Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ST.MARYS FORANE CHURCH, KANJOOR

St.Marys Church, Kanjoor is one of the very ancient and historic Churches in India.It is one of the most popular pilgrim centers in Kerala.The Church is situated in a beautiful serene locality 3 km south of Kalady in the Aluva-Kalady route.The church   in a scenic place fascinates everyone at a glance which is  surrounded by greenery,paddy fields etc and the river Periyar flows alongside the Church.Devotees in large numbers visit this church.Saint Sebastian at Kanjoor(The Kanjoor Punyavalan) is the living Saint who is approached by the devotees and seek his blessings to get rid of their diseases, to get remove obstacles and problems in life.
The Church was built in the year 1001 A.D.and has a fascinating architecture which is a blend of Indian,Persian and Portuguese style.The Church has in possession of several articles which are very ancient.
The frescoes in this Church attracts devotees as well as tourists.The walls of Holy Altar is painted about the stories of Holy Bible.No changes were made to the frescoes and sculptures at the time of renovations and are maintained as existed.They are all well preserved  in good condition.The beautiful collection of sculptures and frescoes which adorn the Sanctum of the Church are made according to the tradition from natural pigments.
Granite Cross made out of a single stone,the epitaph in ancient round






script,documents written on palm leaves,Aana Vilakku(Elephant lamp) etc are some of the articles of antique value and historical importance.
The Elephant Lamp(Aana Vilakku) was donated to the Church by 'Sakthan Thampuran' the ruler of local Kingdom.Sakthan Thampuran believed in the sacred powers of Saint Sebastian.
 The retreat of Tippu Sulthan without doing any harm to the Church because he believed in the sacred powers of Saint Sebastian is a well known fact. Two large Paintings showing this event is depicted in front of the Church wall.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thrikkodithanam,Pundareekapuram,Kudamaloor,Pandavam Temples

THRIKKODITHANAM MAHAVISHNU TEMPLE

Thrikkodithanam Mahavishnu Temple near Changanacherry in Kottayam District is belonging to the  '108' abodes of Lord Vishnu in India and Nepal which are famous as 'Divya Desams'.It is also one among the five Pandava temples in Kerala and believed to have been established by the youngest of the 'Pancha Pandava' prince 'Sahadeva'. It is  one of the oldest Mahavishnu temple in Kerala.
'Deepa Maholsavam' is a special festival held every year in this temple and this year's Deepa Maholsavam is being celebrated at present at the temple.
The temple has a circular Sanctum  and it is adorned with frescoes  which are preserved with much care.

PUNDAREEKAPURAM MAHAVISHNU TEMPLE


Pundareekapuram  Maha Vishnu Temple is situated at 'Midayikunnu' a village near Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam District.The temple is comparatively smaller  and the square sanctum is adorned with ancient murals.
The deity of this temple is depicted as Lord Vishnu with his consort mounted on bird 'Garuda' and such a theme is very rare in Vishnu temples.
The same depiction is shown as mural painting also.
Some of the frescoes here are 'Siva Parvathy,Coronation of Sri Rama,Lord Sastha astride a horse,Krishna in boyhood,Devi Durga vanquishing demon Mahishasura etc.
The word 'Pundareekapuram' means 'The City of Lotus'.
Large number of 'Nagaraja' idols can be seen in the temple premises.
The murals of this temple are believed to be of 18th century and the boldness and accuracy of the lines are appreciated by art lovers.

KUDAMALOOR VASUDEVAPURAM  TEMPLE






Kudamaloor is a  place in Kottayam district and the Vasudevapuram temple is famous for the ancient frescoes existed there.

