The Aristocratic Heritage Home at Ullyeri

Apr 01, 2013 to Jun 30, 2013 | Vol. 5, Issue 1 & 2
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Bapatta illam at Kakkanchery, near Ullyeri in Kozhikode district is an Ettu Kettu, the traditional structure with two centre courtyards. This is a fine example of the remarkable tradition of architectural heritage of Kerala (India). 

Kerala has a remarkable tradition of architectural heritage based on the traditional architectural science of India, the Vasthu Sasthra. Due to the changing life style and the inherent difficulties to maintain traditional structures, many of the traditional structures are vanishing day by day.  Even then, some of them are still preserved in its ancient glory. One such heritage home is Bappatta Illam at Kakkanchery, near Ullyeri in Kozhikode district. Illam or Mana is the home of Nambutiris, the Bhrahmin community.

Bapatta illam is an Ettu Kettu, the traditional structure with two centre courtyards. The carpeted area is 5 cents (2150 sq ft], constructed using locally available laterite stones, wooden roof structures and a tiled roof. In the main block, the centre courtyard is about 400sqft. The rooms in the Padinjhatta, the west of the courtyard is dedicated to the family deity Goddess Durga and Lord Kuttychathan.  Many other gods are worshipped in the Vadakkini, the room north of the Courtyard.  This room is exclusively used for performing the daily rituals that are assigned for a Bhahmin community.  To the north of Vadakkini is another complex with a centre courtyard. This courtyard is smaller.  On one side of this courtyard is the Kitchen with a well. The rooms surrounding this courtyard are used by the ladies of the family. 

Both Thekkini (south block) and Padinjhatta two floors with an attic. They are respectively known as Thekkini Malika and Padinjhatta malika. Rooms in the Thekkini Malika were used for other Nambuthiri guests. The staircase to this area is from outside.

It is said that the main block of the building is about 300 yrs old and the smaller courtyard complex, known as Vadakke Kettu was constructed later and is about 120 years old.

About 3000 sq ft area in the compound is maintained as Nagakkavu, the sacred grove for Snake gods.  This area is full of trees, plants and creepers with symbolic idols of Snake gods.  There are two ponds in the compound. The one near the Nagakkavu is in a dilapídated  condition, but the other one is well structured. Earlier, two more buildings- gate way (Padippura)and a  granary complex (Pathayappura)  used to be there in the compound.

Sajeesh and his mother Sarojini Antharjanam are the present inmates and owners of the illam. Sajeesh is now working with a local news channel. His father expired 2 years ago, at the age of 70. According to Sajeesh, the original name of the family and the home was Mayanchery Illam and was situated half a kilometre away from the present one . Later when his home was constructed, it was  then known by that particular land's name which is Bappatta.

Location/access:  Situated at Kakkancherry, near Ullyeri, about 24km north-east of Kozhikode town, Kerala (India). From Ullyeri, Bappatta Illam is about 3km and can be accessible via Mundoth Palli Bus stop on Ullyeri-Koyilandi Road. Koyilandi to Mundoth Palli is 7km. 

(For visit, prior permission is recommended)

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