KERALA FOLKLORE MUSEUM welcomes one to an enchanting world of ancient South Indian cultural heritage by throwing open a 17 Century dravedian portal befor the visitor. The courtyard is fenced with Laterite sourced from Kannur, the northern district of Kerala. Adorned at the top with the 19 Century epic sculpture of Yashoda and Krishna and representing the Mother-child bond, the pillars at the entrance bottomed by side-stones of Sopana, the steps of Sanctum Sanctorum of a temple, were originally discovered in Trichur, Kerala. And two figurines of 16 Century Tirunelveli stand atop the Sopana stone extending their warm greetings to you.Also there is a lady in Granite ushering you in the traditional manner.
An antique Hundi, the collection box made of stone is seen here a symbol of ancient prosperity.
Inscriptions on stone from 16 Century Kancheepuram in Tamilnadu, narrating the story of a temple in Sanskrit, Old Telugu and Tamil are featured on the walls of the Museum premises. The ornamental architectural slabs placed on top of the ancient Temple at, Tanjore described in the stone inscriptions are inversed to form the Plinth of this Museum edifice. Huge granite slabs chiselled from rocks to make great temple structures is the hallmark of rock-cut architecture of South India nurtured and nourished by the erstwhile Pallava, Chola, Chalukya and Vijayanagara emperors.The Kerala style of architecture was influenced on one side by Pallava-Pandya-Chola tradition, and on the other by the Chalukyan. The mukha-mandapa of a Kerala temple follows in every respect the idea of construction of Chalukyan temples. In Temple architecture,especially in the Chera country, a narrower mukha-mandapa projects out of the larger sanctum.
In front of the museum can be seen deepastambham, formerly erected at the Lord SreeKrishna Temple in Guruvayur .Existence of ancient practices like use of oil lamps, lends a serene and mystic atmosphere.The icon of Garuda atop the Deepasthambham represents the Vahana, the celestial vehicle of Lord Vishnu.Mukha Mandapa of the museum strictly adheres to the structural principles of temple architecture described in Stapathya Veda ,the science of architecture.Sthapathyaveda is the upaveda of Adharvaveda and is the principal text of Vasthuvidya..Sthapathyaveda comprises 3 streams, Vasthu, Silpa and Chithra.Kerala Folklore Museum showcases a rich and varied Vasthu, Silpa and Chitra collections.This Mukha-Mandapa shares features typical of Kerala Vasthu-style, though combined with certain traits then universal in temple-architecture of the south. Another breathtaking spectacle is the fabulous façade of the Museum with its intricate architectural works. Doorsteps of the façade, formerly a part of 16 Century temple in Tamilnadu numbering 3 in all,symbolising profit, loss and profit
Figures of Elephants in Granite built in 14 century flank the steps towards the entrance of the façade.Elephants both symbolize and support the earth, and also represent strength, sovereignty, wealth, virility, gentleness and calmness.The traditional utensil called Kindi filled with water and placed on the step is meant to ensure neatness before entering a house.Mukha-Mandapam is built entirely of old teak wood, displaying the architectural style of Kerala temples.The roof-structure paved with traditional roof tiles shows a sloping pattern.e roof adorned with angular Silhouettes made of rich wood carvings demonstrates the uniqueness of 19 Century Kerala- style architecture.Beautiful wood-carved Silhouettes built on each part of this three-storeyed edifice are visible in the front portion .An array of thick wooden rafters with embossed brass icons are found in the outer reaches of the façade. Wooden brackets with carvings encircle the Mukha Mandapam enhancing its appeal
Ash box of traditional type is suspended from the rafters and applying ash on the body is a practice associated with Shiva cult. Bronze Bells too are hung from the rafters and Bells are common feature of Temples. The toll of the bell is regarded as mangala nadam, meaning auspicious sound.Mukh-Mandapa decorated with so many artifacts is rarely seen in Kerala. Drainage system is modelled on the Pranala of Sanctum Sanctorum. Built in Granite, the 17 Century Tanjore door-frame of the main entrance is a fine example of rock sculpture showing curved Dwarapalas on either side .And the traditional ornamental door carries an icon of Maha Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity .Mahalaksmi, the original goddess embodies the three gunas. She is the supreme source of all power and all manifestations of divinity emerge from her.The door is a classic illustration of Kerala architecture with Chitrapoottu, the ornamental lock and other embellishments. This architectural marvel conforms to the cardinal principles of SilpaSastra reflecting the Vedic concept of universe, which embodies Almighty God
Doors of the museum opens to a world of traditional fantasies like you have never seen before.The interior part of Mukha-Mandapam resembles Kolai-the resting place in traditional Kerala houses surrounded by open wooden-grills. The building materials derived from Panchabhoothas allow air, one of the panchabhoothas to pass through the wooden grills. Benches made of wood and supported on curved legs are provided for traditional seating. Inside the main entrance there are wooden sculptures from the 19th century and also a wood curved panel depicting Hindu mythology right above. The top ceiling has a number of Hindu icons curved in wood and dating back to 19th century. They were collected from the Sothern part of Kerala.In India, spiritual approach played a key role in creating objects of art. Aesthetics based on accepted principles owe its origin to spiritual approach.
