Festivals of Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple and the Royal Structures of Thripunithura

in Image Gallery
Published on: 14 November 2019

Dr Ashalatha Thampuran

Dr Ashalatha Thampuran is a renowned educationist and former Principal of College of Engineering, Trivandrum. She started her academic career as lecturer in Department of Architecture, College of Engineering, Trivandrum. In a career spanning several decades, she has been actively associated with several prestigious architectural projects. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology, Nedumangad, Thiruvananthapuram.

The image gallery presents the diverse festivals associated with Sree Poornathrayeesa temple of Thripunithura and showcases the built spaces in the temple town of Thripunithura that were constructed by the kings of Cochin from the nineteenth century. The festivities and rituals that make up these festivals or utsavam are vivid, colourful and ornate. The days and nights of these festivals have been captured through photographs which provide glimpses into the active and vibrant participation of the local people. Finely adorned elephants, elaborate decorations, thousands of oil lamps, the crispness of the activities and the rhythms of the festivals are imprinted on these images. The built heritage of Thripunithura includes the Sree Poornathrayeesa temple that forms the central point of this planned city and the royal households, palaces, recreational spaces and grid-like streets. The entire city—excluding the temple complex and some administrative buildings and non-residential buildings like Kalikkotta palace—is designed as the residential space of the extended royal family of Kochi. As a general rule governing matriarchal systems, independent residential complexes were provided for each female member when she married. As a result, married female members were shifted to independent complexes. There were other buildings associated with administration like the Kalanjam (Treasury), administrative office of the temple, a special building (Thaattumalika) on the south-western side of the temple, additional dining space (Oottupura) on two floors along the northern side of the temple complex, etc. Due to negligence and lack of proper maintenance most of the buildings lie in ruins or have been demolished. As of today very few original residential complexes can be seen inside Thripunithura. The majority of these complexes have been replaced by multi-storied residential apartments.