Staff Profile - Dr. Preeta Nayar



Dr. Preeta Nayar


Research Officer

Contact Info:



Working in KCHR Since

February 2009

Education Summary

• Ph.D in Archaeology from the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, MS University of Baroda with fellowship from ICHR, New Delhi

• National Eligibility Test (NET)- 1998  

• Certificate and Pre-Diploma in French from Alliance Francaise, Thiruvananthapuram-1994  

• MA in Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology(Second Rank)-MS University of Baroda- 1989

• BA in History, University of Calicut- 1985  

Professional Experience

• Working as Research Officer in KCHR since 2014 February

• Worked as Academic Co-ordinator in KCHR (2009-2014)

• Worked as Lecturer(on contract) at Department of Archaeology,      University of Kerala

• Worked as News Presenter in Doordarshan and News Presenter cum  Sub Editor in Asianet Communications, 1990-1996

Professional Milestones/ Achievements

• Ph.D Guideship in Archaeology from Kerala University

• Guided 40 students for MA Dissertations in different archaeological aspects of Kerala

• Guided one student in Mural research

• Published twenty four single authored research papers (including four accepted) in pre reviewed Journal like Marg and Kala, Jnana-Pravaha and Proceedings.

• Around twenty one research papers were presented in various National and International confrences

• Member, Board of Studies in Archaeology, Kerala University.

• Associated with many academic bodies like Indian Art History Congress, Indian Archaeological Society, All India Oriental Conference, The Kerala Philatelic and Numismatic Association and International Association for Women Archaeologists working in South Asia (IAWAWSA).

• Executive Committee member of Indian Art History Congress.

Academic Activities

• Attended around eight National and International workshops on various fields of Archaeology

• Participated Ethno Archaeological field study on Traditional Boat building and carpentry at Pattanam in November 2015 and Gold Smithy at Paravoor in September 2013

• Participated in exploration of Kodanadu region in Ernakulam, Kerala as Co-director of Pattanam Archaeological research

• Participated in the exploration of megalithic Urn burial site at Vengola, Ernakulam and also in the Kollam Port

Research Interests

Preeta Nayar specialized in Iconography and received her PhD for her work on 'Vaishnava Iconography' of Kerala upon an ICHR Fellowship from M S University of Baroda . Upon a Junior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, she undertook a special study on Ramayana theme in sculptural art of Kerala. She has to her credit more than 24 research papers in Iconography and related subjects. She has reported four new varieties of Shiva and Vishnu sculptures from Kerala. Her two manuscripts 'Vaishnava Sculptures of Kerala' and 'Ramayana theme in Sculptural Art of Kerala' are in press. She has lectured widely on Indian Iconography at many academic platforms in India.

Iconography -Arts and Aesthetics| Beads of Early Historic period |Studying the stone and glass beads excavated from Pattanam and Vizhinjam archaeological sites in Kerala, Madaripattinam in Tamil Nadu |Comparative study of Pattanam and Sumhuram (Khor Rori in Oman) beads for Pisa University, Italy.

Research Summary

Ph.D paper Title : Vaishnava Iconography of Kerala

This work is based on the extensive field survey of temples of Kerala conducted from 1996 to 1999 and intensive study carried out on Vaisnava sculptures present in them, besides those kept in different museums inside and outside the state, including the National museum, New Delhi.

No serious attempts were made to study Vaishnava Iconography of Kerala and so very scanty literature existed on the subject. R. Vasudeva Poduval in the work Arts and Crafts of Kerala (Stella Kramrisch, 1970) made an attempt to study some selected images of Kerala from 8th to 18th century AD and described some five sculptures of Vishnu. Stella Kramrisch in the same work presented a study on some bronze images kept in different museums of Kerala, which included five images of Vishnu - three of which belonged to 8th century AD and one each to 16th and 17th centuries. In Indian Sculpture C.Sivaramamurti (1961) mentioned two Vishnu images from Kerala as an example of the image of early Chera period. It is evident from the above works that the Iconography of Kerala in general is the least investigated.

Vaisnava Iconography of Kerala is an attempt to bring out a comprehensive account of Vaishnava icons of Kerala temples in stone and wood. Being the maiden attempt, the study has brought out the following original inferences which definitely will enhance the understanding, throwing more light on the Vaishnava Iconography of India in general and that of Kerala in particular.

• About 62 forms of Vaishnava sculptures were identified from Kerala.

•Of this 62 forms more than 160 varieties were noticed.

•Only about 1/4th of the different varieties were made in accordance with the ancient iconographic textual descriptions.

•Diversity in varieties of Vishnu sculptures outnumber all other forms of Vaishnava images.

•Wooden sculptures not only outdo stone sculptures in number but also in beauty and uniqueness.

•16th and 17th centuries are the golden period of image making in Kerala both in stone and wood.

•Stone sculptures of Kerala show some influences of Pallava, Chola, Vijayanagara and Nayaka traditions.

•Style of wooden Vaishnava sculptures of Kerala appears to have evolved indigenously.

•The decorative details such as kirita, griva, udarabandha, yajnopavita, bhujavali, katisutra and garments on Vaishnava sculptures have evolved from simple to complex forms.

