Narasingampatti - Chitrachavadi [17th Century]

A small Mandapa (Chavadi / Choultry) at Narasingampatti village near Madurai has the paintings of 17th century in its west and north inner walls. They depict the Ramayana episodes. It begins in the southern part of the west wall with the scene of people worshipping Vishnu. The figure of the god is mostly eroded and unidentifiable. It continues with the narration of the scenes of the birth of Rama and his brothers and killing of Tadathagai. The northern wall shows the episodes of Rama’s marriage with Sita. The remaining portion of the paintings has been unfortunately weathered away.

Narasingampatti is one of the ancient villages located on the road leading from Madurai to Melur. Seventeenth-century mural paintings that beautifully narrate episodes from 'The Ramayana' are vanishing as the building that houses itself is in ruins. The dilapidated building at Narasingampatti village, 16 km from Madurai city, is called 'Chithirachavadi' (art hall or choultry) situated at the centre of the village. It was probably constructed by the elders of this village some four hundred years ago for the purpose of assembling and taking important common decisions relating to the village. Its surrounding wall is made of lime and brick and its roof is covered with local tiles. Its doorway faces south. The inner walls of this choultry adorn the paintings of the Ramayana story to facilitate the people to look and enjoy. The archaeologists estimate that the paintings could have been drawn between later 17th and the beginning of 18th century during the later Nayak- period because the paintings have many similarities with Nayak-era murals. But it is very sad to see the paintings are left to decay. The elders of the village says that the hall was in a bad shape since their childhood.

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