South view of Vishnu Temple, Parumanna, Malabar District, Calicut Taluk
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Vishnu Temple at Parumanna in the Kozhikode district of Kerala, taken by a photographer of the Archaeological Survey of India on the 1st February 1901. The temples of Kerala have very distinctive features and their structure is largely influenced by the geographical and the climatic conditions peculiar to the region. The monsoons and the abundance of forests clothing the Western Ghat hills explain the sloping shape of the roofs which let the rain flow off, and are made of wood covered with tiling, thatch or copper plates. The walls are usually created of soft laterite plastered in mud and lime and most temples have been renovated and the roofs are now tiled. They are steep and their shape varies in accordance with the plan of the sanctuary. Temples built on a circular plan have a conical roof while square-plan sanctuaries are covered with a pyramidal roof. They often have different projecting tiers intended to protect the inner wooden structure of the temple itself. Circular sanctuaries while unusual in the rest of India are common in Kerala.