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Old 28th August 2010, 13:14   #46
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oh... my... god...

I dream of houses like this!

I did see, back in July, one available 100-year house in Kerala, not a real nalukukattu, but an L shape, and not nearly so grand, but there was a lot of teak at the front of the house and all the doors and windows. What's more, it had obviously been neglected for a long time, but still the woodwork was surviving well*. Did not see the inside, but I suspect a rebuild would have been necessary. Anyway, we didn't even get as far as discovering the price, as we are are too old for access by boat only.



*I once knew a carpenter who had a piece of teak he was saving for his grave stone.
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Old 28th August 2010, 15:04   #47
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Samurai, your pictures sure gave me some nostalgia....
I remember the house of my uncle in Trivandrum with split level.
If I am not mistaken, there a couple of porcelain jars in one of the pictures, used to store pickles.
(Those days, pickles - especially salted ones - were stored in jars like these and their mouths covered with a cloth. Similar ones were used for churning yoghurt (dahi) so as to remove the butter.)
These houses had an aroma of wood smoke clinging to them.. out of the kitchen fire and the ones in the bathroom used to heat water for bathing.
Glad that you have the pictures now - which can be saved for the future generations to look and wonder!
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Old 28th August 2010, 19:57   #48
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Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
If I am not mistaken, there a couple of porcelain jars in one of the pictures, used to store pickles.
(Those days, pickles - especially salted ones - were stored in jars like these and their mouths covered with a cloth. Similar ones were used for churning yoghurt (dahi) so as to remove the butter.)
It is called a Bharani in Tulu. I used to be part of that pickle making process, the part where we pick raw (non-ripe) mangoes from the tree. But we kids were not trusted when the mangoes are kept in the brine (salt water). That's when we steal it to eat the yummy salty mango slices. Ah! my mouth is watering as I think about it.
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Old 28th August 2010, 20:47   #49
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It is a "bharani" in Kerala too.

I do not have the patience to go through all those pics again, but I guess we are refering to porcelain "bharani"s. They had a whitish body and sort of brown / greenish top.

We used to have one to store salt. And travelling gypsies used to come and camp at some place with those even 10 years back. They are a rarity nowadays.

These were cylindrical in shape.

The bigger ones - 5 Kg and more capacity are certainly a rarity; but not a collector's item.

There were another kind of "bharani"s - made of clay and lacquered. These were used at houses of "vaidyan"s - medical practitioners - to ferment and store medical brews. These were very narrow at bottom and wide at top; but had very small openings. Really a challenge to gravity.

And yes, I will try if I can gather enough karma to visit the heritage village. How far is it from Manipal? Which direction?
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Old 28th August 2010, 21:18   #50
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And yes, I will try if I can gather enough karma to visit the heritage village. How far is it from Manipal? Which direction?
It is in the very heart of Manipal. Good luck getting in, I have not managed it until now.

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Old 29th August 2010, 13:51   #51
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Vow, the woodwork in the houses posted here are awesome. I too remember few houses from my childhood, which had such exquisite carpentry work. But most of them have been demolished. Posting some two much humbler examples

The below snap is the house where my dad spent the latter part of his younger days. The pillars were changed to concrete ones fairly recently from the earlier wood pillars.

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I will try to take the snaps of the heavy doors the next time I visit. I remember the earlier house, which was a much bigger example of the same with some intricate art work on the doors and windows

The next is my dad's cousin's house. The photo was taken when there was a wedding in the more modern house further down and this house was used more as a store house and hence the plantain leaves in the verandah

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Another feature of these houses was that most of them had a puja muri (room) which was more or less like a temple in itself. In the first house it is in the near corner and in the second house, only the basement is remaining now. The temples could be a subrahmanya kshetram to a guligan or kuttichathan thara (mini temples dedictated to local deities)

Recently, inspired by Bigzero's visit report, had visited Nilambur. There is a huge Nilambur Kovilakam there, which is spread over nearly 2 acres of land, housing separate sevaral individual nalukettus inside, and also a huge temple. Iam attaching the photo of a padippura (entrance gate) and the temple.

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Since the houses (some moderinsed) are still being used by the members of the descendants, I thought it was not appropriate to take photos even from outside

Vow, this makes my first proper contribution to T-bhp!!
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Old 30th August 2010, 02:56   #52
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Wow - beautiful pictures - I love old houses. I will post snaps of my ancestral house when I'm back in India and in Kerala. The house used to be a Nalukettu and is said to be at least 350 years old. It was last renovated in 1910 (the date is inscribed in the living room). It was a Namoodiri Illam before it was given to my family by the rajah of the place.

For those BHP'ans living in Chennai, a very nice place to visit if you like old houses is Dakshinchitra DakshinaChitra Homepage where they have managed to bring in and built old houses from all over South India. Well worth a visit.
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Old 9th March 2011, 18:48   #53
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Finally it is time to present my maternal grandparents home. This is the house I spent my toddler years until I was ready for kindergarten. I spent practically every summer vacation here until I started working. This used to be a very vibrant farm house with multiple farm labourers working whole day doing the upkeep. Every part of this farm house used to be functional until early 90s, after that it has gone into disrepair. My maternal uncle and aunt still live in the house, but labour shortage has made upkeep of the house practically impossible.

