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Friday, January 7, 2011

Photographs of houses and huts from Dakshinachitra in South India

Dakshinachitra is a Heritage village at Muttukadu on the new Mamallapuram coastal road, barely half an hour's drive from Chennai. This model village creates an authentic atmosphere of the lifestyle of the diverse regions of  South India. Besides traditional huts and houses, Dakshinachitra also boasts of craftsmen who display their wares. Folk artists perform for the benefit of tourists. Good place for those interested in the culture and heritage of South India.

Here are a few photographs of the replicas of the huts and traditional houses of yore. The first picture is a depiction of a house with a courtyard in the centre, and a spacious porch outside of the house. The way the house is designed, it will keep cool in summer. This style of architecture was common in the olden times in India. Note the small Rangoli design at the entrance, which is traditionally a welcome to the deities. A close look at the board outside the doorway will give a clue to the exact region the house belongs to. To my reading it is Chettinad House, from Kerala in South India.

traditional house of South India

This is a depiction of the same house with a closer look at the courtyard paved with red tiles. Photographs of Goddesses are seen on the ceiling at the entrance to the courtyard. In those days Indians invariably lived in large joint families and a courtyard was ideal for the community living, particularly for the women of the house. It also provided sufficient light to all the rooms of the house, important when there was no electricity. Wood and stone is used freely.
traditional courtyard in house

The picture below is a re-creation of a traditional house from the south of India, and it's called Ambur House". Here too you will see a fairly large outdoor porch. It is probably from Tamil Nadu although am not sure as the script is unfamiliar to me.

exterior of traditional home in South India

The photograph below is a representation of the same dwelling. You can see the small indoor porch before one enters the main rooms of the house. Framed family photographs adorn the walls. This is again a traditional practice. Note the wooden doors.
traditional model hut from South India

The picture below shows a replica of a thatched hut from South India. Poorer people naturally had smaller houses without tiles. The grinding stone shown on the porch is a must in many Indian homes even today. Chutneys and masalas, some say, taste better when ground this way.
thatched hut from south india

Related viewing: Sketches of the traditional Indian houses as depicted in the above pictures:  Sketches of traditional Indian houses or Middle class kitchens of rural India
Or Sketches and drawings of thatched huts or  Huts in an Indian village or Photos of thatched huts from the Chennai area
Or check out some pictures of an Ancient Narsimha Temple in Pune in Maharashtra, India.

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