Kerala Travel » Kerala Travel Guide » Architecture in Kerala
Plan Your Tour

Architecture in Kerala

Kerala is the cultural and heritage state of India, which is also known for its simplicity and grace. The simplicity is exposed the best in delightful architecture of Kerala's buildings and monuments. The traditional houses, temples, churches mosques etc. depict the architectural richness of the state. The architecture of Kerala is very much influenced by the its historic past, climate and geographical conditions. Also the building material used here, is quite different as compared to the other regions of the country. Natural building material like wood, timber, clay, palm leaves etc are mostly used. The architecture of the Kerala is quite influenced by Buddhism, Vedic, Brahmanical, Dravidians and Harappan civilizations etc.

To understand better, we can categorize the architecture of Kerala as:

Traditional House Architecture
The traditional houses in Kerala are known as 'Nalakettu', which were earlier the residence of rich Brahmin and Nair families. These are constructed exactly according as the principles of Tachu Shastra, a science of architecture. These houses have their own compounds thatched with generally square, circular or rectangular plane shaped roof. Still many famous nalakettu can be seen here like Krishnapuram Palace, Padmanabhapuram, Dutch Palace.

Temple Architecture
Kerala is enriched with more than 2000 temples, having different architectural styles. The temple architecture in Kerala is the gradual evolution of three phases. The first phase includes the rock cut temples, ranges from earliest contemporary to Buddhist cave temples, which mostly found in Southern Kerala. The second phase includes the structural temples of 8th to 10th century. These temples have a single shrine, but in rare cases a porch attached to the shrine can also be seen. The last phase comprises the period of 1300 AD to 1800 AD, when complex and stylish architecture of temples took place. Carvings, sculptures and mural paintings are the main decorative elements of temples.

Islamic Architecture
The mosques' architecture of Kerala resembles the traditional structures of the region. These mosques have a large prayer hall with covered verandah and mehrab on the walls. The ceilings are made of tiles and woods and the roof are mostly covered with copper sheets. All the constructions were done by local craftsman, hence these are not influenced by Arabian or Turkish styles of mosques of North India.
Church Architecture
The Church architecture of Kerala quite resembles the Hindu Temples. The churches have a large pillared hall, with a tower, whose height is the maximum of the height of church. The architecture of churches was drastically changed, when Portuguese came to Kerala. The entrance gate got converted into a fascinating arch with colored glass window. The worship hall was adorned with beautiful wall paintings and statues. The latest architecture of the church in Kerala is very much influenced by the church architecture of the foreign countries.