PANDAVAM DHARMA SASTHA TEMPLE

Pandavam Dharma Sastha temple is situated at 'Aimanam' which is 3.5 km from Kottayam town.
The  idol of this temple Lord Dharma Sastha( Ayyappa) is along with his consorts 'Poorna and Pushkala'.
There are 18th century murals of Gods and Goddesses on the Sanctum walls  of this temple.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Murals

The world renowned Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple which is situated in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram, the Capital City of Kerala is visited by large number of devotees and it is a major tourist attraction also.Entry is permitted to Hindus only and a dress code is also followed strictly.
The ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is more than 4000 years old and reference of this temple is found in very ancient Hindu texts like Maha Bhagavatha Purana,Mahabharatha,Matsya Purana,Brahma Purana,Padma Purana' etc.
The temple has four entrances on East,West,North and South with Gopurams (tower).The main entrance which is known as East Nada has the big Gopuram which is a 100 foot high seven-tier  and this  beautiful tower is  constructed in Dravidian style  fully covered by amazingly carved sculptures.
The temple is an important Vishnu temple and  one among the 108 famous abodes of Lord Vishnu spread all over India and Nepal which are known as 'Divya Desams'.At present out of these, 108 temples  11 temples are in Kerala which are 'Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple at Thiruvanantha Puram,Sree Vallabha Swamy temple at Thiruvalla,Thrikkakara temple at Thrikkakara,Thiruvithamcode temple,Thirumoozhikkulam temple,Thirunavaya Mukunda Temple,and Pancha Pandava Mahavishnu temples which are 'Trichittattu Mahavishnu temple at Chengannur,Thrippuliyoor Mahavishnu Temple at Puliyoor in Chengannur,Thiruvaranmula Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula,Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple at Thiruvanvandoor in Chengannur,Thrikkodithanam Mahavishnu temple at Thrikkodithanam in Changanassery.
The deity's  idol of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple is depicted as in reclining posture and it can be seen fully  through three doors only.The right hand of the deity is depicted as placed over a 'Shiv Linga'.Sreedevi, the Goddess of Prosperity and Bhudevi, the Goddess of Earth,  two consorts of the Lord are by his side.Lord Brahma is shown as seated on a lotus which emanates from his navel.
The idol is made up of special kind of stones known as 'Salagrama' which are collected  from Gandaki river in Nepal, and 12000 of them are used with several other materials known as 'Kadusarkara Yogam' and covered with gold.Unction using any kind of liquid is avoided for the main idol but done for 'Abhisheka Murthis' which are small idols in gold  used for procession etc.
Lord Vishnu, the timeless supreme authority is symbolized as reclining on Serpent Anantha, which represents endless phenomenon of time floating on 'Kheera Sagara' (Ocean of Milk) represents the ever lasting creations.Such a depiction is shown in this temple and he is shown as reclining on serpent 'Anantha' and hence the name of city became 'Thiru Anantha Puram'.






The origin or 'Moolasthanam' of this temple is considered as 'Ananthapuram temple in Kasergod.
There are two other shrines in the compound one dedicated for 'Narasimha Swamy' and the other for 'Sree Krishna'.The Sree Krishna Shrine has separate flagstaff  and the idol is depicted  as 'Parthasarathy' the divine charioteer of Pandava prince Arjuna.The Krishna shrine is known as 'Thrivambady temple'.
When we enter the temple from the main East Nada Gopuram, the majestic 80 foot high golden flagstaff can be seen which adds to the beauty of the temple.
The temple was renovated around AD 1740 during the reign of 'Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma Maharajah' of Travancore.
The temple has 386 pillars in the corridors which are all having fine carved sculptures which are very  spectacular.
The main Sanctum is decorated with beautiful  murals which are very ancient  and they are all revered by the devotees.There are murals on some other parts of the temple also.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

SYRIAN JACOBITE CHURCH, AKAPPARAMBU

Akapaparambu Mor Sabor Mor Aphroth Syrian Jacobite Church  near Angamali is  believed to have been established in AD 825.
It is adjacent to the new International Airport at Nedumbassery.Akaparambu is a village in the south of the town of Angamali.
The Church is known in the names of Saints Mor Sabor Mor Aphroth.
In ancient records the Church is referred as 'Akapparambu Valia Pally'.
The present Church is only a replacement or perhaps enlargement of the ancient structure.
The Church is noted for its Murals which are of great antiquity.On the upper halves of the walls around the Altar are some remarkable beautiful frescoes, surely the best examples of Church murals of Kerala.
Satan temp


ting Eve in the garden of Eden,Mosses on mount Sinal with the tablet of the ten Commandments,Afroth engaged in logical argument with Namboothiri Brahmins,Ascension of Lord,Holy Virgin Mary etc drawn with natural dyes adorn the walls of the main Sanctuary.The paintings on the eastern walls are most ancient.Many paintings have unfortunately eroded over time.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