I have used a pretty wide lens to get the maximum coverage of the house. Therefore, some wide angle distortion is visible is most pics. Do overlook it. Youíll also notice significant noise in some dark pics.

Letís start with the street. This road was the original highway between Mangalore and Udupi, can you believe it? Then you had to get down at the river and catch the boat. Once the bridge was built, NH-17 took over the burden of the traffic. Now this is known as the Para Marga (old road).

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The entrance to the house.

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The front view.

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As the dates indicate, the house construction started 19-08-38 and house warming was conducted on 24-05-1939. My grandpa had a sense of history, he always put dates prominently at each milestone. This was considered a very modern house during those days. People from all over district used to visit to have a look.

IIRC, the white grills around the veranda are handmade wooden rods. They are very strong and have withstood all kind of abuse from kids (toddlers to teenagers) of 3 generations. We used to hang from it and go around the veranda.

The view from the front door. That is my uncle and aunt who live in the house. My uncle is an eternal tinkerer, every Sunday he tinkers with some mechanical thing, usually his lamby scooter.

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In the early days the DDT dispensing was a serious business. They used to write the spraying date on the house wall prominently. I guess that rule went away after 1959.

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The active side of the house. What I mean is, most of the farming related activities used to happen on this side of the house, where there is a wide yard.

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The chicken coop, it is not active for the last decade I think. The doors are all gone.

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The platform above the chicken coop used to be a huge junk pile often storing items as old as the house. We use to joke that the dust on those items were older than most of us. Now I see it is mostly cleaned up.

Alright, now letís get into the house. Youíll see that most part of the house is illuminated by skylight though the tiled roof.

This is the front drawing room or veranda, also known as Chavadi. Notice the skylight.

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What you see here is the corner of the Chavadi, which ends with a heightened cement cot. Although it looks soild, it hides a storage space that is only accessible from a private room.

Ancient Homes of India-p2270593.jpg

Such hidden storage places were common in the early days. During the Bengal famine of 1943, there was severe shortage of rice in the country. The British government imposed rice rationing on all agriculture families. That means government officials used to visit each farm house, count the family members and decide how much rice is needed for their consumption. And they used take away all the so called excess rice from the household. This was a very unfair rule, and let me tell you why.

Rice in those days was not just for personal consumption. Even big farm houses then were not cash rich. The rice was used for feeding all the farmhands every day, who may out-number the family members. Rice was used as payment for farm workers. Rice was used for bartering of many items like vegetable or even to buy fresh fish. Rice was used by rice producing farm houses like it was money. Government taking away rice was equivalent to robbery. Therefore, most farm houses used to hide their rice in these hidden stores to fool the government inspectors.

Letís look at doors. Most of them are either 2 or 4 piece doors. The modern one piece doors were unheard of then.

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The locking mechanism behind the doors was mostly like this.

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This house has had an unbroken tradition of daily Bhajane (Bhajan), first it was my grandpa, now it is my uncle. At least 8-10 devotional songs are sung in this 15-20 minute nightly ritual, dinner is served only after that. All male family members are supposed to take part compulsorily, even visiting male relatives. Only exceptions are guys who got married into the family. I have done my part whenever I used to stay here.

The tools of Bhajane.

Ancient Homes of India-p2270661.jpg

This conch (Shanka) is much older than me, and is used every day to start and end the Bhajane.

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This is called Tala in local lingo, I donít remember the English word. Yes, this broke somewhere in the 70s. My uncle still uses this one since he likes the sound it generates.

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This is the dining hall. The wooden rods on the top were used to hang Mangalore cucumbers until they were ready to cook. Notice the brass utilities of the early days on the far wall.

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To be continuedÖ
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Old 9th March 2011, 20:20   #54
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Letís get into the kitchen now. The way to the kitchen is through the kitchen storeroom. However, with the advent of gas stove, the kitchen storeroom has become the new kitchen. The kitchen doesnít have any raised platform.

Ancient Homes of India-p2270602.jpg

The large watertight wooden storage trunk (Kalembi in Tulu), keeps ingredients safe from rodents and pests. When I was two I hit my head hard at the edge of this trunk, I still have the mark on my forehead.

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The old kitchen.

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Lit by skylight. The attic also serves as storage.

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The ancient grinding stone.

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The way to the attic is via collapsible ladder.

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The taps and plumbing you see in the building were introduced in the 70s. The house didnít have plumbing before that.

From the dining hall, we have to get down to the business end of the farm house.

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This is known as the Kottya, donít ask me the English word for this. Here is where all the indoor activities of the farm used to take place. Now there is lot of junk stored here, but it should be easy to imagine this room without all the stuff on the left and the firewood on the right. As this was an activity center, this was hardly used for storage.

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If we go to the extreme right, we can see the cattle stall or stable. Notice the feeding trough in front of each stall. The cattle stable has now reduced to another storage area.

