Thursday, March 5, 2009

Heritage: Kerala High Court saves historic churches

Whichever religion one might belong to, nobody would deny that the many centuries old Twin Churches of Ramapuram, Kerala, are beautiful. And there is so much of history behind them.

The Church wanted to demolish them and build a new church. There were widespread protests including from this blog (Churches on demolition line.). Finally the Kerala Government declared them to be heritage structures and brought them under the control of Archaeology Department, thereby preventing demolition.

The Church appealed against this order to the Kerala High Court. Earlier this week the HC ruled in favour of the Government and all those believe that heritage monuments should be preserved. It is not known whether the Church will go for further appeals.

It is difficult to understand the Church policy of demolishing old structures. I don’t recall hearing about an ancient temple or mosque being razed to ground to build a new one. The money spent on new churches to replace old ones could be utilized more meaningfully.

Nearer my home, the 1791Thycattussarry Church (A historic church is no more.) has been renovated. See photos below:

Old structure.

After renovation.

A saving grace here is that the architect has managed to retain some of the ethos. But lost in the process are the ‘Mondalam’ (picture below),

and more sadly, the beautiful frescoes that adorned the inside of the old building.

The next structure in line for the Church bulldozers is the Parayil Family’s 1861private oratory at Velliara (picture below).

Naturally, we have objected.

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