St.GEORGE SYRIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, CHEPPAD

Cheppad is a beautiful serene village near Haripad in Alapuzha District where the famous ancient holy shrine 'St.George Syrian Orthodox Church' is situated.
It is popular as 'Cheppad Valia Pally' which means big church of Cheppad.
This pilgrim centre of Malankara Orthodox Church is visited by large number of devotees from far and near.Cheppad Philippose Mor Dionysius is laid to rest here.He was the Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church during 1825- 1865.
There is evidence that one of the churches visited by Archbishop Menasis in 1599
was St.George Syrian Orthodox Church, Cheppad.
The Church is well known for its more than  600 years old Mural Paintings.The traditional mural
 paintings which depicts events from the life of Jesus Christ and such themes are drawn as per the traditional rules by using natural pigments only.They are on the walls of the Madbaho (Altar) and provides intense viewing pleasure.
These paintings are the mixing of middle eastern Christian Paintings and Kerala mural art works.
When the Church was rebuilt in 1952, the Altar was kept intact to protect the precious ancient murals which were  drawn seven centuries  ago.
There are 47 murals arranged in three lines on three walls.The Church has depictions such as 'St.Paul with a sword,Angels,Jesus Christ bearing the cross,Jesus beaten by the soldiers,St.Thomas with a mint,Adam and Eve eating the prohibited  fruit,Noah's Ark' etc.
These mural paintings are visited by large number of art lovers and tourists.








Monday, October 27, 2014

Thodeekalam Siva Temple

Thodeekalam Siva temple is located 2 km from Kannayam near Thalassery on the way to Mananthavady in Kannur district.This 2000 years old Siva temple is an important Siva Shrine in  Kerala.Large number of people visit this historically important temple which gave refuge to 'Pazhassi Raja' during his fights with the British.
Large number of art lovers visit this temple which has more than 150 ancient mural paintings drawn on the four walls of the sanctum sanctorum which are worshiped by the devotees.
The mural paintings in this temple which is covered in an area of 700 sq.ft is divided in to 40 panels and drawn on the two storeys  of the sanctum which is made in rectangular shape.The temple has an outer building and an incomplete  Mukhamandapam(portico) in front of the central shrine.

The mural paintings are depictions from Vaishnava and Shaiva themes.
They are taken from famous stories related to Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva.
The mural paintings reflect rural life of 16th to 18th century.
Scenes like Rukmini Swayamvaram and Ravana Vadham can be seen here.
Only natural pigments are used in these illustrations which are manifested with colors such as Saffron-red,green,red,saffron-yellow,blue,white,black,yellow and golden yellow.
There is no flag post in this temple since no long  festival is held here.
Sapthami and Astami of Malayalam month Vrichikam is celebrated as well as Sivarathri.
The temple can be accessed easily by Air,by train and by road.
Kannur International Airport is 34 km away where as Thalassery Railway station is only 2 km.












 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thali Mahadeva Temple, Kozhikode

