Traditional Home Design Kerala: The Charm and Warmth of Keralan Architecture
Kerala, also known as ‘God’s Own Country’, is a state located in the southern part of India, bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east. Kerala is known for its lush greenery, coconut trees, and most importantly, its unique culture and architecture. In this article, we will explore the traditional home design of Kerala and the cultural significance behind it.
History of Keralan Architecture
Keralan architecture has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The earliest forms of Keralan architecture can be traced back to the megalithic era, which existed more than 2,500 years ago. The architecture of Kerala was heavily influenced by the Dravidian and Vedic styles, which were brought to the region by the Aryan invaders around 1,500 BC.
Over time, the architecture of Kerala evolved to become a unique style that combined indigenous elements with Islamic, Dutch, and Portuguese influences. This style of architecture is characterized by its intricate woodcarvings, vibrant colors, and ornate designs.
Features of Traditional Keralan Homes
The traditional homes of Kerala are known for their unique and distinct style. The homes are typically made of wood, with sloping roofs that are covered with clay tiles. The roof is designed in such a way that it allows rainwater to flow down easily, keeping the house dry and cool.
One of the most prominent features of traditional Keralan homes is the 'thulsi thara', a small platform in front of the main door where a holy basil plant is kept. The holy basil plant is considered to bring good luck and prosperity to the home.
The homes also have a 'nalukettu' or inner courtyard, which is a feature common to most Kerala homes. The courtyard serves as a central point of the house and is used for various purposes, including family gatherings, festivals, and ceremonies.
The interior of the homes is adorned with intricate woodcarvings and brass lamps. The furniture is typically made of wood and is designed with simple yet elegant patterns. The walls are adorned with murals and paintings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and local folklore.
Types of Traditional Keralan Homes
Traditional Keralan homes can be broadly classified into three types based on their design and construction:
The Nalukettu is a traditional Keralan home that features a central courtyard surrounded by a four-sided structure. The house is typically built with wood and features sloping roofs covered with clay tiles. The Nalukettu is designed in such a way that it allows for natural ventilation throughout the house, keeping it cool and comfortable.
The Nalukettu is considered to be a symbol of cultural heritage and is often associated with the aristocratic class of Kerala.
The Ettukettu is another traditional Keralan home that features a central courtyard, but with an eight-sided structure surrounding it. The house is typically built with wood and features a sloping roof covered with clay tiles. The Ettukettu is considered to be a symbol of wealth and prosperity and was often a house of the elite.
The Padippura is a traditional Keralan house that features a small roofed structure at the entrance of the main house. The structure is typically made of wood and features intricate woodcarvings and designs. The Padippura is considered to be a symbol of welcome and hospitality.
The traditional homes of Kerala are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region. The homes are not only beautifully designed but also built to withstand the harsh weather conditions prevalent in the region. The intricate woodcarvings and designs are a reflection of the artistry and creativity of the people of Kerala.
The traditional homes of Kerala stand as a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the people of Kerala. They continue to inspire architects, designers, and homeowners to this day.