Tag: Architecture

Somanathapura Temple – A Sculptural Marvel

Chennakesava Temple Somanathapura
Chennakesava Temple Somanathapura

The Chennakesava temple at Somnathpur was built by rulers of the Hoysala dynasty in the 13th Century. It is located on the banks of the river Kaveri, about 20 kilometres to the South East of Mysore. Along with the more famous temples at Belur and Halebid, this temple forms part of the magnificent Hoysala temples of Karnataka.

I recently revisited this temple (more a monument as active worship does not take place here anymore) while on a visit to Annamalai Tiger Reserve. The intricacy and profusion of carvings is simply stupendous. I know it’s a cliche, but words really cannot do justice to the beauty of this monument.

Somanathapura Temple Compound
Somanathapura Temple Compound neatly maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India
External walls of the Chennakesava Temple
External walls of the Chennakesava Temple
Profusion of carvings
Profusion of carvings covering literally every inch!
A finely carved chariot
A finely carved chariot
Intricately carved ceiling
Intricately carved ceiling
Smoothly Carved Pillars
Smoothly Carved Pillars inside the temple

Pallikoodam – school near Kottayam

I recently came across an article that spoke about a school in Kerala, designed by the eminent architect, the late Laurie Baker.

Originally from England, Laurie Baker settled down in Kerala, finally becoming an Indian citizen in 1988. He received numerous awards in his lifetime, including a Padma Shri and a nomination for the Pritzker Prize. His style was to incorporate local elements to design buildings in an environmentally sustainable fashion.

I hadn’t realised, though, that one of his works included a school. Reading further, it turns out that the school was started by Mary Roy, a social activist who, incidentally, is also the mother of famous author, Arundhati Roy.

Interestingly, one of the conditions that Laurie Baker imposed while agreeing to the project, was that Mary should admit his daughter into the school!

Photos on the school’s website reveal structures with a red-brick frontage. They have numerous small holes to let air and light in, a typical Laurie Baker design.

Located near Kottayam town in Southern Kerala, this is a little know piece of architecture that might be worth checking out if you are in the region.