Fast Facts :
Situated : Kerala, (India)
Architectural style : Tacchu Shashtra (The science of Architecture)
Popular Monuments : Krishnapuram Palace, Dutch Palace etc.
The Nalukettu is the conventional form of architecture of this state, where the shape of the house is in tetragon shape. Originally, this was the dwelling place of the rich Nair and Brahmin family. But nowdays this type of architecture has become a sign of status symbol. This is evident as you can spot this kind of architecture amongst the rich clad of Kerala. Nalukettu is the conventional type of architecture used by the upper classes where rituals and customs are a part of the daily life.
This huge residence is made using tiles and wood, wondrous architecture and middle open courtyard. The interiors are classically designed with exotic antiques that are made from mahogany, sandalwood teak etc.
The Vasthuvidya, Maushyalaya Chandrika, Silparatna and Tantrasamuchaya are some of the most celebrated writings in the genre of architecture that this state has given to the world of architecture.
The popular architecture of Kerala “Nalukettu” also has Tachu Sastra also known as the science of architecture. Some of the most popular Palaces of Kerala are The Dutch Palace, Krishnapuram Palace close to Kayamkulam, and The Padmanabhapuram Palace near Mattanchery. The woodcarvings, Metal cuttings and rock temples over here are some of the famous works of architecture in Kerala.
The evolution of the Magnificent Nalukettu :
The evolution of this structure can be dated according to the concept of the Indian science known as Vaastu Shashtra. ”Sala” known to be enshrined was a rectangular or a square living room that also had verandas on more than one side.
The Single House also called, as akashala was quite cheap also affordable by lowest and the poorest of the clan of the caste rigid. The l shaped hall made it a two structured abode also called as dwissala. Further familial need and economic advancement contributed to the third structure that had three side so the house open square was known as Thrissala. The fourth side was also added and now the shape of the structure turned in to Chatussala also known as nalu(four) Kettu means built up area.
The style :
The traditional form of this structure is made from the special woods. The floor is encarved by the slotted woods and is identical to the East Asian structure of architecture. This also known to be a thatched structure style. Nowadays the thatched roofs are replaced by the designer tiles available in the market.
The courtyard or the Ankanam is sunk and is called as Kuzhi in the south Indian Language. The projecting roofs known as the salas have turned into shady verandas and this structure protects the rooms from the harsh sunlight and also keeps the rooms clean with enriched breeze passing from here and there. There are also some inner verandah inside the house which is open. The verandah outside is structured quite efficiently as the four sides of the house have been enclosed in different styles. While the verandahs on the eastern and western sides are open, and the southern and northern sides are enclosed.
In the centre of the Salas is the storeroom or the area also has bedrooms. The height of the Ara or the storeroom was extended to accommodate Nilavara also known as the basement. The entrance of this magnificent structure is to the east, north, west and south also depending on the location of the Asra. As the families extended their strata of income and size, the structure of square or the salas was also extended to make mansions or Ettukettus. This style had eight salas and two courtyards.
The Nalukettu grew in floors too as it was extended to two or three storeyed structure and the top floors were meant for the elders in the family also called as Karanavars.
Nowadays the wooden structures have been replaced with laterite and plastered structure. The recent development is known as Pathinarukettu which means huge structure with sixteen salas.
The traditional structure of Nalukettu is still preserved and is a structure to be acknowledged also strayed by the Thatchans and also called as the well versed architect painters who are trained in the Indian science of architecture ‘Vaastu Shaashtra’. The rules of how to make this exotic structures are coded in the Manushyalaya Chandrika, written by the famous architect Mangalathiu Neelkantam Namboothiri.