Conservation of MAHADEVA TEMPLE, KOOTHATTUKULAM
We prepared the proposals for the conservation of this temple in 2011. All the photos which I am posting have been taken in 2011. It would have decayed further since no further preventive measures have been taken. Lately, Travancore Devaswam Board has taken over the temple after a long legal struggle running over many years by Sivaswom Trust and it is expected that the Government of Kerala will be funding the conservation measures. The temple is of great significance from different view points such historical, architectural, archaeological and cultural values. The most important thing is that it has not been spoilt with the "modern development.
The temple is in bad shape. I hope that the Devaswam Board will conserve the temple keeping all the heritage values intact. In the case of a historic building, important decisions, which will alter the character of the building, should not be taken. The structural assessment has to be conducted before structural modifications are made. Immediate conservation measures need to be carried out to protect the building especially in areas which have been attacked by termites. The relevance of conserving the complex is relevant, as the Mahadeva temple is an integral part and example of the temple architecture in Kerala. It has not undergone any transformation during the recent past, which has happened in the case of many temples, churches and mosques.
The temple has beautiful timber carvings. The mural painting is also old. You can see the best craftsmanship in this temple, but this has been badly damaged.
History has it that when King Marthanda Varma conquered Vadakkumkur he gifted Ettumanoor Temple with abundant of gold and Vaikom Mahadeva temple with lands. Along with these temples he renovated the small temple of Mahadeva in Koothattukulam into the present one. The sculpting was done by “thachans” or traditional craftsmen.
The sculptural ingenious of the traditional sculptors is evident from the wood work of the intricate ceiling which depicts Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations, is reasonably intact even today. The Mahadeva temple has a prominent place among the 108 famous Shiva temples in Kerala. The idol of Lord Shiva with a pleasant emotion alongside with Parvati, Subramanian and Ganapati is a rarity.
The exquisite timber carvings of the temple complex are done by master craftsmen. Padippura’s (entrance gate) gable has carvings. The timber carving of the gable resembles a small door and is flanked by two Dwarapalakas on both the sides.
The ten incarnations of lord Vishnu overlooks one from above making the ceiling to resemble a piece of heavens. The carvings of lotus remind one of Padmanabhan or the lotus bearer himself.
The roof is made out of timber in traditional Kerala style. Mangalore tiles have been used as the roof covering. The main Srikoil (sanctum sanctorum) roof is with copper sheets. Now this is also in need of repair.
The gable has detailed carvings while columns have a shaft and a base. The roof has timber purlins and rafters to support either the Mangalore tiles or the copper sheets.
Rich, brightly coloured murals which surpassed the test of time adorn the Srikoil (Sanctum Sanctorum) with all its glory. Orange, yellow, green and blue colours enlightens the space surrounding Srikoil. The orange and yellow colour is used above the niches. These paints extracted from vegetables contrast the sober colours of the interiors.