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Monuments of Kerala

The contributions of Kerala to the cultural heritage of India stands unique in every sense. Recent findings in various parts of Kerala has provided enough proff of its greater antiquity in the geological features and pre-historic cultures. The pre-historic evidences obtained from kerala constitute various cultures beginning from Paleolithic to Megalithic period. 'Paleolithis sites in Kerala are found in and around Nilambur in the Beypore basin, Bharathapuzha basin and at Mukkali in Bhavani basin in the Silent Valley'. Several Mesolithic sites are also discovered from the districts of Malapuram, Wayanad, Palakkad, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram.

The artistic carvings found as incisions on the exterior surface of Thenmala rock shelter are of mesolithic age. Engravings of same character can be seen in rock shelters like Edakkal ( Wayanad District), Marayur (Idukki District) and Pandavanpara (Thiruvananthapuram District). Neolithic cultural evidences were found from different parts of Northern Kerala. It is widely distributed megalithic cultural remnants found in this land helped Kerala to achieve a distinct position in the pre-historic map of India. A detailed research on proper perspective has not yet done in this field.

Kerala is rich in megalithic monuments. All of them are funerary monuments often associated with human skeletal remains and burial-furniture. The megalithic monuments of Kerala consists of (1) dolmenoid cists (2) cap stones (3) stone circles (4) Umbrella stones (5) menhirs and (6) Urn-burrials which are seen in different parts of the state. Budha and Jaina monuments which can be ascribable to the period from the 9th to the 11th centuries are available in different parts of Kerala. Of these, the Buddhist monasteries like sreemulavasam and Jaina rock shelters at Chitral, Kallil etc are now converted or considered as Hindu temples. Beautiful stone images of Buddha and Jaina encountered from different parts of Kerala shed light towards the ancient Buddhist and Jain Monasteries in the state.

The most ancient form of Kerala temples are very simple in structure. They are with out roof or open air shrines known as 'Kavu'. Brahmanical cave temples belong to the next stage of development in the temple architecture. Kaviyoor, the oldest cave temple of Kerala belongs to the latter half of the 8th century AD, shows pallava resemblance. Kallil, Trikkur, Ayiroorpara, Kottukal, Vizhinjam and Chitral cave temples represent the technique of rock-architecture which prevailed in Kerala some time in the 8th century.

The inscriptional evidences suggest that the temple architecture in kerala had its begining at least by the early part of the ninth century AD. From the initial stage itself, it is clear that there is special impetus in temple architecture by the patronship of the Cheraman Perumal and the Kulasekhara Alwar. The Kerala temples show clear cut difference from the temples of Tamil Nadu in so far as the imposing 'Gopuram' is conspicuous by its absence. The early temples here are not represented by intact structures and most of them were undergone periodical renovations. All the important temples in kerala have been built on prominent sites as laid down in the sacred texts. The standard works on the architecture of Kerala are the 'Manushyalaya Chandrika', The 'Tantra samuchaya' and 'Silparatna'.

The elements of temples of Kerala are (1) the upapitha (pedestal) (2) the adhistana (base) (3) the stambha (pilaster) (4) the prastara (entamblature) (5) the griva (neck of the dome) (6) the sikhara (cupola) (7) the stupa (pinnacle). Kerala temples generally have a central shine called 'Sree Kovil', which may be square, oblong or circular in shape, consisting of one or two storeys over which a sloping roof is built. With in there is the 'Garbha griha', where the image of the diety is placed. In front of the main temple or 'Sreekovil' is situated a 'namaskara mandapa'on a square plan and built with pyramidal roof. Surrounding these is a corridor or pillared hall known as 'Nalambalam'. The entrance to the nalambalam is graced by a 'balipitha' with a 'dhwaja stambha' in front of it. The outside of the nalambalam is the 'Vilakkumadam'. The whole structure is surrounded by a paved processional path. In addition to the above separate edifices like 'Koothambalam', 'Anakkottil' and smaller shrines dedicated to Sastha, Parvathy, Ganesha or other deities are also found in some temples. All these structures are enclosed by a compound wall in the centre of each side of which, at the four cardinal points are, entrances surmounted by 'Gopuras'.

The traditional domestic architectural monuments include 'Nalukettu', Ettukettu' and palaces which were built according to thesilpa sasthras and are the living specimens of Kerala traditional architecture. Strong influence of the local Hindu temple style is seen in the structure of ancient churches and mosques of Kerala. Among the historical monuments in Kerala, there are several ancient forts which deserve special attention. Most of the monuments, especially temples and palaces of Kerala are adorned with beautiful mural paintings and sculptures which proclaim our rich and prosperous tradition in fine arts.

Monuments in Thiruvananthapuram District

padmanabhapuram palace Padmanabhapuram Palace

- About 1.5kms east of Thuckalai in Thiruvananthapuram - Kanyakumari N.H.

pandavanpara Pandavanpara

- located on the north east side of neyyattinkara to kattakada route and is about 25 kms from Thiruvananthapuram.

koikkal kottaram Koikkal Kottaram

- In Nedumangad Town

bhagavathy temple vizhinjam Bhagavathy Temple Vizhinjam

- About 2 kms west of Vizhinjam town.

madavoorpara rock cut temple Madavoorpara Rock Cut Temple

- About 0.5 km from Sasthavattom in Sreekaryam - Pothencode route.

ayyipilla asan Ayyipilla Asan and Ayyinipilla Asan Smarakom

- Avaduthura beach, Kovalam.

neeramonkara temple Neeramonkara Temple

- About 50 mts from Neeramonkara (in the N.H, between Karamana and Pappanamcode).

Vishnu Temple Aruvikara

- About 4 kms from Pongummoodu in Neyyattinkara - Kattakada road.

thrivikramangalam temple Thrivikramangalam Temple

- About 3 kms from Kunjalummodu in Poojappura - Karamana road.

thiruvananthapuram fort Thiruvananthapuram Fort

- Around Sreepadmanabha Swami Temple.

thirunarayanapuram temple Thirunarayanapuram Temple

- 1.5 kms south from Vadaserikonam which is 1.5 kms rom the national highway in Kallambalam - Varlaka route.

Monuments in Kollam District

kottukal rock cut temple Kottukal Rock Cut Temple

- 5 kms from kurisumukku in Ayoor - Anchal road.

madan kavu Madan Kavu

- 2.5 kms north of Kilikolloor in Kollam - Chenkotta road.

chennamath temple Chennamath Temple

- 1 km north of Chathannoor town.

suspension bridge punalur Suspension Bridge Punalur

- At punalur town.

Monuments in Pathanamthitta District

rock cut temple thrikkakudy Rock Cut Temple Thrikkakudy

- 0.5 km north of Kammalathakidi junction which is 3 km east of Thotta Bhagam in Thiruvalla, Kozhancheri route.

Monuments in Alappuzha District

narasimha temple chathankulangara Narasimha Temple Chathankulangara

- 1.5 kms from Chengannoor town in the Chengannoor - Kozhancheri road.

buddha krishnapuram palace Buddha image at Krishnapuram Palace

- 0.5 kms left from Krishnapuram in Kollam - Kayamkulam N.H.

buddha mavelikkara Buddha image at Mavelikkara

- Near Sree Krishna Swamy Temple about 1 km from Mavelikkara -Olakettiyambalam route.

buddha karumadi Buddha image at Karumadi

- 3.5 kms away from Ambalappuzha in Ambalappuzha - Thakazhi route.

buddha bharanikavu Buddha image at Bharanikavu

- Inside the Bharanikavu devi temple compound in the Mavelikkara - Kattanam road.

krishnapuram palace Krishnapuram Palace

- 0.5 kms left from Krishnapuram in Kollam - Kayamkulam N.H.

Monuments in Kottayam District

pundareekapuram devaswam Pundareekapuram Devaswam

- At Midaikunnu 0.5 km from Vettikattu mukku in the Thalayolapparambu - Ernakulam road.

Monuments in Idukki District

mangaladevi temple Mangaladevi Temple

- About 5 kms from Thekkady.

ezhuthupara Ezhuthupara

- Inside the Marayoor Forest Range.

Monuments in Ernakulam District

kallil rock cut temple Kallil Rock Cut Temple

- 4 kms from Odakkali which is 15 kms from perumbavoor in the Perumbavoor - Kothamangalam road.

pazhoor perumthrikkovil Pazhoor Perumthrikkovil

- About 1.5 kms from Piravam Town in the Piravam - Ernakulam road.

pallippuram fort Pallippuram Fort

- About 8 kms in the Paravoor - Munambam road.

ooramana temple Ooramana Temple

- About 4 kms from Ramamangalam hospital junction in Piravam - Kakkad - Muvattupuzha road.

stone inscription hebrew Stone Inscription (Hebrew)

- In front of old Synagogue of Black Jews at Chennamangalam.

  Stone Inscription (Chennamangalam)
ariyittu vazhcha kovilakom Ariyittu Vazhcha Kovilakom

- Near Village office Mattancheri in the T.D road.

sivanarayana temple thirunayathode Sivanarayana Temple Thirunayathode

- 4 kms in the Nedumbasseri Airport road.

manjapra temple Manjapra Temple

- 10 kms from Angamali in Angamali - Kaladi road.

uliyannur mahadeva temple Uliyannur Mahadeva Temple

- 2 kms west of Aluva market junction in the National Highway.

old kacheri malika uc college aluva Old Kacheri Malika - U.C College Aluva
  Kottayil Kovilakom

- At Chennamangalam


Vaipikotta Seminary

- At Chennamangalam

Monuments in Thrissur District

sakthan thampuran palace Sakthan Thampuran Palace

- Thrissur Town.

arnose padiri house Ancient House of Arnose Padiri and St. Francis Xavier Forane Church

- 5 kms in Kecheri - Vadakancheri route.

trikkur mahadeva temple Trikkur Mahadeva Temple

- Thrissur - Ollur - Trikkur route.

vattezhuthu inscriptions Vattezhuthu Inscriptions

- At Kallettuakra in Irinjalakkuda - Chalakkudy road.

menhir Menhir

- At Ramavarmapuram in Thrissur - Kundukadu road.

monolithic monument Monolithic Monument

- At Valiyaparambu in Thrissur Kottekadu road (Inside khadi bhavan compound).

porkalam dolmans Porkalam Dolmans

- Behind the Vedakkadu Temple in Kunnamkulam - Kattukambal route.

kottappuram fort Kottappuram Fort

- At Kottappuram about 4 kms in Kodungalloor - Muthakunnam road.

ariyannoor temple Ariyannoor Temple

- At Koonammoochi in Choondal - Guruvayoor road.

nedumkotta or travancore lines Nedumkotta or Travancore Lines

- About 4 kms east of Muringoor Junction (Thrissur - Ernakulam NH).

cheraman parambu Cheraman Parambu

- At Methala about 3 kms in Kodungalloor - Muthakunnam road.

irunilakode temple Irunilakode Temple

- At Mulloorkara in Thrissur - Vadakancheri - Shornur route.

kizhthali temple Kizhthali Temple

- At Kizhthali junction in Kodungalloor - Cochin road.

Monuments in Palakkad District

kattilmadam Kattilmadam

- Near Moonnumukku in Kunnamkulam - Pattambi road.

Monuments in Malappuram District

sree venkitathevar temple Sree Venkitathevar Temple

- Near Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala in Kottakkal - Malappuram Road.

Monuments in Kozhikode District

vasco de gama monument Vasco De Gama Monument

- About 1.5 kms from Thiruvangoor in Kozhikode - Quailandi N.H.

kottakal kunjalimarakkars house Kottakal Kunjalimarakkar's House

- About 1.5 kms from Iringal in Kozhikode - Vadakara N.H road.

tippu sultans fort Tippu Sultan's Fort

- Near Feroke Junction.

kalpathoor paradevatha temple Kalpathoor Paradevatha Temple

- At Mamballikonam in Vadakara - Perambra road.

Monuments in Wayanad District

tomb of veera pazhassi Tomb of Veera Pazhassi

- Near district hospital in Mananthavadi town.

edakkal cave Cave at Edakkal

- About 3 kms from Ambalavayal in Ambalavayal - Kalpatta route.

Monuments in Kannur District

thodeekkulam siva temple Thodeekkulam Siva Temple

- About 11 kms from Koothuparambu - Mananthavadi road.

ezhimala fort at ettikulam Ezhimala Fort at Ettikulam

- Inside the Naval Academy compound, 26 kms north of Kannur.

Monuments in Kasargod District

poyilkotta Poyilkotta

- About 4 kms from Cherkala ( in the N.H) to Puthoor road.

chandragiri fort Chandragiri Fort

- About 3 kms from Melparambu to Chandragiri H.S Road in the Kanjangad - Bekal- Kasargod route.

pilicode cave Pilicode Cave

- Near the Pilicode village office. On the left side of Payyannoor - Nileswaram N.H.