Sunday, March 18, 2012

THE MALABAR SERIES

The town of Kozhikode / Calicut in northern Kerala has an old world charm about it that is really evident when one steps out of the central city spine. The sloping tile roofed buildings have a vocabulary of their own, creating juxtapositions of varying volumes & perspectives along the innumerable by-lanes that dot the place. Magnificent old houses stare out from the greenery, the beautiful double storeyed & triple storeyed houses of old with their unique language evolved over generations still stand proudly, almost unaware of the fate of their contemporaries in the rest of the country. Here, the vernacular is still revered, still in use, still functional. The modern winds of change have caught up with the people here as elsewhere, but yet, the majority of building stock remains the ancestral houses & such. The cold brazen concrete slab structures have still not wiped out the beautiful old structures in the Malabar region. A distinctive architectural vocabulary has evolved in the Malabar region, refining the basic tile roofed typology over time to derive a uniquely Malabari language, one closely entwined with the ethos of the place & the people. My next series of posts will be dedicated to the beautiful architecture of the Malabar region











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Friday, March 16, 2012

THROUGH SOUTHERN TAMILNADU - A TRAIN JOURNEY

A train journey through the southern districts of Tamilnadu is quite a visual treat, with miles of lush green paddy fields set in a backdrop of bluish grey mountains. Especially the region south of Tirunelvelli , with all its greenery. This is especially so on a clear morning when the deep blue of the sky contrasts with the vibrant green of the paddy fields. The farmers are at work early in the morning itself, churning & manuring their fields. There are flocks of white herons flying around and also the odd peacock to add to the beauty. The towering heights of the mountain ranges often have their tops engulfed in clouds, creating a picture postcard setting. The large windmills just before Nagercoil further emphasises the pristine unspoilt beauty of nature. There are quaint little settlements of orange tiled roof houses with white walls and narrow lanes – a picture of pastoral serenity, set in the middle of lush green paddy fields and bounded by coconut palms swaying in the wind. The gentle breeze blowing across the fields caresses one along with the rhythmic movement of the train into an unspoilt, clean, green paradise that is just outside the train window.