Kerala is called God’s own land, the reason being the scenic beauty which is to die for. But the wonders of Kerala don’t end here. What is the other reason for that? Fascinating as it is Kerala’s age-old art form that makes it a heritage land. The mesmerising piece of art is called Kerala Mural Paintings. An exceptional work of art depicting Hindu mythology. Rooftop is as mystified as you are now and to end the burning curiosity we dive deeper in the world of Kerala murals to know more about it! So hop on and join us in our journey to explore more.

Image credits: Indus Scrolls (L); Indulge Express (R)

How Old Is Kerala Mural?

Old enough to drop your jaws! Dating around the 8th century CE, murals are the most iconic symbol of religious and artistic traditions. Mostly these paintings are from the 14th century AD. There are over 150 temples in Kerala consisting of ancient art forms of murals. The emergence of Murals is a reformation of ground painting to ‘Kalamezhuthu’ and then finally as murals. 

Earlier, Kerala’s topography and nature influenced the paintings. Later, the Bhakti movement and cultural sphere motivated the painters. These 200 – year- old paintings are unusual and more stylish than technical ones. Kerala is the second largest owner of Mural sites after Rajasthan in India. This adds to the list of Kerala’s proud Heritage.

Also, check out the Indian art forms that are getting fame internationally.

Is Anything Unique About The Murals?

Of course! The murals are one-of-a-kind paintings which include face painting, and body painting. Though the paintings manifest differences across the region. For instance, in the palace of Mattancherry, women depicted have round faces and bulky appearances. Whereas the Padmanabhapuram palace in south Travancore has long faced a well-built body.

Image credits: Behance (L); Kerala Tourism (R)

Another distinctive feature of Murals is the feminine undertone in male gods and another way round as well. Few figures like Parasuraman, Vettakorumakan saints and kings had moustaches. The renowned dance of Kathakali is inspired by Mural artists. The mudras of Kathakali are allied to the poses of the figure in paintings. 

What Are Various Styles And Colours?

The Kerala Murals have a particular style when it comes to preparing the painting. Firstly, the walls of the shrine are painted with fine calcium carbonate mixed with a hint of coconut water. This solution is then mixed in the middle surface and coloured materials are applied with glue. 

Image credits: Fizdi

The murals are usually of five colours including their respective lighter and darker shades. The main colours are yellow, black, white, green and red. Seldom lapis lazuli is used for blue colour. The colours are symbolic as they are based on the qualities of Satvikam, Rajasam and Tamasam. The prime colour is saffron red as it complements the lush green of Kerala’s nature. 

Check out our experience on Kerala’s mural art here and give it a try yourself.

Sites To Visit For Murals

Tirunandikaara cave temple is said to have the first Mural painting. The earliest murals in Kerala is Shiva temple’s wall at Ettumanoor. They deliver a peek into the Dravidian art Culture. The mural depicts scenes from the Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, picturing the deities in a unique style.  

The oldest relics of the murals are from Thirunadhikkara Cave Temple and Tiruvanchikulam.

Temples like Trikodithanam, Vaikom Temple, Pundarikapuram, Udaynapuram, Trikodithanam, Udayanapuram, Triprangode, Guruvayoor, Kumaranalloor, Aymanam, the Vadakkunathan temple in Trichur, the Thodeekkalam temple in Kannur and the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram are other fine mural painting sites.

The world of Kerala murals does not end here as there is more to this magnificent art form. India is a bearer of much such art and Rooftop is bridging the gap between these art forms and the world. We conduct virtual workshops across the world, offer maestro courses wherein expert artists help you to understand the art closely, offer art therapy and much more.

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