Guruvayur Mural Painting

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Mural Painting is studied by many and most of them traced the evolution of it from Ajanta to Kerala. The Buddhist themes of Ajanta paintings considered to have been executed between the 2nd Century B.C. and the 5th/ 6th Century A.D. got changed thematically and stylistically during different periods of time. The stages of mural paintings seen at different periods can be generally and roughly located at places such as Sittanavasal, Badami, Tanjavur, Vijayanagar and Kerala to name a few in south India.

The style of Sittanavasal and Lepakshi and that of Kerala show a lot of correspondence. Kerala is considered to be very rich in mural painting; perhaps second only to Rajasthan in India and most of the Kerala murals are dated between the a 16th 17th century and the 19th century A.D. though very few documentary evidences are there to date accurately the architecture of Kerala, stylistically many scholars have divided into three phrases. Early (800-1000 A.D.), middle (1001-1301 A.D.) in the last phase with the incorporation of other forms of visual arts like wood carvings and painting on temple walls, a balance has been forged between Kerala's architecture and decorative art.


The mural tradition of Kerala is generally divided into three phases, Early phases can be seen in Tirunandikkara, Kandalur and Padmanbhaswami Temple; the middle phases in Mattanchery place (Ramayana Panel) Vadakkumnatha Temple, Thiruvanchikulam, Thodeekkalam, Elamkunnappuzha; and the late phases in Mattanchery place, Padmanabhapuram palace Kottakal, Pundareekapuram, Guruvayur, Triprayar, Panayannar Kavu and many other places. The walls of Sreekovil and Gopuram are the prominent places where paintings are generally seen in temples. Apart from Hindu Temples a number of churches also have mural paintings with Christian iconographic features; kanjoor, Tiruvalla, Angamaly, Ollur Churches are a few worthy to be mentioned. Among the Hindu pantheon of gods Vishnu, Siva, Ganesh, Sastha, Goddesses and a number of different combinations of figures were depicted, different incarnations of Vishnu and manifestations of Siva and Goddess were favorite themes for usual paintings.


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