Kerala is dotted with exquisite Namboothiri homesteads (mana) and palatial ancestral homes (tharavadu) that stand out with their heritage value. The travellers mainly come to know about these unique structures when they are canned for various movies. There are many travel enthusiasts who hit the road in search of buildings steeped in tradition and architectural excellence. One such structure that has a rich legacy is the Areekkara ‘tharavadu’ in Malappuram district in Kerala.
Melattur, which is situated on the banks of Velliyar River, is a hamlet with a hilly terrain oozing with natural beauty. And the Areekkara ‘tharavadu’ reflects the grandeur of this rather sleepy village.
The ‘tharavadu’ is more than 100 years old and ‘eradis’ belonging to the Samantha community lived in this mansion.
Even if the heat indices touch 40 degree Celsius, the inside of this palatial home will always be cool due to the architectural brilliance. The huge stones and timber that went into the construction of this beautiful ancestral home were brought from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The ‘tharavadu’, which was refurbished recently, has expansive inner courtyard, corridors and many rooms. The granaries that were in a dilapidated condition were converted into spacious halls.
A family temple with Lord Ayyappa as the main deity, a pond and small dam (Areekkara chira) could be seen near the ‘tharavadu’. Many people come to this age-old building to get a feel of the rich history of the Areekkara ‘tharavadu’.
The palatial home had four large granaries that were used to stock rice, vegetables and fruits for the family members, who were landlords, and their relatives. It is said that the family had large tracts of paddy fields in Karuvarakundu and Irringattiri and the paddy harvested from these fields were stored at the granaries of the ‘tharavadu’.