Tamil Brahmins
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    sraghu65's Avatar
    sraghu65 is offline Amateur
    Points: 2,398, Level: 5
    Level completed: 84%, Points required for next Level: 152
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    1 year registeredTagger Second Class1000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Chennai
    Posts
    21
    Points
    2,398
    Level
    5
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Traditional agraharam style house -- Guidance requested

    Namaskaram to all. I have been nursing this desire for the past many years to construct a 100% traditional, Agraharam style house (in Tanjavur/Tiruvaroor district), using architecture, design, elevation and methods used traditionally. I have scoured the web, but find not much information on these online. People I have spoken to, including architects, do not seem to have a comprehensive knowledge of these, either. Could anybody pls. guide me towards appropriate sources? Thank you very much.
  2. #2
    chims is offline Amateur
    Points: 3,688, Level: 7
    Level completed: 3%, Points required for next Level: 1,262
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    1000 Experience PointsVeteran
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    chennai
    Posts
    23
    Points
    3,688
    Level
    7
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Agraharam Type House

    Though i am not a professional architect/civil engineer, i wish to reply simply because I too love one such house. It is my dream. I have constructed in my imagination based on my few visits to Tanjavur/kumbakonam areas ; With a few green memory and imagination for a modern construction I wish to offer a few suggestion.

    1. Agraharam type house is street house and not a farm house. :
    Meaning that when swamy/perumal of local kovil takes a procession, we stand in front of the house to receive with upachara /kalanji to the deity.
    The house front street area is well laid with a big Kolam.Whenever swamy arrives, the house front has big kolam .( To spread water for kolam, a tap head is essential in the front )

    2. The houses are known as 4-kattu/ 5 kattu and so on.
    The 1st kattu has got 2 portions. 1 open to sky and second is covered to take care from Rain and hot sun.
    The first kattu has got Thinnai on 2 /3 sides and beneath the thinnai, place for keeping things.A small portion may be co vered with thatched to keep cool.
    The second portion of 1st kattu has got the Traditional Thinnai ( popularly called Mappilai Thinnai ).This thinnai is divided with a passage for entry to the house.( To add modernity you can have Fans for the Thinnai area)

    3. 2nd kattu got the passage to the main house along with one small rest thinnai , the are called Alodi. ( Fan& Light to be provided) This thinnai generally used in case Rain and to provide warm place. Generally occupied by elders(Popularly known as Rezhi - slang is that rezhi le ezhuththu pottachchu)

    4. The thinnais extended area in the house has got rooms to suit the requirements.

    . Then the 3rd kattu is Miththam -open area facing the Gate and rear side gate. Adjacent to miththam, hall is suit the decor of the occupant( depending upon the status this area can be decorated with antique furnitures)

    5. The 4th kattu contains Kitchen, grocerry store point,paththayam, and godown for farm and other implements to store.

    6. The 5th kattu is earmarked for bath, Toilet( though toilets are not kept inside the house- kept far away from the main building) and a small thinnai - pin kattu thinnai . (Generally used by ladies to take rest during the cycle )

    7. The 6th kattu is open yard - kitchen garden area with a well and a few multi purpose rooms

    8. This yard has many coconut trees, plantain trees, and other chedies(plants) and trees to the like of the owner.

    9. on a visit to thiruvaiyar area , I came across,house in which Kitchen has got an attached bathroom. The kitchen has got a well in extended area with a passsage for maids to enter and wash utensils and do core jobs. This well has got an extended room meant for ladies use.

    10. The first kattu thinnai / or the alody can be readjusted to accommodate visitors to sit and the adjoining room as drawing room ( village head man/ advocate receiving clients etc)- a nice way of receiving guests without hinderence to the main house. The house owner can enter the drawing room from inside .

    11. Wherever the rooms are dark, are provided with a transparent glass placed on the top with odu,to receive light for the area.

    12. In some houses they have madi- one floor constructed above the rooms.
    13. In Some master bedrooms , they have aesthetically placed glassed tiles on the roof to get the natural Moon light(particularly on a full moon day) to the bedroom; equally the dawn of sun rise light will make them awake.

