Kerala Murals

Kerala MBT mural paintings are frescos (strictly using naturally available materials), depicting mythology and legends, which are drawn on the walls of temples and churches in South India, principally in Kerala. They stand out for their emphasis on beauty, clarity and symmetry. They predominantly depict religious and mystic themes. There are also scenes from Kalidasa’s Abhignyana Sakuntalam and other literary works.


The method of Kerala mural painting derived probably from the ancient art of Kalamezhuthu.  The art is described in Narayanan’s Tantrasamuchaya (15th century) and Sreekumaran’s Silparatna (16th century),  the principal text on Indian painting techniques.

One of cheap nfl jerseys the earliest murals in South India is seen in the Tirunandikkarai temple in Kanyakumari district, dating back to the 8th century. The period between the 14th to 16th centuries is said to be the golden era of mural painting in Kerala.  Gajendramoksham is the largest mural painting in Kerala, painted on the walls of Krishnapuram Palace in Alappuzha district.

How are they done

Preparation of the walls

The walls have to be first prepared before one does the murals. The walls are given a rough plastering with a mixture of lime and sand, the juice of kadukkai or the juice of a creeper called chunnambuvelli and dissolved jaggery. Then a smooth plaster is applied. The ingredients are the same as in the case of the rough plaster, except that at this stage, cotton is ground together with the other ingredients.

After 10 days, 25 to 30 coats of a mixture of cheap nfl jerseys quicklime and tender coconut water are applied.  Its features are the lime medium and technique in which the prepared walls are painted only after it gets completely dry.


Five basic colours are used in mural painting — white, yellow, red, green, and black.

Based on the characteristics

The characters were coloured according to the characteristics,  as defined in the Bhagavad Gita.  To represent Satwik quality green and shades of green Sommer were used, characters of a Rajasik quality were portrayed in red or golden and the Tamasik nature of the gods were represented not by black but in white, Mallakhamb while demons and demonesses were represented by black.

Preparing the colours

For yellow and red, stones such as laterite are ground and the powder is cleaned to remove impurities. The pigment residue is collected and dried.

For green, the leaves of neela amari are dried and powdered. This powder is bluish in colour. Eruvikkara is a herb whose leaves are crushed to get yellow powder. The blue neela amari powder is mixed with the yellow Eruvikkara to get green, the proportion of Chinlone the two powders being varied to get different shades.

For black colour wicks are immersed in sesame oil, and then lit. The smoke is collected on the inside of a mud pot. The smoke is then carefully scraped out and used Costa where black colour is needed.

The outline is drawn in yellow, and then again in red. The colours are then filled in. Once the painting is finished, the outline is done again in black.


Brushes for painting on the wall are made of the blades of certain types of grass and the roots of some trees. Sharpened bamboo pieces are used to draw the outlines of the murals.


It is true that the figures of the murals have the external like-ness of men and women, wholesale jerseys the divine or rather the super-human aspect is also obvious in every detail. The creators of these pictures no doubt had undergone rigorous mental disciplines or sadhana.

Where can they be seen

Apart from the temples of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram museum and the Indian Navy at Cochin also showcases a few murals. Murals can also be seen in churches and palaces. In the palaces at Padmanabhapuram, Krishnapuram, Kayangulam and in the Dutch palace at Mattanchery, one can find exquisite murals. In churches, the themes are exclusively Christian.

The art today

This highly stylized art went wholesale jerseys out of fashion for most new part of the twentieth century Polo and it is only in the last decade and half that there has been a renewed interest and revival.

The mural with the five natural colours can last over a thousand years. But the modern concrete buildings with a lifespan of just hundred years make poor material to house this ancient art. Hence the rapid migration of this art from the walls to other surfaces like canvas and wood.

Mural Finishing Touches