Sagunopasana exclusively involving icon worship. As prototypes receive added importance we resort to icon worship. Temples further established the practice of icon worship. Icons are created according to the principles laid down in the Agama & Thantra Sastra the ancient science of India. It is vital to historical studies of nations with a strong religious background. Iconography constitute an important aspect of Cultural history from which can be obtained an authentic picture of the evolution of various cults.The ceiling is supported on one side on 19th century a granite pillars from Thanjavoor and it has an ornate bulbous capital. The corbel underneath the capital show the distinctive feature of post Vijaya Nagara period modern architecture style.Belgium made milky dooms and wooden leaf fan of 19th century are fixed on the ceiling.The ceiling is also supported by two rectangular wooden pillars with rich wood cravings of Hindu diets.Religious worship is inextricably linked with symbolism and Icons are the tangible expression of religious symbolism.An ornate Kerala style door secures the entrance to the left corridor.Two latarate pillars support the inner wall.The main door of the museum hall is an exquisite and eye catching one in the traditional Kerala style.Colored wooden panel bearing the figure of Lord Lekshmi and her companions greet you.Like sentinels the bronzes figures flank the entrance to the museum hall.This hall is a classic illustration of Malabar architecture.
The museum hall on the ground floor where exhibits are displayed, has been built on the model of a Malabar mansion, a style of architecture which prevailed in Malabar region, in the north of Kerala.It is a rare blend of teak, rose wood and metal.The Islamic architecture of Kerala exhibit none of the features of the Arabic style or those of Indo-Islamic architectures of the imperial school in north India.Wood was extensively used in super structure for the construction of ceiling and roofs.The ceiling incorporates metallic ornamental buds. The Arabic tradition of simplicity of plan had combined with the indigenous construction techniques giving rise through a unique style of Islamic architecture not found anywhere else in the world. Exquisitely curved wooden ceilings are supported on massive wooden beams with figures curved thereon. The ceiling is embellished with brass hemispherical objects, a feature of Malabar style in architecture. Antique ceiling fans and quaint western style electric lamps decorate the ceiling.
Pierced wooden windows, specialty of Malabar style of architecture enhance the charm of this place. The flour is made wooden tiles. Lavish use of quality wood bears testimony to the availability of wood in abundance in Malabar in olden days. The Arabic style of Kerala construction is seen in a subtle manner in the secular architecture of Muslims. Massive wooden pillars on right side of the hall display figures from Hindu classical mythology.
The pillars on the left side show icons from dasavatharam, the ten incarnations of lord Vishnu described in Hindu puranas.The first avatar, Matsya, was taken by Lord Vishnu at the end of the Satyuga, the last age, when a flood destroyed the world. Through this avatar, he saved humanity and the sacred Veda text from the flood.The second avatar, Kurma, was taken in the Satyuga, to help the Devas and to obtain the amrut, nectar of immortality which was also sought after by the Asuras the demons. He helped in creating the world by giving support of his back through this avatar.The third avatar, Varaha, was taken at the end of the last flood in the Satyuga, when Bhoomi Devi the Earth Mother sank to the bottom of the ocean. Vishnu, in the form of varaha, dived into the ocean and raised the goddess out of the ocean, supported by his two tusks.The fourth Avatar, Narsimha, was taken in the Satyuga to kill a tyrant demon king. Narsimha is the only avatar which was Hybrid in form being half human and half animal.The fifth avatar, Vamana, appeared in the Tretayuga in order to destroy Bali, the king of demons. He came during a huge ceremony conducted by the king and cleverly asked for just three feet of land, measured by his own small feet. Vamana covered whole of the earth and the heaven, subduing Bali into his feet.
The sixth avatar, Parshurama, appeared in the Tretayuga to destroy the warrior caste. When the kings of the earth became despotic and started to harm people and saints in the forest, Vishnu incarnated as Parshurama and destroyed all the kings who were harassing the people.
