Poyilkavu aalthara: cements the beauty of Kerala murals

If you are an art aficionado and you are in Kozhikode, mark a visit to the Poyilkavu Durga temple near Edakkulam as a must do. To be precise, it is the temple banyan tree, where an artist has created sculptures blending Kerala mural and Hoysala styles, that you must see. The base of the banyan tree that stands overlooking the temple path will awe you with its stature and the fascinating sculptures around its stone base.

Artist Shaji Poyilkavu has created magic with his sculptures inspired from the concepts of traditional dance and music of the state. The designs are placed in series form – vanamala, mrugamala, pakshimala and chillamala from Kerala mural style. Above that comes chithramala, a series displaying the involvement of music in daily life. The series begins with showcasing a chenda percussion in progress followed by mohiniyattam, depiction of fulfillment of love and portrayal of a family enjoying music and dance.

All these sculptures evoke the feel of a musical enchantment. Even the pillars in between the sculptures showcase heavenly beings dancing and singing in merry. Avoiding the widely popular and easy technique of using molds, Shaji created these sculptures in the old-school way of trusting one's bare hands. The sculptures are made out of cement and are painted artistically to give them a life-like feel. The craftsmanship will leave one guessing as to what material has been used in their making.

Team Shilpamudra by Shaji and his associates Babu Poyilkavu, Vysakh Ooralloor, Deepu Poyilkavu, Saju Narikkuni, Biju and Muchukunnu have created as many as 80 sculptures around the banyan tree. The renovation and beautification was taken up with the help of a non-resident group called Heart Breakers Poyilkavu, at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. Shaji Poyilkavu and team have already done similar work in 12 famed temples across Kerala.

Poyilkavu Althara, before and after renovation

Shaji's sculptures made of cement and sand have found their place in various house interiors, setting a new trend in the decor industry. Demand is high for the artworks inspired from traditional art-forms of Kerala crafted by him.

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