About Tharavad

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About Tharavad

Kandath Tharavad the ancestral home of the Kandath family is set in the lush rice paddies of rural Kerala in South India. The house is a two hundred year – old gem of domestic architecture constructed primarily of mud and teak.The house was built in 1794 by Bhagwaldas’s Great Great Grandfather,Mr. Kuppavelan, a landowner and money – lender.


Situated in Thenkurussi Village in Palakkad, the nearest town, an equidistant two-hour drive from Cochin airport to the West or Coimbatore to the East. Five generations have lived here, as evidenced by the five ancestral stools in the Puja Room.


The Most striking feature of the house is the frontal raised area (“Purathalum”) with grand bulbous pillars fashioned in teak at each corner rising to glorious carvings of elephants, snakes, fish and dragons. The floor is covered in natural dyed tiles of ochre, terracotta and blue. It was here until Bhagwaldas’s Grandfather died in the seventies that the serious business of money – lending took place – most of it tiding the locals over between rice-crops.


No more than twenty feet away from the front purathalam where the men would congregate is another raised area at the rear of the house for the ladies to gather. It was acoustically contrived that no word spoken by the women could be heard by the men and vice-versa.The two areas are diagonally separated by a reception chamber in which there is a “Nadumuttam” or open area in the center.


You can stand under this and see the stars. It is created by four roofs (now tiled but once palm thatched) descending into the room to shoulder height allowing monsoon rains to plash into a central sunken area below. Kandath Tharavad is an Ettukettu (Ettu-eight: Kettu- Block) structure having not one but two such areas, Built according to the principles of Vaasthu Shastra ( ancient science of architecture).


The principal sunken area is where a goat is still slaughtered annually on Ancestor Day and its meat offered to the forbears in the Puja Room before family and friends make their feast. All doors in the house are low, narrow and stepped, constructed with teak hooped with brass. The theory is that whoever the visitor, any entry to the house was impossible without them according respect in the form of a low bow. The bedrooms have ensuite facilities. But the whole emphasis of the house is on its cool and airy public areas.