Hindu House

Trivandrum, Kerala


This small middle class house from South Kerala belonged to an agricultural Hindu family of Nairs, a popular matrilineal Hindu caste. The house is representative of houses in southern Kerala, where the building material was primarily timber. The manner of joinery and wood used (jackfruit wood and palmyra) was standard in southern Kerala for both the rich and middle class. The carved detailing on the cross boards of this house is of the highest quality.

In Kerala, craftsmanship and materials used were the same for the well-to-do and the middle class. More affluent families would have added one or even two courtyards in the middle of their wooden structure. For other activities they would expand by building separate buildings- a small shrine, a cowshed, an entrance gateway with storage and a small granary. If they were very well to do they may have built a separate guest house. Most traditional houses in Kerala do not have a courtyard.