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The area above the cattle stable was for hay/feed storage, now stores firewood.

These inverted conical holes on the ground were used for pounding the rice, to separate the husk from the rice grain. Once rice mills came around, this went into disuse. Now it is filled with coconuts to avoid people from accidently stepping in.

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Checkout the ancient power switches and power outlets.

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The Kottya is again illuminated by skylight.

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Here is something interesting. This used to belong to my parents. This is a cooking range. Two individual kerosene stoves used to be placed in the upper chamber, and the cooking utensils were placed where you see those two large earthen drums. To control the fire, one had to lower the upper chamber door. The lower chamber is for storage. Once we bought a dual gas stove in 1975, this cooking range became obsolete and was discarded to this house.

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Farm implements hanging from the walls.

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This is a typical or the most used farm implement in this area, we call it Kottu.

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Ah, the old mobile diesel irrigation pump, have done enough adventure taking it around. There is a dolly next to it.

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A very old cycle. I used to ride it 30 years back. Notice the old style dynamo and lock.

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The sweet water well. As a teenage, I used to draw water using the rope/pully and drink directly from the vessel.

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This irrigation well is actually older than the house. It used to have a manual irrigation system called Yetha. That system required 4 people, usually one strong man, and 3 women. The man used to lower a huge (100 litre) shallow bucket into the well, and then 3 women on the other end of the rope (attached to a wooden bar) used to jump into a ditch. That counterweight system used to bring up the shallow bucket, and the man used to tilt the bucket into a channel. The women used to climb up the ditch using side steps as the bucket is lowered again. My mother and her brothers often used to take over the function of the diving women.

All that changed in 1957 as electric power came to the village.

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The irrigation system was changed to electric pump driven system, with a pump house to boot.

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Here is a funny fact. The electricity came only to the pump first. They had to wait lot longer (may be a year) before electricity was delivered to the house. Until then, my mother who was a crazy book reader like me, used to slink away and read books at twilight in the pump house light. Her mother never approved of wasting lamp oil for reading novels.

Finally the bathroom from the past. Yes, it uses firewood even now. Lit using skylight as usual.

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Thatís all folks. I havenít really covered the whole house, especially the first floor. Those rooms, including the official storeroom is full of dust and cob web. They are in total disuse and disrepair. I hope I have given you all a rare glimpse into a farm house from the past.
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Old 9th March 2011, 20:31   #55
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Hey, yet another Kerala look alike house. Even the name "Chavadi" is used here.

And we have names like "thekkeni" and "vadakkini" for southern and northern rooms, which were used for specific purposes. And a "kolayi" was there. I am not very sure of purpose for which each room was used - I have not lived in such houses.

And in Konkani, we had rooms named "maidar" and "phidar". Former was the ante room near the kitchen where the ladies spent their not-sleeping, not-cooking time. And "phidar" was the front room just inside the veranda, obviously where the males spent the time.

I am a bit confused about the term you use - "farm house". Was there a separate structure apart from the main house? And what was the colloquial name for it?

The "storage room" was called "ara" here. (अऱा - using devanagari so that you can read - it is actually a Malayalam word). This was separate from the "pathayam" (पात्तायं), the room with wooden sides, wall and flooring where rice was stored. The former was hidden, latter was not.

Again, the "bhajan" culture was / is very common in almost all houses in KL, irrespective of community. If it is not practised, it is only because the family is not a joint family.
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Old 9th March 2011, 20:44   #56
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Hey, yet another Kerala look alike house. Even the name "Chavadi" is used here.
Actually it is Tulunadu style house. Considering Tulunadu and Kerala are neighbors, there are lots of similarities.
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Old 9th March 2011, 20:58   #57
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wow Samurai some great shots there! reminds me so much of my grand fathers house.
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Old 9th March 2011, 22:01   #58
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@Samurai : Great thread,Excellent snaps. It brought back fond memories of TuluNadu. Our ancestral house was in Panambur. Unfortunately our family had to relocate in the 60's as the Mangalore port was being built . There are just couple of paintings which depicted our ancestral house and the snaps you put reminded me of it.
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Old 10th March 2011, 08:55   #59
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I am a bit confused about the term you use - "farm house". Was there a separate structure apart from the main house? And what was the colloquial name for it?
Well, it is a house surrounded by farms. And about 25% of the house is designed for indoor farm activities like dehusking, par-boiling, cattle-rearing, rice-storage, etc.
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Old 10th March 2011, 13:59   #60
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Awesome houses & pics. So much warmth reflects from these old walls.
Here is a first entrant from Punjab. This house was built around 1940's & the owner has decided to maintain it as close as possible to the original. The brown walls & flooring are plastered with mixture of Clay, Mud, husk & cowdung. When freshly applied it has very sweet smell (must be due to husk) This mixture keeps house cool in summers & warm in winters.
The windows have been garishly hand painted. Regret I have only one pic.
Ancient Homes of India-punjabi_home.jpg

Raab Rakha.

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