rectangular and elliptical temples can only be seen in few parts of Kerala.

Church Architecture:
The architecture of churches, built in early period of Kerala seems to be influenced by the model of Hindu temples. These churches comprise a four sided retreat, having a large pillared hall at the front. The church also has a tower, whose height is the maximum that of church. The inherent tradition, which influenced the architecture of church, continued till 1498 AD,when Portuguese came to Kerala. Portuguese brought a lot of innovations in the design of churches. The thick entrance door of church got replaced by impressive arch while colored glass

windows gave a new look to church with ventilation. The worship chamber was beautifully designed with fascinating wall paintings as well as statues, made of wood and clay. The newly built Curches in Kerala are influenced by the architecture of outside countries. Gothic style of church with arches, vaults, steeples, flying buttresses, colored windows are the example of it.

Mosque Architecture:
The architecture of mosques in Kerala still is not influenced by the Turkish and Persian styles of
mosques of North India. The traditional Mosque of Kerala is a simple two storied building. The outer walls of the mosque are built on a basement, which resembles to Kerala temple. The roofs are made of tiles. The mosque has a central hall, surrounded with corridors. In central hall prayers are made. There are only few mosques, which reflect Islamic style of architecture, like Juma Masjid at Palayam (Thiruvanathapuram) and Puthiya Palli at Calicut.

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