The Tharavadu, a joint family abode, was originally unique to the Nairs and the Thiyars from Kerala. Later, others like Namboothiris, Christians and Muslims also started referring to their ancestral homes as Tharavadus.
Located in Kalliasseri in Kerala’s Kannur district, the Erumbala Tharavadu, with history spanning more than a 100 years, has been a constant source of fascination and awe for me over the years. The sight of this introverted giant standing tall on moonlit nights has fed my childhood nightmares on more occasions than one. Only recently, probably in the last decade or so, have I realized the importance of respecting this as an amazing piece of tangible history. Belonging to the Erumbala lineage, I have taken it upon myself to document this and if and when possible help to conserve it.
What is equally fascinating is the fact that the open space around the structure have also not been tampered with in the name of development. The space plays home to snakes (including cobras), insects, birds, fruit bats, mongooses and foxes. Snakes have always played an important role in the lives of people from this region. Every Tharavadu has its own Kaavu (Snake grove), the home of the snake deity, which is even today considered to be a holy space and remains undisturbed.
This post is an attempt at documenting this magnificent structure through photographs.
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