Three distinct memories will never leave me after my visit to Thrissur. The first one is the unusually rare architecture of a circular inner sanctum sanctorum Sri kovil. Second is the frescos that adorned the walls of these temple and thirdly the oil lamps used in various locations and for different purposes within the temple complex.
Vadakkumnathan Temple is a religious complex dedicated mainly to Lord Shiva but housing several other deities . The circular Sri kovil with painted substructure, has a conical brass plated super structure over it. The sanctum sanctorum is further divided into three chamber with Ghee adorned lingam facing west and Parvati facing east denoting the ardhanarishvara concept. Also housed within the main Sri kovil is Ganapathy facing the complex kitchen. What was interesting the circumambulation around this shrine was in anti clockwise direction and was only 3/4 th of the circle. Was is a temporary ritual as restoration was on? I cannot be sure. There was no way to get the answers as the language was a barrier.
I had not experienced kerala mural painting before this holiday. It only emphasized the fact that i need to make a serious attempt at understanding art and being aware of different styles. These frescos don't come under either the realism or the abstract. But the drama these 2d depiction of gods goddesses , mythology recreate is unmatchable.
As with all temples, photography is not allowed. These murals have to be enjoyed live rather than through photographs.
Oil lamps are integral part of kerala temple complex. Use of oil lamps in contrast to electrical lights lends an air of serenity and mysticism. Deepastambham (pillar of lamps) adorn the entrance and the 'chuttu vilakkus' in their niches along the circumambulatory wall cast a dull gleam by day but revives to a brilliant glow when lit at night. Traditionally natives of kerala use different types of lamps like Dasavatharam Vilakku, Lakshmi Vilakku, Thattu Vilakku, Nila Vilakku, kavara vilakku, Kuthu Vilakku, Atta Vilakku, Thooku Vilakku. I can only imagine how the wall of lights will look with hundreds of twinkling stars. I am sure it will be sight to remember.