Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://localhost:8081/xmlui/handle/123456789/486
Authors: Edward, Sunil
Issue Date: 2005
Abstract: The present investigation attempts to shed light on a relatively unknown architecture that is the original and indigenous church architecture of Kerala. According to a time honored tradition, St. Thomas, a direct disciple of Jesus Christ brought Christianity to Kerala in the 1st century itself. Over the years, when this community had grown, the need for new churches arose and the local builders built them in the way they had conceived a religious building. As this architecture matured through ages, it assumed a separate and original architectural identity, which was totally ethnic by nature. The Portuguese arrived in Kerala in 1498 and their misunderstanding in differentiating the cultural part from the religious part of Kerala Christians, resulted in an attempt by them to introduce a new and alien style of church architecture there, which eventually succeeded in replacing the vernacular architecture. The aim of this investigation was to (i) reconstruct the original form of Indigenous church architecture of Kerala before it was modified by the European architectural intervention, (ii) to compare the original church architecture to the other religious architecture in the study area and the church architecture of the West, to find out the possible influences that molded the original form and also (iii) to evolve feasible strategies to conserve this architectural heritage. To achieve this, firstly, the literature on the development of Christianity and church architecture in Kerala, church architecture of the West as well as the temple architecture of other religious buildings in Kerala were reviewed thoroughly and inferences drawn. A list of all church buildings in Kerala built mostly before 16th century was identified based on the literature review and an in extensive primary survey was conducted in all these churches by using pre tested schedules. The schedule was prepared based on the literature survey as well as observation made in the oldest existing churches in Kerala. The survey data were processed and the architectural elements and characteristics, which were commonly present (in more than 60 per cent of the sample churches) in the indigenous churches were deduced. Further, the original form of pre-Portuguese Kerala church was reconstructed by using those deduced architectural elements and characteristics as indicators. To study further about the reconstructed modal, a detailed architectural study, including measure drawing, was conducted on purposely selected sample churches. A comparative analysis of architectural elements and characteristics of indigenous churches of Kerala, church architecture of the West and the temple (Jain, Buddhist and Hindu) architecture of Kerala was done to understand the possible influences that molded the characteristic features of indigenous church. To undertake the comparative analysis, most important architectural variables have been considered. This comparative analysis made a break-through and revealed that the indigenous church architecture was purely based on vernacular architecture of Kerala, religious as well as secular, to the larger extent. It has been observed from this study that achieving homogenous regional identity between buildings of different religions was the norm of the past and the demarcation line between Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian edifices was imperceptible. The study concludes with plausible recommendations to conserve the indigenous church architecture, which is an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of the State.
Other Identifiers: Ph.D
Research Supervisor/ Guide: Shankar, R.
Devadas, V.
metadata.dc.type: Doctoral Thesis
Appears in Collections:DOCTORAL THESES (A&P)

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