My mother’s house, Konduparambil, and my home, Thekkanattu Parayil, are both nalukettu. Five other Parayil heritage homes (100+ years) which I know well from childhood are ettukettu. All these buildings are east facing. In our ettukettu houses the smaller of the two quadrangles is located at about the centre of the building and the larger one in the north, near the kitchen.
The construction of Thekkanattu which is the smallest among the Parayil heritage mansions started in 1890. It blends the traditional architectural style and the concepts of the modern house designs that were to follow in 20c. Here also the nalukettu is located at the north end – the single-storied area in the photo below:
Now, about the inside layout. There are two broad, well-ventilated verandas on the western and eastern sides of our nalukettu and two narrower ones connecting them. The eastern veranda which is near the kitchen is not used much by the family.
The western veranda gets good breeze that blows in from the lake 500 yards away, and, with wood ceiling and tile roofing, is always cool. That was the living area where the ladies and children spent most of their time. When we bought a TV set, it was kept in the nalukettu and not in the drawing room.
Interestingly, the men did not use this part of the building. Likewise, the women did not normally go to the southern portion of the house. That was the way it was till my generation.
Here are two photos of our nalukettu:
Having a nalukettu in a new house is fine provided it is functional and blends with the ambiance. The Parayil mansion shown below, which was built in 1940s, has a comfortable and practical nalukettu
A good example of adaptation of nalukettu in non-residential construction is the canteen at the Centre for Development Studies,
, designed by Laurie Baker. Trivandrum
Kerala architecture: More on nalukettu
Kerala Architecture: Exterior of a heritage home
Kerala Architecture: Prayer room of a heritage home