Socio-Cultural Influence in Built Forms of Kerala

Akshay S Kumar

Abstract


Similarities in climate, it is natural that the environmental characteristics of Kerala are more comparable with those of Southeast Asia than with the rest of the Indian subcontinent. Premodern architecture in (Sea of Bengal) must have shared common traditions with Southeast Asian architecture, which is wet tropical architecture.
Because the Western Ghats isolated Kerala from the rest of the subcontinent, the infusion of Aryan culture into Kerala. It came only after Kerala had already developed an independent culture, which can be as early as 1000 B.C. (Logan 1887). The Aryan immigration is believed to have started towards the end of the first millennium. Christianity reached Kerala around 52 A.D. through the apostle Thomas. The Jews in Kerala were once an affluent trading community on the Malabar. The first mosque in India was built in Kerala when a Travancore king converted to Islam around the 8th century, coinciding with the dawn of Islam/ Mohammedanism in the Middle East. The coming of European traders not only introduced new vocabulary to the existing traditions, but it also promoted relations with Southeast Asia. Therefore, it is seemingly obvious that subtle eclecticism had been the nature of Kerala artistic value, in which all kinds of influences, including Brahmanism, contributed to the cultural diffusion and architectural tradition. More homogeneous artistic development may have rigorously occurred around the 8th century as a result of large-scale colonization by the Vedic Brahmans, which caused the decline of Jainism and Buddhism.

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