<< Kerala Art Forms

The temple at Ettumanoor located in Kottayam, situated in Kerala, South India, is richly provided with a plethora of the art form of mural paintings and sculptures, which depict scenes from Ramayana, Bhagwata and other tales from Hindu Mythology.

The Ezharaponnaana Ezhunallathu, is one festival, which is celebrated every year in the temple which witnesses the coming together of thousands of devotees to the Ettumanoor temple.Located 12 kms north of Kottayam town, at Ettumanoor is the ancient Shiva temple, which was built in the 16th century. Ettumanoor temple is a marvelous example of the Kerala style of architecture, attracting many Hindu devotees from all over the state. The copper plated conical roof of the central shrine is in itself a majestic structure. The shrine is inlaid with beautiful carvings of scenes from the Ramayana, Bhagavatha and Krishna Leela. The temple is also endowed with an exquisite collection of mural paintings and sculptures, depicting scenes from the Hindu mythology.

The present temple building, with its gopuram and the fortress around it, was reconstructed in 717 ME (1542 AD). The mural paintings on the walls inside and outside the gopuram are quite famous. The images of Balagopalan and other Devas are painted with high artistic ingenuity. The golden flag staff inside the temple is a beautiful sight. On the top of it is the image of a bull surrounded by a small bells and metal leaves of the banyan tree. The temple roofs are covered with copper sheets and it has 14 ornamental tops. Bhagavati, Sastha, Ganapathy and Yakshi are installed here as subordinate deities. It is believed that the great philosopher, Sankaracharya wrote the Soundaraya Lahari staying in the Ettumanoor temple.

The traditional style mural art form, using natural pigments and vegetable colours, is being revived by a new genre of artists actively involved in researching and teaching mural art at several art schools and universities spread throughout the state especially in the southern and central parts.

These Dravidian mural paintings that are the frescos depicting mythology and legends, are drawn on the walls of not only temples but also churches and palaces all over Kerala. Ancient temples, churches and palaces in Kerala, South India, display an abounding tradition of mural paintings mostly dating back between the 9th to 12th centuries AD when this form of art enjoyed Royal patronage.

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