    14. The big armed easy chair , Oonjal , the side Benches , the paththayam, wooden chests, the cross bar to the wooden door,will add a grandeur to the look.

    15. The jasmine /champanki creepers /konrai poo all add pleasent aura to the cool natural air.

    Thank you for giving opportunity to construct my dream house.

    Many of the siva / vishnu temples of Tanjore trichy areas have richly harvested the local natural benefits and attributed them to the divine stories.
  3. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.
  4. #3
    pannvalan's Avatar
    pannvalan is offline Veteran Achievements:
    VeteranCreated Blog entry10000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    CHENNAI
    Posts
    1,150
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Chims,

    What a superb description of brahmin house! I wish to add some points.

    1. 'Rezhi' is a small portion that connects the main entrance to the living portion of
    the house. It is similar to a truncated portion of the lounge, though they differ in
    the size, floor levels and also the purpose.

    2. I think 'alody' means verandah, right? There are two types here. One is 'ul
    verandah (Thazhvaram) and the other 'veli verandah' leading to the backyard or
    the street at the front or behind.

    3. 'Paththayam' is a barn or kalanjiyam. Correct me if I am wrong.

    4. Mitham is 'mutram' that is open to sky. This supplies natural light and ventilation
    to the hall and the bedroom. People dry their grains of small quantity and also it
    is used for playing indoor games like 'Dhayakkattam', Chess, Cards, Carroms etc.

    5. 'Samayal Kattu' (Kitchen) was invariably dark in all the brahmin houses in the days
    of yore. Even chimneys were not there and hence the walls were black. Even
    with a fresh whitewash, they will turn only brown.

    6. 'Thinnai' is again to enjoy natural breeze, chit-chat (oor vambu) and for playing
    cards. It is for daytime nap, accommodate daytime guests or even strangers.

    7. 'Kollai' is the backyard where 'kinaru' and washing (clothes) and cleaning (utensils)
    areas are found.

    8. A 'venneer aduppu' is also a common sight at the backyard. A 'thulasi maadam'
    and some more flower plants used to be there. Some coconut trees and fruit
    trees (koyya/madhulai) are also found here.

    9. In those days, only dry latrine was there. just abutting the backside wall and
    there was no separate bathroom. Yellame kinaththadi than!

    Alright, you can construct a brahmin house matching this description, but can you create one agraharam, a neat row of houses in which only brahmin families live?

    One more word of caution. The modern gadgets replacing the traditional ammi, aattukkal, and
    Fridge and TV in the hall with RCC structure in place of sand/mortar and wooden structure will clash with the old style too. Just think.
    Last edited by pannvalan; 16-08-2009 at 11:23 PM.
  5. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.
  6. #4
    pannvalan's Avatar
    pannvalan is offline Veteran Achievements:
    VeteranCreated Blog entry10000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    CHENNAI
    Posts
    1,150
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Typical brahmin house of those days

    I forgot some more points.

    1. To my knowledge, the house usually measures 120 feet (length) by 30 feet (width). Height varies
    from 5 feet (mutram) to 6 feet (thazhvaram), 8 feet (kitchen), 10 feet (rezhi with a loft) and 12
    to 15 feet (hall).

    2. There will be a puja room or enclosure. It will be mostly part of the hall itself. Sometimes, it is
    between the hall and the kitchen.

    4. There will be two 'maadapirais' in the front wall of the house, where vilakku (lighted lamps) will be
    kept in the evenings.

    5. The 'Pin Rezhi' is just behind kitchen. It is the place where unused furniture are kept. It is also the
    place where women during their period of menstruation will be forced to stay. This is covered on
    all the 4 sides or covered on 3 sides and open on the 4th side.

    6. The 'Thulasi Maadam' and other flower plants like Nandhiyavattai, Malligai and Sangu Pushpam are
    kept away from the Pin Rezhi.

    7. There may be a Mattu Thozhuvam where 1 or 2 cows are kept.

    8. Agraharams are usually constructed facing the eastern side entrance of the main temple of the
    village/town or on all the 4 sides of the temple. (Maada Veedhi, where the Swami will go on
    festival days on a 'pallakku' or on 'Ther' (temple car).

