As we drove from Kochi to Munnar we passed many churches. About a fifth of Kerala’s population is Christian. Several had a niche with a little statue of St. George killing the dragon. When I paused to look carefully, I realized that you could take this horse and rider out of these niches, and substitute them into any Indian story without changing the details even a little bit. This particular dragon has a short neck, and looks like a winged crocodile, so it too could be put into any Indian collection of beasts. This particular example comes from the church in Muthuvaankudi in Idukki district.
St. George is believed to have been a historical figure in Lebanon. His arrival to India probably is contemporary to his arrival in Europe. A statue of his in Kochi was recorded more than 1400 years ago. The evolution of the iconography of St. George in India probably had no direct influence from Europe until the 17th century.
One knows that trade brought coffee and religion to Kerala. Curious stories from the incredible history of the spice coast continue to emerge, and leave you hoping for more.