The Nalukettu homes of Kerala


Tradition is making a comeback amongst millennials these days. Fueled by using the want to belong and to be a part of a background there is a good sized revival of age-old customs across India. Coloured by sepia-toned recollections and a sturdy experience of nostalgia, getting ‘returned to our roots’ is in vogue, especially amongst NRIs in search of to buy residences in India.

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This heightened longing for the best vintage days has been instrumental in bringing lower back many classical architectural styles, and considered one of them is the nalukettu veedu in Kerala.


Design of Nalukettu
Nalukettu method four blocks and a typical residence built on this fashion would be divided right into a north, south, east, and west block.

The naalukettu turned into an average feature of the Kerala tharavadu culture, wherein joint households lived together for generations with a patriarch and matriarch overseeing all their affairs. At the centre of the house is a nadumuttam, that’s an open courtyard that served as the focus of interactions among the family as well as numerous household activities and festivities. The larger and wealthier households had ettukettu or, the rarer, pathinaarukettu homes featured eight and 16 blocks with and 4 courtyards respectively. All of these houses had been constructed following the principles of ancient thachu shastra or the technological know-how of carpentry and developed all through the 18th and nineteenth centuries, a time when the Nairs and Namboodiris dominated the society with their power and wealth.

These aristocratic households who prided on their lineage and the name in their tharavadu might build considerable naalukettu houses that might feature a grove with a snake mound to facilitate the popular worship of snakes, a basil leaves plant set up made of stone or brick, or even a pond for the distinctive use of the family. Naalukettus may be sprawling, absolutely built on the ground floor or can pass up to three storeys high.

Rich and tricky detail
Typically manufactured from teak wood or the timber from wild jackfruit trees, brick, and dust, these homes had advanced air flow and lighting fixtures that saved the house well lit and aerated always. A padippura is a distinguishing feature atop a naalukettu gate which include an tricky, temple-like gopuram. The front to the residence would have a verandah designed to receive site visitors. Inside, the nadumuttam is surrounded with the aid of rooms on all facets just like the ara, a special room intended to store valuables. Granaries, livestock sheds, kitchen and utility, dining halls, lavatories, bedrooms, puja rooms, wells and different reason-built spaces stuffed all of the corners of a naalukettu. Another characteristic that showcases the technical ingenuity of those complex but very thoughtful systems is the roof. Gabled windows on the pinnacle of all naalukettus ensured pass-ventilation always and let in sufficient light into the attic even as prolonged rafters gave enough protection from the heavy rains which can be function to Kerala.

A disappearing heritage
Naalukettus diminished into oblivion as socio-cultural modifications swept over Kerala. Education received prominence, and extra ladies started migrating from a existence led entirely inner sooty kitchens to the outside international of work and independence. Nuclear families advanced with ladies and men settling down anyplace paintings took them ensuing inside the cut up of the joint own family gadget. Soon, naalukettus housed most effective the elders within the circle of relatives and the protection of such large properties have become near impossible. With the call for for problematic houses dying, architects misplaced the unique talent sets required for building those traditional houses.

Today, just a few of the original naalukettus stay commonly within the shape of museums or heritage homestays.

Modern constructions now game some capabilities of the naalukettu fashion of structure just like the sloping roof, a small verandah supported by means of tall pillars, and a mini courtyard within the center. Used by no longer most effective homes however additionally restaurants, ayurvedic spas and other establishments which might be traditional to Kerala, the naalukettu design is now seeing a huge reprise. It is not uncommon to see naalukettu houses on the market in cities and real property corporations advertising low-price naalukettu homes to customers. And even though now not as superb and rambling because the older naalukettu houses, they’re a treat to the eyes.


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