THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

SREE PADMANABHA SWAMY TEMPLE
temple
Has murals depicting puranic themes belonging to the eighteenth century are noted for their remarkably skilled workmanship. A painting like Rajeswari retains the baroque mannerism though clearly on the wane. In a painting of Sastha on horseback and ‘toilet’ it has completely disappeared.

The Kulasekara mandapa has many episodes of the Ramayana retold in stone. Krishna’s vanquishing of kaliya and his dance with the maidens of Vraja. In the great halls each of the pillars has in front the figure of a woman carved in high relief holding a lamp in the palm of her hands. During the night the whole interior comes alive with the array of lamp bearing damsels. The carved wooden panels show a novel featureo background is depicted unless am essential part of the scene delineated. Sky and distant background is pierced out giving the frieze the appearence of an enormous length of fretwork.



VELI - LAGOON
veli
The Government Art Museum (Napier Museum) Has a Siva Parvathy group of the fourteenth century. Parvathy wears a breast band traditionally used by Kerala women. The deep relief of a metal rafter shoe representing the Nataraja, from the 14th century temple at Ponmana. Two rare representations of Siva one as the slayer of the demons who assumed the form of an elephant as narrated by Koorma Purana and Varaha Purana.

The Gaja Tandava has the figure soaring upwards with only one leg planted on the body of the slain elephant. The thrust of the folded leg is upwards and outwards. A daring experiment in asymmetry.

Equallly rare and interesting is the image of Siva carrying the inert body of Sati. There is no flurry of arms - the posture and visage convey grief. There are two other representations of Ardhanariswara and the mendicant Siva in the museum.

Two images in copper of Vishnu belonging to the eighth century has the sacred thread extending across the right forearm and passing around the torso. The conch and the wheel are held parallel to the plane of the higher figure. Vishnu’s vehicle Garuda is represented in a metal image with a lot of controlled strength about it.

There are two representations of Sastha the first belonging to the eighteenth century in bronze. The figure of the youth beautifully moulded, the decoration austere yet suggesting richness because of the coronet, necklace and waistband tracing light.

The second figure belonging to the nineteenth century is made of silver beaten out into sheets and strips laid over and hammered into a model in wood and secured by silver nails. The floral decorative border seen in handloom cloth has been imitated in carved metal with patient care In carved wood there is the seated figure of Vishnu where the treatment is realistic. The decorative details are even more sumptuous in the Tripurantahka but the figure carries it without undue ostentation. Rama and Hanuman has Rama the taller of the two standing his figure poised in relaxed rhythm. Hanuman, shorter located in a deeper plane. His stance suggests the vertical axis a fine foil for the deviating curve of the Rama figure. The visages of both are expressive.



PADMANABHAPURAM PALACE
veli
The topmost floor has more than forty one murals depicting religious themes. Covering an area of over nine hundred square feet. The themes are drawn from Rama and Krishna and also from the Puranas. There is atendency for the figures to be crowded and the patterns of drapery and jewellery cover cover almost the entire painted surface with minute filigree. Though single figures appear statuesque and immobile like idols the Kodanda Rama is elegantly poised - face gracious and winsome body without too much jewellery. There is also a painting of the Nataraja. The betrothal of Parvati and Krishna and Gopis are the two best group compositions.



VARKALA TEMPLE
veli
There is a stone image of Siva as the mendicant and the stone dwarapalas are moulded in the titanism of the east coast.

EXPERIENCE KERALA
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