Thali Mahadeva Temple which is situated in the heart of Kozhikode City is a 1500 years old holy shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.This tall Shiva temple is a classical example of temple architecture of Kerala.There one can find abundant beautiful sculptures  and carvings both on wood and stone.The 'Zamorins of Kozhokode' took over the temple administration in 13th century from the Brahmins who owned the temple.It was renovated in 18th century and in the late 20th century.
Revathy Pattathanam, a seven day celebration in which scholars and Philosophers were adorned with scholarships and awards was started here by the Zamorins to propitiate Lord Shiva.This was celebrated with much pomp and glory during Zamorins rule but the tradition is still done.
The temple suffered destruction from Hyderali and Tipu Sultan and the demolished structures were renovated.The current structure dates back to the period of ruler 'Manavikraman'.
The two storied Sanctum has works of art in terms of stone sculptures and mural paintings which are depicted from Puranic themes.
The temple is surrounded by gigantic walls of elephant belly(Aana Palla) type with broad base and narrow neck at the top.There are two temple tanks attached to the temple.There is a separate shrine for Lord  Krishna  here.
Recently a renovation work which was funded by 'the heredity project of Oil and Natural Gas Commission' was done in this temple.
As per  the project, renovating the Sanctum Sanctorum was the most important and precise work.The Sanctum made of granite rocks in two levels and adorned with numerous fine sculptures which are of  much interest to devotees and tourists as well as historians, archaeologists etc should have to be preserved and restored as existed.The ancient mural paintings on the four outer walls of the sanctum had to be restored as existed.
The condition of many of the murals were like as if erased by the passage of time, but four artists from Aranmula Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam took it as a challenge and worked on that project with immense dedication.
They used fibres of arrow grass boiled in cow's milk erected on bamboo sticks used as brushes.41 coats of white washing was done with a mixture of coconut water added to lime.
They used prime five colours which are all made from natural materials.Five colors represent 'five elements' or 'Pancha bhoothas'.In addition ot white,yellow and red,black and green are also used.Black is obtained  from 
lamp soot,green from a plant known as 'Neela Amari'.When indigo is mixed with it a bluish green is obtained.There are such traditional methods to make pigments  as per the requisite mural paintings.The artists refer an old text 'Silparatna' of the 16th century and follows the traditional path strictly.
The main renderings of this temple murals are 'Swayamvara Parvathy,Parthasaradhy,Mahavishnu,Maha Lakshmi,Parashakthi,Ganapathi,Shiva Parvathy,Dakshina Murthy' etc.
The frescoes illustrated the ethereal world of divinities.They are all considered divine since it appears on the walls of the holy Sanctum, the puranic themes and depiction of God's images.Further it is believed that the sacredness of the deity is transposed onto these paintings lending them spiritual power as the main 'murthi' or idol.






 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ST.GEORGE ORTHODOX CHURCH,PALIAKARA,THIRUVALLA

St.George Orthodox Church, Paliakara,Thiruvalla is the mother of all Churches in and around Thuruvalla and it is the oldest Church in the locality of Thiruvalla and also the oldest Church in Pathanamthitta District.
It is popular that Saint Thomas Apostle came to Kerala and was landed in AD 52 at Mussiris (Present day 'Kodungallur') and he started Churches in Kerala and 'Niranam Church' which is situated at Niranam, 5 km from Thiruvalla was consecrated by Saint Thomas in AD 52 where as Paliakara Church was consecrated by Saint Thomas in AD 54.The exact  date and details are unknown.
The present Church was completed and consecrated on March 28th 1814 by Marthoma VIII.People belonging to all sectors irrespective of religion,caste and creed visit this holy Shrine which is open on all days from morning 5AM to 9 PM.
The architectural style seems to be largely based on the prevailing style of Syrian Christian Churches of that period.The roof is of unique style and the figures carved on the facade are also unique.
The murals painted on the eastern wall of the altar  drawn as per the traditional rules by using natural pigments and other criteria and they  attracts large number of devotees and visitors.The murals are drawn based on the life of Lord Jesus Christ and are all well preserved.There is a huge picture of St.George, the Patron Saint of the church below the murals.
Pictures of the 12 Apostles of Lord Jesus Christ are also depicted here and their names are also given.
Small figures of elephants and tigers are carved on the big wooden gaders which supports the roof.Ancient inscriptions can be seen at different places on the walls of the church.
High rise compound walls, which is similar to temple walls and a pond on the northern side etc shows its historical importance.
Parumala Thirumeni, the first Metropolitan of Niranam  Diocese stayed at Paliakara Church in 1901 April.He celebrated and participated in the 'last passion week' at Paliakara Church.
The main feast of St.George  is held  from May 3 to May 7 every year.The main attraction of the 'Perunnal'(Festival) is the colorful procession from St.Thomas Sehion Chapel to the Church passing through Thirvalla town on 6th evening.Another procession is there on 7th afternoon starting from the Church passing through 'Thekke Puthen Church',  'Kattapuram Church', Kavil market and reaching back to the church followed by a feast to all the devotees.Thousands of devotees belonging to all religion takes part in all these functions.