The seventh avatar, Rama, the prince and king of Ayodhaya, appeared in the Tretayuga, to rescue Sita with his loyal servant Hanuman and his brother, Lakshmana, and killed the demon Ravana. The eighth avatar, Krishna, along with his brother Balarama, appeared in the Dwaparyuga to kill the demon king, Kansa. Lord Krishna conveyed the message of love and humanity to the world.The ninth avatar, Mahavira Buddha, appeared in the Kalyuga, to teach the lesson of following a middle path in life. ''Buddha'' means 'the enlightened one'. He taught that all sorrow com Kes from attachments and desires, so it's better to curb all attachments in order to remain happy.The tenth Avatar,Kalki, The Destroyer of foulness, is yet to appear on the earth. And it is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist, which will end in the year 428899 CE.
The fish, tortoise and boar may have been tribal totems taken over by Brahmanism.The fish, tortoise and boar avataras were originally associated with Brahma Prajapathi, but with the development of the Vaisnava Bhagavata creed, were transferred to its composite cult-god. According to some scholars the fish-sign in the Indus script signifies a god.The doors on the wall intricately decorated with carvings and metal work, typical of ancient architectural style of Kerala.The doors are fitted with chithrapoottu, the ornamental lock, which shows the dedication of artisans in olden days.Each door panels carries carvings of different figures from Indian epics.Door panels display scenes described in epics and it is executed with marvelous skill.The panel is supposed to be Ananthasayanam, the snake couch of lord Vishnu. The curdling of the ocean of milk, Palazhimadanam is shown in this panel.Diverse Gods and Goddess of Hindu mythology are depicted in this panel.All these show that art and faith sustained each other in the Indian way of life.Some of these door figures are inspired by the Christian faith. These reflect the cross-currents of different religions throughout the centuries. The synthesis of different faiths can be seen in various artifacts of India. This is jacobate oil lamp. This reveals the influence of Hindu culture on Christian faith in Kerala. The dome lights suspended from ceiling is a characteristic of Christian tradition.
The corridor is an architectural marvel with intricate curvings on the ceiling inlaid with beautiful objects of art.The door on the corridor is adorned with a wooden panel bearing an icon of Goddess Gega Lekshmi, a form of Lord Maha Lekshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu.The staircase leading to the first flour named Kalithattu is decorated with elegant sculptures and railings are made of exquisitely designed quality wood.Paved with glossy wooden tales the steps leading you to a world of fantasy of south Indian ethnic and folk culture.Before entering into the cultural fantasies in Kalithattu you will do well to get a feel of the elegance in the vestibule.The vestibule is profusely decked with various types of wooden sculptures which are the crowning glory of south Indian sculpture arts. Each and every figure is minutely executed with artistic taste and skills.The decadent state of these sculptures reveals their long age.Chitrathoonu, the ornamental pillars have corbels pointing at four directions, a typical feature of Kerala style of architecture.There are two sculptures of women standing sentinel to the vestibule on both sides of the door.Vyalimukham the door keeping lion guards the area.
The entrance to the Kalithattu is decorated with a beautiful wooden door. Panel above the door frame bears carvings depicting Palazhimadanam the curdling of ocean of milk. Kalithattu theatre, the theatre for folk and ritual art, represents the Travencore-Cochi style of architecture, a blend of Kerala and Western styles. The wooden ceiling comprises 392 columns each of them currying beautiful carvings thereon. The stage for presenting performing art forms is beautified with curved and colourful pillars on both sides.Every showcase displaying the quaint costumes of performing arts will take you to a rare feeling of ecstasy.Here you can view a miniature replica of south India’s ethnic sculpture forms.Art expression is an outward manifestation of human emotions that takes a concrete form through some material such as stone, metal, wood, ivory, etc. Since time immemorial.It is inextricably connected with the village life since the introduction of settled life in Indian sub-continent.
The balcony to the first floor resembles that of a typical Jacobate church of Kerala. Church architecture development in Kerala was highly influenced by European Style during 16th to 19th century. The adaptations of Europeans style to climatic needs and the syntheses with traditional style are the best seen in building architecture. Wood carvings, decorative media of temples are seen t be adopted in the ancient churches also. Door panels are heavily decked with designs a collection of icons belonging to Christian tradition of long antiquity are displayed here. The staircase leading to the second floor is made entirely of wood beautifully designed and elaborately decked with sculptures, which elevates you to a world of classical art forms.
KANJADALAM, the lotus petal is the theatre for classical as well as martial art forms.The vestibule to Kanjadalam is rich with art objects of rare charms and antique beauty.All structures here are highly ornamented and they reflect the artistic skill and delicacy of artisans who shaped them.The door to Kanjadalam is made entirely of wood and it is a marvel of carpentry art in south India. A visit to this floor will prove a rare experience. Kanjadalam is a magnificent example of Kerala style of aristocratic architecture. In which faith and aesthetics commingle.The wonderful wooden ceiling compresses 333 columns, each carrying delicately curved Hindu icons which represents 330 million hindu gods.