Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Heritage Hotel at Fort Kochi

To tell you all some thing about the much acclaimed Kochi,
Fort kochi is one of the main urban components that constitute the present day City of Kochi in the Indian State of Kerala, the other two being Mattancherry and Ernakulam. The most accepted theory is that the name derives from kochazhi which, in Malayalam, denotes "small lagoon".A major flood in AD1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi,till then a landlocked region turns into one of the finest harbours of the world.

* The first part of the name Fort Kochi comes from the fort, Fort Emmanuel, behind which the Portuguese built their settlement and a wooden church, which was rebuilt in 1516 as a permanent structure and which today is known as the St Francis Church.

* Fort Kochi remained a Portuguese possession for 160 years. In 1683 the Dutch wrestled from the Portuguese and held as their possession for 112 years until 1795, when the British took control by defeating them.
* Four hundred and forty four years of foreign control of Fort Kochi ended in 1947 with the Indian independence.
* A mix of old Portuguese, Dutch and British houses from these colonial periods line the streets of Fort Kochi. *Kochi is a jewel in the crown of Kerala with its true heritage.

The Heritage Hotels in Kochi are actually the heritage mansions, landmarks or Havelis of some great men of the by gone era. These people have passed away leaving behind these huge houses at the perusal of the admiration of the guests. Since ages they have added on to the list of awes and myths in the minds of the tourists but presently these mansions or royal palaces have been transformed into heritage hotels so as to make it possible for the tourists to enjoy a short living in those enormous mansions.

Let me share about a heritage hotel of my interest"The Malabar House" Cochin.It is ahotel worth to be admired for its beauty.Has been on my mind since 2007,when i read about it in the TIME magazine,when it got mentioned in the feature of "The Best of Asia"It is one of the the finest chain of small boutique and villa hotel in Cochin.The decor,the build ,the courtyards are amazing.To see it is just like a dream come true."Malabar House" Cochin is part of Fort Cochin's historical fabric.
Some History:
Its recorded history dates back to 1755, when Jan Herman Clausing, a Dutch, bought the property from Mathew Henrich Beyls. Subsequently owned by spice traders, tea traders and bankers, it became 1996 Fort Cochin's first boutique heritage hotel.
The Malabar House Cochin is located in the heart of historical Fort Cochin, opposite St. Francis Church.

Enjoy the interiors
Traditional Lamp welcomes you into the interiorsLounge

Amazing views of the coutyardPerformances are within the stone pillarsCourtyard at duskView of poolNight performance of Kathakali and MohiniyattomBedrooms

Swings outside the roomsDining areaAt night

The photos might have refreshed you for sure,eventhough there wasn't a lemonade in your hand.

(Images courtesy:www.malabarhouse.com,keralatourism.org,www.justbookit.com.
All Images are subject to copyright of Malabar house.Please dont use any images otherwise)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Relish the summer in courtyards

The long cherished dream of starting a decor blog starts here today.Thoughts of summer and courtyards in my ancestral home, where we used to spend most of the time in summers,push me towards writing the first post on courtyards.Memories still afresh.And when I recall these memories,as I go along life's way,I find they grow more precious still,with every passing day.

Summer is here to explore many wonders of the world.Drift yourself to a dreamland sitting in the courtyards,as summer days come closer.With this you also do get an idea how to make your courtyard a focal point.

Let me brief you on the history of courtyards
Climatic changes on an organization are apparent since 2000 BC during which the basic principles of a central court with rooms all around it emerged.Major permanent concentrated populations arose, in the Tigris/Euphrates region of ancient Mesopotamia, the desert coast of Peru at Chan-Chan, the Thar Desert crossed by the Indus River in what is now India, and Egypt of the Nile. In all these arid-region urbanized agricultural centers, the courtyard house emerged as the basic house form.Excavations and studies by scholars reveal that the built form in those times had central open- to- the- sky spaces in the Mohenjodaro and Harappa.The houses had no windows facing the street,but concentrated on the courtyard.These houses may have depended on courtyards for light and ventilation.Evidence of the high degree of crystallised forms of the period indicate that the genesis of the idea of the courtyard could easily be traced back to thousand years before Harappa.The essence of the space has remained unchanged over thousands of years and the years to come.Today, throughout the arid regions of the world, the courtyard house remains a sensible, satisfactory, and preferred solution.The courtyard is therfore a timeless spatial element of Indian Architecture;it continues to be still valid today as before.

This design element (courtyard) is now a reference for new type of construction and planning. Courtyard style is a splendid design called by names – haveli, wada, deori or nalukettu.

Most of the domestic architecture in India is organised around courtyards.
Even in the desert communities where nighttime winter temperatures reach freezing, the daytime temperatures are sufficiently moderate that this courtyard can become an active and usable living space.
It provides a safe outdoor play area for young children and a safe outdoor sitting area for adults and the elderly.

Courtyards of Rajasthan

Simply rooms without roofs

In India, in their construction there occurred a sharing between Hindu and Muslim designs. Muslim havelis included in their designs the chajjas and brackets and the Hindus freely used the cusped arch.
Often yet unprotected becomes the heart of living.The walls provide a portion of shade on atleast some part of the courtyard throughout the day.
Maximising number of habitable rooms that face the the courtyards,the major portion of the house is afforded a sunny outdoor space. Visitors stopped at the outer courtyard where the baithak, siiting place, usually was. Beyond this was the sequestered zenana, women’s area around the inner courtyard.
Traditonal South Indian courtyards:See the air of elegance in themThey become a place for growing plants and placing decor items
Over head shading can be provided by planting trees and vines
Courtyards become the living room of the house both literally and figuratively

Japanese courtyardsChinese courtyardsCourtyards of Modern houses become the epicentre of showcasing new designs,becomes new design symbol

Image courtesy:gharexpert.com,archistud,www.homedesigning.com/interior-courtyards,Meghal Arya and Home review.

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