    9. 'Mottai Maadi' (open terrace) is used for drying vadaams and also sleeping during summer. It is
    also used for 'Nila sappadu' particularly on full moon days. 1 or 2 coconut tree branches will
    be touching the parapet walls or stretching over them. It is also used for flying kites.
    Last edited by pannvalan; 17-08-2009 at 08:38 AM.
  7. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.
  8. #5
    vikrama's Avatar
    vikrama is offline Senior Member
    Points: 8,365, Level: 10
    Level completed: 12%, Points required for next Level: 1,685
    Overall activity: 1.0%
    Achievements:
    Created Blog entryVeteran5000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    703
    Points
    8,365
    Level
    10
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Your idea to have a traditional house built is welcome. Any amount of description or pictures can not replace a field visit to know about such houses. There are fortunately a few in a few agraharams still resisting the onslaught of times. You can gain firsthand knowledge of these by visiting one.
    However before proceeding, take note of the following.
    1 The old agraharam type house now costs twice or more that of a modern building, because of its lavish use of wood.
    2 It requires a larger amount for maintenance, because the tiles in the roof are likely to move out of position due to monkeys, creepers, heavy rain and wind.
    3 If you really want to go back by 100 years and have a muddy floor, it is subject to be holed into by rats and bandicoots.
    4 Scorpions and snakes find such houses a good haven to rest in.
    5 You will have to change your lifestyle totally in order to be able to live in it.
    6 At best it can only be a showpiece. Such a show piece exists in Dakshinchitra.
  9. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.
  10. #6
    RVR
    RVR is offline Veteran Achievements:
    Three FriendsRecommendation First ClassVeteran1000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    India
    Posts
    2,686
    Downloads
    12
    Uploads
    0
    Agraharams are still there in few places in Tamilnadu as welll as Kerala. Probably you can visit to see it yourself.

    But it is difficult to build new one as costs are quite high. It is difficult to maintain also.

    Purpose of Dravidan movement is to demolish agraharams and they achieved it to a great extent. However the movement has failed to demolish our community.

    Probably our community has more strenghth and determination now than ever before. Our community sees opportunity in every threat created by others and prosper continuously.

    I don't know what purpose is going to be served by reviving agraharams. Instead I earnestly request you to work for the development of poor and downtrodden people of our community.
  11. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.
  12. #7
    kunjuppu is offline Veteran
    Points: 29,622, Level: 18
    Level completed: 25%, Points required for next Level: 2,628
    Overall activity: 6.0%
    Achievements:
    VeteranOverdrive25000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    toronto
    Posts
    7,217
    Points
    29,622
    Level
    18
    Downloads
    5
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by R.Venkataramani View Post
    Purpose of Dravidan movement is to demolish agraharams and they achieved it to a great extent. However the movement has failed to demolish our community.
    venkat,

    if you don't mind me saying so, i agree with you that the dravidian movement has not much love for brahminism, and its practitioners ie most of us tamil brahmins.

    but i don't think it is right to give them credit for the fading of agraharamas.

    i come from kerala, and here too agraharams are increasingly history. and there is no anti brahminsm to supposedly cause this.

    i think, it is the mass scale migration of our community, to far off places, in search of greener pastures, which is the primary cause for the demise of agraharams.

    furthermore, even those who live in agraharams, nowadays, appear to sell their house to developers, and move on to more spacious or modern housing further away from the crowded centres, where most of the agraharams are located.

    there are a few odd ones still left in chennai, like the venkatesa agraharam in mylapore. not sure if it is still confined solely to brahmins.

    the agraharams, i think, are a symbol of an age gone by. it is in historical interest to have a showpiece agraharam. hopefully some preservation society, atleast in palghat is taking care of such.

    personally, i have been brought up in neighbourhoods with all castes and creeds. i think i am better for it as an indian, as you come to appreciate and accept, our similarities, and even more our differences.

