Hindu House

Mankavu, Calicut, Kerala


This two storey house built of laterite and timber is representative of many early 20th century middle class homes throughout the central and northern part of Kerala. This house belonged to a Menon family, one of the many traditionally matrilineal Hindu communities of Kerala. The owners of this house earlier had ten acres of agricultural land which was sold.

Central and northern Kerala have vast deposits of laterite, a clay and pebble substance which is cut into blocks for building and hardens on oxidation. It is the chief building material in this area and, along with wood, is used for two storey homes.

The houses in north Kerala are characterized by the many small rooms, affording a modicum of privacy to couples within the joint family. The typical Hindu family at that time was an extended family often comprising three to four generations within the same house- even when the house was relatively small.