•Stone sculptures are found more in southern most part of erstwhile Travancore (Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts) while wooden sculptures are found more in the northern most part of the erstwhile Travancore (Kottayam and Alappuzha districts).

•Bracket sculptures are observed more commonly from central to northern parts of Kerala.


Published Papers

•Preeta Nayar, 2015, Eroticism in Gopika Vastrapaharana Sculptures of Kerala, India in Art, Icon and Architecture in South Asia, Essays in honour of Devangana Desai Falicitation, Edited by Dr Anila Varghese and Anna L Dallapiccola, Aryan Books International, New Delhi

•Preeta Nayar, 2014-2015, An Appraisal of Yamalarjunabhanga Sculptures in Temples of Kerala, KALA Vol:XX, Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati.

•Preeta Nayar, 2013-2014, Diversity of Kaliyamardana Sculptures: an assessment based on their forms in Kerala, KALA Vol:XIX, Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati.

•Preeta Nayar, ,2012-2013,Sculptural Representation of Parashurama in Kerala. Jnana Pravaha No.XVI , Jnana Pravaha Centre for Cultural Studies and Research, Varanasi.

•Preeta Nayar, 2012-2013, Bakasuravadha Sculptures of Kerala , KALA Vol:XVIII, Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati. Pp.62-65.

•Preeta Nayar, 2011-2012, Sculptures of Krishna as Navaneetachora in Kerala , KALA Vol:XVII, Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati.

•Preeta Nayar, 2010-2011 Sarabhesa Sculptures and Sectarianism: An Assessment Based on the First Report of Sarabhesa Sculpture from a Visnu Temple in Kerala , KALA Vol:XVI, Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati.

•Preeta Nayar, Vaishnava Bronze Images of Kerala, The Journal of the Bihar Puravid Parishad Vols.XXI-XXII, The Bihar Puravid Parishad, Patna. pp.306-317.

•Preeta Nayar, 2010, Vamana Trivikrama Sculptures of Kerala, Recent Researches in Archaeology, History and Culture. Vol.I (Festschrift to Prof. K V Raman) Edited by P Chenna Reddy. Agam Kala Prakashan, New Delhi.

•Preeta Nayar, 2009-2010, Some rare Sculptures of Krishna from Kerala with one hitherto undescribed form, KALA Vol XV , Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati. pp.108-115.

•Preeta Nayar, 2008-2009, Hayagriva sculptures of Kerala, Jnana Pravaha , Jnana Pravaha Centre for Cultural Studies and Research, Varanasi. pp.132-137.

•Preeta Nayar, 2008-2009, A New Form of Cosmic Siva from Kerala, KALA Vol XIV , Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati. pp.86-91.

•Preeta Nayar, 2007-2008, Gajendramoksham Sculptures of Kerala, KALA Vol XIII , Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati. pp.16-20.

•Preeta Nayar, 2007, Sculptures of Kalki with two hitherto undescribed forms, Marg Vol.58 No.4, Bombay. pp. 51-55.

•Preeta Nayar, 2007, Dattatreya and Trinity Concept: A Study with special reference to Dattatreya Sculpture at Sucheendrum Temple, Erstwhile Travancore, The Journal of the Assam Research Society, Vol XXXIX Nos 1&2. Kamarupa Anusandhana Samithi, Guwahati. pp.83-88.

•Preeta Nayar, 2007, Nara-Narayana Image of Vilwadrinatha Temple, Kerala and its Significance, The Journal of the Assam Research Society, Vol XXXVIII. Nos 1&2. Kamarupa Anusandhana Samithi, Guwahati. pp.92-97.

•Preeta Nayar, 2006, Saptatalabhedana Sculptures of Kerala, Kerala Spectrum– Aspects of Cultural Inheritance. The Indo – Portuguese Cultural Institute , Cochin. pp.47-53.

•Preeta Nayar, 2006, Onavillu (Onam Bow) – A Vanishing Art form of Kerala, Proceedings of Indian Art History Congress, Lucknow Session. pp.77-83.

•Preeta Nayar, 2004-2005, A Rare Sculpture of Narayana with a critical note on its Terminology , KALA Vol XI , Indian Art History Congress ,Guwahati. pp. 43-55.

•Preeta Nayar, 2003-2004. Govardhanadhari Krishna Sculptures of Kerala, KALA Vol. X, Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati. pp.63-72.

Accepted Papers

•Preeta Nayar, Animation Technique and Depiction of Death in Sculptural Art: Ramayana Story in Shri Ramaswamy Temple in Erstwhile Travancore, Kerala. Heritage-Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala .

•Preeta Nayar, Narasimha Sculptures of Kerala: An Analysis of their Diversity, Dr Nadita Krishna edited volume of CPR Institute of Indological Research, Chennai .

•Preeta Nayar, Depiction of Vaishnava Themes on Ivory Covers of Some Manuscripts in Kerala, M L Nigam Felicitation Volume, Edited by Dr D R Gehlot and Dr Alok Tripathi

•Preeta Nayar, Indo Portuguese Coins- An Appraisal. Journal of Vasco da Gama Research Institute of Cochin, Cochin.