Tuesday, March 13, 2007

OLAVIPE: Heritage Home of Thekkanattu Parayil Tharakans.

The house at dawn. Photo: Shobhanaj

View of the house during day. Photo: Medhekar.

View with the lights on: Photo: The Hindu.

Gate house at night. Photo: Shobhanaj.

This is my ancestral home, (one among the five Parayil Family Heritage Homes) where twelve of us siblings grew up. There were three more, who died young. (See 'Oru Desathinte Amma' and, 'Appan':


The house used to be full of noise and laughter and fights among children. And crawling with servants. Then, starting with my elder sister Mariamma, one by one we went off to boarding schools and on to the university. Later the girls were married into other families and the boys took up careers. I was the first one from the Parayil Family to accept a job.

The house stood silent witness to these events and the slow transition from feudalism to democracy. We and the house survived the dramatic and sometimes traumatic changes during the almost seven decades of my memory. A great deal of our lands was lost because of the agrarian reforms policy of successive governments. But, fortunately, the bond between our people who stood with us all along and us remain strong.

Each one of us reached positions of importance and authority in the respective fields that we chose. Today, except the youngest three, the rest are all 60+. It is said that the new models are always an improvement on the earlier ones. By God's grace, our next generation seems to be surpassing us. We strongly believe that the intercession of St. Antony, the Parayil Family's Patron Saint will be with each one of us, as it has been with the family for the last three hundred years or so.

Sometimes, the house lay vacant for long stretches. With all the beauty of Olavipe, it is not always easy for us to stay there continuously because even today the local set up is such that we can only sit with relatives or visitors of equal status and have a drink. Couple of year’s back we opened six bedrooms (maximum permitted by the government for home stay) to selected guests. We love their company. Olavipe is now an internationally famous destination.

I hope to write in this Blog more about Olavipe and its people, and about the vast socio - political and cultural changes that have taken place in my memory.

Also see:

Kerala Architecture: Exterior of a heritage home

Lions that guard Thekkanattu Parayil


Ezee123 said...

whoa ! This house looks wonderful.

Where exactly is this house located and how does one get to see it.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you for the comment. The place is about 30kms from Cochin. Suggest you visit www.olavipe.com or telephone my brother Antony Tharakan at (91) (0)478 2522255.

Nebu said...

Grand house, great photo. One can count twelve windows on the top floor. Was it twelve rooms, one each for the twelve siblings?

Abraham Tharakan said...

That's an interesting observation and comment. Actually there are 13 windows on the east face upstairs.