    in a complex country like india, i think mixed neighbourhoods are more a tool of tolerance and understanding than exclusive groupings. nowadays, i think of gated communities with watchmen - another form of exclusivity cropping up... the exclusivity of the rich

    the chinese used to have groupings of houses like this called hutongs. in modern beijing hutongs are history... except a few, which have been spruced up and are now tourist showpiece.

    i think it is good to reminisce our past, but if we sentimentalize it, let us confine our observations to what is factual.

    thank you.
  13. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.
  14. #8
    RVR
    RVR is offline Veteran Achievements:
    Three FriendsRecommendation First ClassVeteran1000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    India
    Posts
    2,686
    Downloads
    12
    Uploads
    0
    Dear kunjuppu ji,

    I was born and brought up in a traditional agraharam in Tamilnadu and I still have relatives in Kerala residing in agraharam.

    Both in Tamilnadu and Kerala, it was class struggle first which drove us out of native place. Agricultural land ceilings was the main cause of the trouble. In my native village, we had approx 65 houses in an agraharam squire consisting of four streets.

    Our community people were not holding very large extent of land (Say 100 or 1000 acres). Only few people had around 50 acres each. Others had small holding of 1 to 10 acres each. However 30 acres agricultural land ceiling was introduced in the early 60's which forced our community to reduce the land holdings. Again 15 acre land ceiling was introduced in the early 70's which was the main cause for driving us out of villages. Once you don't have economic viability of size, you have no other alternative except disposing the entire land holding and look for alternatives.

    I was quite young at that time but I was repeatedly warned by my parents that I should look for alternatives and should not depend on agriculture.

    After reading your views, I started looking back and felt that it was `class' struggle which triggered us to move out of agriculture to other areas.

    But when we started moving out of village selling both agricultural lands as well as dwelling units in the agraharams to other communities, people associated with Dravidian movement were very happy that they have demolished the concept of Agraharam. This is a `Caste' struggle.This has made even small land holders to look for other opportunities in the Cities & town.

    However when I visit my village now, people envy us since we are more prosperous as compared to olden days. Infact some people who were associated with Dravidian movement in their younger days and now have become old, openly say that driving us out of the village is the biggest mistake.

    When several other castes use to fight among themselves, it was mostly the job of brahmin community to mediate & bring peace. Now no body is there to mediate and bring them to `Ahimsa' path which is very much felt.

    As I said in my earlier article, `every threat has an opportunity' and our community has always been an early bird to capture the opportunities.

    I moved to Chennai but my children are moving out of India after seeing the reservations in professional educational institutions. Again Dravidian movement is responsible (Tamilnadu has 69% where as most of the other Indian states have only49% reservation). The central government educational instituitions like IIT, NIT, AIIMS etc introduced 49% reservation only recently and it is creating further problems for our younger generation.

    Brahmin population in Tamilnadu has come down from 4% to 3% during this period and may further go down in the future. Is it not a victory for Dravidian movement? Let them be happy, but I am sure we are not at all unhappy.
  15. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.
  16. #9
    kunjuppu is offline Veteran
    Points: 29,622, Level: 18
    Level completed: 25%, Points required for next Level: 2,628
    Overall activity: 6.0%
    Achievements:
    VeteranOverdrive25000 Experience Points
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    toronto
    Posts
    7,217
    Points
    29,622
    Level
    18
    Downloads
    5
    Uploads
    0
    thanks venkat.

    i know in kerala, it was two brahmins, v.r.krishna iyer and e.ms. namboodripad, who introduced land reforms circa1957-58.

    to this day, any gathering of elderly pattars, would somehow end up with vitriol for these two 'traitors'

    i personally believe that 'land to the tiller' is the best policy for a predominantly agricultural overpopulated country like india. but that is another thread.

    to sum up, i would say, that moving out of agraharams, is blessings in disguise for us.

    it is an example of a community, which seeks opportunities for its own betterment, and in the context adapts to the needs, and casts aside any baggage which would thwart its single purpose goal ie economic betterment.

    many a times, i wish, we were just as focussed in re-inventing ourselves re some of our out dated social mores.

    thank you. always a pleasure (you are)
  17. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
    If you are having a problem with a particular thread or user, please use the "REPORT POST" button beside the offending post to inform us or raise a complaint.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •