MY JOURNEY INTO TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE
My Journey Into Traditional Architecture 1984-85, Anakkara Vadakkath.
When I used to work with Sri Laurie Baker, I used to take time off and visit many old buildings. I had traveled the length and breadth of Kerala looking at many traditional houses. These visits were made because of my interest in vernacular architecture and were not part of a course or research. I had also accompanied Dr.Deborah Thiagarajan who was in the process of setting up Dakshinachitra and then Mr.Dashrath Patel who was the former Director of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad during their visits. The two photos attached are the famous house of Anakkara Vadakkath in Palakkad District, which gave birth to Mrs.Ammu Swaminathan (freedom fighter), A V Kuttimaluamma (freedom fighter and Kozhippurathu Madhava Menon's wife), Captain Lakshmi, Mrs.Mrinalinee Sarabhai, and many others. I stayed in this house twice during my trips. Mrs.Susheela, herself a freedom fighter was the lone member living in the house and she had shifted from Chennai around that time.
My Journey Into Traditional Architecture 1984-85, Poomulli Mana.
I am attaching the photographs of the Poomulli Mana which were taken 30 years ago. But unfortunately, the major parts of the old Mana were demolished in the early 1990s. Although the decision to demolish the main building was taken early in 1988, the then cultural minister Sri T K Ramakrishnan had issued a stay on the demolition. I have visited this mana many times and used to meet Mr.Raman Namboothiripad who was the head of the household. He used to sit in the front verandah and talk about various things about the history of the family and the house etc. He was one of the disciples of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatha Iyer too. He used to tell that within a mile radius of the mana, the crafts and arts have thrived. After his death, his son Sri Vasudevan Namboothiripad became the head of the household. Along with PT Kunju Mohammed, film director and former MLA and Rubin D'Cruz, I visited the house just before the demolition. There were only five members living in the house. This was one of the large houses in Kerala at that time. The entrance hall (poomukhom) and the large open hall in front were big enough to hold at least 200 people. There were four dining halls that could feed up to 500 people at a time. The door to the store in the west wing of the Ettukettu is attached. The pathayappura or the granary could store up to 300,000 kg of paddy. Sri Ramaswamy Temple at the entrance to the old Mana still survives in its original condition. An ayurvedic centre is functioning in some of the outhouses of the Mana now.