Everyday, we step outside dressed to fit in; but we strive to ensure that our homes reflect our uniqueness. In a country like India, the houses are treasure troves showcasing the diversity of its people. The old houses were built – both in and out – to reflect the family’s caste, social status and means of livelihood and this old way of life is preserved at Dakshina Chitra near Mahabalipuram in the Tamil Nadu district of India. Here is a glimpse –
We reached the place by 2:30 pm – it was hot and humid. Dakshina Chitra showcases antique houses from the four states of South India – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. A museum for houses – that would be a very narrow description; it’s more than a display of life size old houses, it’s a showcase of the forgotten way of life. We start with the Kerala houses.
The Kerala pavilion has Hindu homes from Thiruvananthapuarm and Kozhikode district sand two Christian homes – from Puthupally and Koothattukulam in Kottayam district.
The recliner chair above has extended leg rests, if you noticed 😀👆.
We have a vested interest in visiting Dakshina Chitra; below is a house that belonged to my husband’s family. It belonged to his grandfather’s brother. The family moved to a new home and the old house was dismantled and reconstructed at Dakshina Chitra. Hubs only has a vague memory of the house, but everyone in the family talks about it and we got to see it finally👇.
A Syrian Christian house – this home from Koothatukulam is different from the previous one – the arched verandah reflects British influence.
From the Tamil Nadu district, there are two homes – first a Chettinad House from the Pudukottai district. The Chettiars were a prosperous community of bankers and traders.
The second house from Tamil Nadu is the Agraharam Brahmin House. The agraharams have rows of houses on either sides of the road and a temple to the village god at the centre. The brahmins lived here. You will be surprised at how low the doorway and ceilings are !!
I got a wall hanging and framed it up….looks very pretty 😘👇
You have to take a pause and quench your thirst from the heat. The perfect antidote is the refreshing cold sweet Goli soda – a lemon carbonated drink that you must try, the name is derived from the goli (marble) in neck of the bottle.
Next, we went to see the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh pavilions. This beautiful yellow house stands out – a Muslim house from the Chikmagalur district in Karnataka. Chikmagalur’s claim to fame was the fact that after Congress party lost the general elections for the first time in 1977, Indira Gandhi contested and won from Chikmagalur in a by-election the following year.
Chikmagalur is a hill station in Karnataka known for coffee plantations. The house below was built in 1914 by a Muslim family who owned a large general store in the local village and a five acres of coffee plantations; however it remained empty for over 20 years. The dilapidated structure was restored and reassembled in Dakshina Chitra.
A second home typical to Karnataka – a weaver’s home in north of Karnataka from the Bagalkote district. The Ilkal sari named after the Ilkal town in Bagalkot district is famous and marked by the alternating red and white stripes on the pallu – signifying the colours of their deities – male (white) and female (red).
Last to the Andhra Pradesh houses 👇
Last was a mud house built by the fishermen in the cyclone prone coastal area called Yelamanchili in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. These homes are called Chuttilu houses – circular in shape with mud walls and palmyra thatched roof, nestled close to one another to form clusters. The roof comes all the way to the ground and getting in to the house is an effort; inside is pleasantly cool.
If you are visiting either Chennai or the nearby historic Mahabalipuram town, a half day visit to Dakshina Chitra is a worthwhile expedition. But the heat is tiring 🌞. We stopped here while on a visit to Mahabalipuram from Pondicherry; here’s the itinerary – Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by road …🚙💨 the Itinerary
Till next post, take care !!