On my way to Adoor to check on a house built by an NRI about five years back without guidance and assistance from professionals,I had a chance to visit Krishnapuram Palace at Kayamkulam which was acting like a temporary house for erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore state which has become part of Kerala along with kingdoms of Kochi and Malabar at north end
I was rather surprised to see appalling condition of house built by my NRI client which even after spending lots of money has turned to be everything at wrong places,without any proper planning and design.This house shows clearly how bad a house can be constructed without professional design by a professional Architect.I simply could not think of ways to make that house even reasonably worth presentable.This house is a classic example of what can go wrong in a house construction when you do not give importance for professional design of a house.
In comparison the Pathinarukettu house(house with four Nadumuttom) of the erstwhile King of Travancore at Kayamkulam is a good show piece of Kerala Architecture with all its glory and expertise in design and building.Whoever has designed this Pathinarau Kettu house has done the work with utmost care for all details and careful detailed design for each and every part of the building.This building has used Teak and Rosewood wood in plenty or I can even say that the house is built almost 80% with good quality wood with thick sections.
Let us start with some of the pictures.These pictures show front portions of the building which has a Padippura(entry House),Poomukham,an old letter box just kept in the compound,A statue of Buddha kept in front compound,front door shutter with traditional locking system even though the house is practically open at all places as King did not require security inside house as it must have been heavily guarded by his soldiers.
Inside you have four Nadumuttoms.I will give you pictures of them which look almost similar with sloping tiled roof with heavy wooden rafters slope down towards each of Nadumuttoms(Central Court yards)
There is a large pond behind the palace which has an access from the middle of the house which used to be called as Kula kadavu.One can reach this entry to bathing pond by climbing down through brick steps and a sloping tiled roof with wooden rafters is coming down to prevent visibility of the bathing person from other parts of the larger pond even when allowing water flow from the bigger area.See the picture.
You can see both light and water coming from that low level opening .Probably this is where King and his family members might have taken bath.
There are halls were King conducted his meetings,inner balconies,stairs made of wooden steps,balcony with a view to rear pond.See pictures.
Now if you want to see Karna soothram where they kept some holes in the walls in earlier Kerala Architecture as ears of house wall have a look at this picture
I was thinking that earlier houses of Kerala were not having attached toilets and dress rooms.But here they have an attached toilet.According to the guide there ,Dutch used to call these as Kal Khoos and that is how the Malayalam word Kakkoos for toilet came.
Now the dress room for the King by the side of the large pond and picture of the large pond
I have heard from my child hood days words like Kashu for money and Chakram for equivalent of Rupee in those days.16 Kashu makes one Chakram.I never had a chance to see Kashu and Chakram even though my maternal grand father used to tell always about the glory in having Chakram with you.You can see picture of Kashu and Chakram.Chakram was earlier made in Silver and later in Copper.Bigger coin in the picture is Chakram.Smaller one Kashu.These were displayed in the palace.
Then there are displays of old sword of the King which might have killed many.
Then there is the famous Kayamkulam sword with the shield.Kayamkulam sword has got two sharp edges and hence it used to be called as Iruthala vall(two headed sword).See the picture
There is a large beautiful mural picture on the wall supposed to be the largest mural picture in Kerala.See picture
There are few mural pictures on the walls which are damaged with time.See this.
Then there are wooden arches ,balconies,wooden rafter work.See pictures.
Clay tile flooring was used even then but with lesser finish and quality.You can see picture on top.Roof was made with solid wood as concrete and cement were unknown in those days.Lime was the bonding element for brick work
King used to travel by pallakku which was carried by servants on shoulder and King will simply lie down inside it when he was carried for travel. See the picture of Pallakku.