The temples of Kerala have exquisite wooden sculptures in every praakaara but idols made of wood are rare. For carving wooden idols five types of wood can be used viz, Charalam, Thinduka (locally known as Panachi), Teak, Varikkaplavu (a variety of Jackwood), and Devathaaram. Of these, Teak and Jackwood are commonly used in Kerala. The preservation of these wooden images is usually done by an offering called Chaanthaattam. The liquid called chaanth for chaanthaattam is taken by distilling the bark or roots of teak. Normally from 10 kg of teak chips, 2.5 kg of chaanth is obtained. For distillation two pots, having same size of mouths are used. The first pot which is empty has to be covered with a thin layer of vazhappola (rind of plantain) while the second one contains chips of the roots of teak. Over the first empty pot, the second pot filled with the chips is kept in upside down position in such a way that the mouths ofthese pots are close to each other. The mouths are
Wooden images are seen in many of the temples of Kerala and some of them are exquisite carvings. A complete enumeration of all temples having wood carvings is yet to be obtained. However, there are some renowned temples like the idols of Udayavara Sree Daivasthaagam, Kunjathur (Kasaragod taluk) where the deities are seated on a swing having exquisite wood- carvings. Other temples having wooden images are Thirumandhamkunnu Sree Bhagavathi temple (Ernad taluk), Arakkurissi Udayarkunnu Bhagavathi temple (Mannarkkad taluk), Manappullikkavu Sree Bhagavathi temple (Palakkad taluk),' Thirukaacchamkurissi .Maha Vishnu (Sree Rama) temple (Payyaiore, Chittur taluk) , Thripallavur Sree Bhagavathi temple, and Kotikkad Bhagavathi temple (both in Mathur taluk) , Paramekkavu Sree Bhagavathi temple (Thrissur), Sree Kurumba Bhagavathi temple (Kodungallur taluk),Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple (Mavelikkara taluk) , Sree Parvathi and Sre Maha Ganapathi sub-shrines of the Siva temple (Kottarakkara, Kottarakkara talu ), Thozhuvancode Sree Chaamundi Devi temple (Thiruvananthapuram taluk). The list is not exhaustive but representative of some peculiar characteristics. Among those narrated above special mention has to be made about the new idol installed in 1997 at Paramekkavu Bhagavathi temple which is over five feet tall and almost the same width from one end of the arm to the other. It is an exquisite master-piece of wood-carving and it took one year to complete the carving. For further details on wood-carvings in temples Chapter 9 may be referred to.