Glimpse Of A Traditional South Indian Abode: Some Home Décor Essentials

Glimpse Of A Traditional South Indian Abode: Some Home Décor Essentials

Glimpse Of A Traditional South Indian Abode: Some Home Décor Essentials

Modern apartments and luxury villas are rapidly replacing the traditional homes. Architecture is also an art form. It reflects- like any other art- the culture of the place and its inhabitants. But this is not possible with modern housing towers mushrooming all over the country. For instance, houses in rural Punjab were made of neutral-coloured baked bricks adjoining lush green farms and spacious outdoors where family members gathered in the evenings. Similarly, residential structures in the east, say Kolkata, had a shade of classic European architecture with Corinthian columns and vintage furniture viz. four-poster beds use to be the highlight.

Likewise, homes down south too had a charm of their own. The buildings were constructed to suit the climate with enchanting interiors, high ceilings and large courtyards. MakaanIQ explores more on the features of a traditional house in south India.

Thinnai or Verandah


Almost every house had a simple pillared verandah, known as Muggapu in Chettinad homes comprising of raised platforms. Even, outsiders travelling in the hot sun could take rest in this open space.

Inner courtyards

____________________ courtyard(Wikimedia)

Situated at the centre of the house, courtyards were perfect hubs for family bonding, kids' play area and a place which was most likely utilised by grandmothers and ladies of the house for drying papads, pickles or simply for relaxation.

Red-oxide flooring


Most of the homes in the region had red oxide floors that had the ability to maintain the room temperature, by keeping interiors cool during summers and warm in winters. Ladies of the house would make the typical rangoli called Kolam that would look prettier with the contrasting colour of the floor.

Décor that promised comfort


Jhoolas: Wood or metal jhoolas, commonly known as oonjal in Tamil were an integral component of south Indian home décor. The jhoolas have evolved over the years, but they continue to be a coveted home décor option in modern homes.

Uruli: A traditional shallow cooking vessel known as Uruli was used to adorn the exteriors like gardens. Filled with water and floating flowers, the cookware was either used for cooking purposes, making ayurvedic medicines or as a decorative piece.

Metallic theme: A notable characteristic of south Indian homes would be the presence of metallic ornaments and statues of deities, artworks, lamps, etc.

Tanjore paintings: These paintings usually depicted Hindu gods and goddesses and reflected the culture in its true sense.  

Puja room or the temple


Even today, we do have a separate area for the deities. But temples of the yesteryears were a class apart. Classic brass temple bells, lamps and bamboo mats comprised the essential décor elements.


Last Updated: Wed Jan 18 2017

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