Ainmanes of Coorg

Reena and Sunil Somayya bring you some interesting details on the houses of Coorg – the Ainmanes.

When you talk of Coorg (Kodagu), the first thing that comes to your mind is the coffee plantations and the lush greenery and natural beauty.  Mesmerising charm of nature – verdant rainforest, colourful flora, fauna and culture. The Brahmagiri hills near Bagamandala in Kodagu district is considered to be the source of river Cauvery.  Besides the coffee and tea plantations and exotic greenery and natural beauty,  Coorg (Kodagu)  is also home to some wonderful homes with unique architecture.  When  Reena shared some interesting pictures of Coorg homes,   we decided to do a small story on the  Ainmanes that stand as the ancestral abodes for the Kodagu .   Sunil, son of the soil helped us with interesting details.  

The family unit of the Coorgi’s is referred to as Okka.  It is the joint clan descending from the father side or with males of the common ancestry.  Part of the culture is the Ainmanes that stand as ancestral abodes for Kodagu’s native communities.  An Ainmane is the ancestral house of a clan with roots in Kodagu.   Each Ainmane is intrinsically linked to a particular Okka, signifying a sense of shared identity and heritage.

These traditional houses (Ainmanes)  boast a unique architectural style, embodying the region’s rich history and cultural evolution over the course of centuries. Standing the test of time, they have witnessed the passage of about 150 to 450 years, evolving with the changing needs and aspirations of earlier generation

There is a lot in common with the Ainmanes and the houses in Chettinad says Sunil.   The traditional houses exhibit a unique Kodagu architectural style.  The layout of Coorg homes is often open and spacious.  It encourages natural ventilation and ample sunlight.   Rooms are arranged around a central courtyard or atrium. 

This provides a sense of openness and fostering a strong connection with nature.  A front veranda ( referred to as Kayyale),   Courtyard and Chadara Kamba ( large square with wooden pillars are design elements that stand as part of the Ainmanes.)

Today, these Ainmanes stand as tangible reminders of the region’s deep-rooted traditions and the enduring spirit of the Kodava people and their socio – cultural significance.  Next time when you visit Coorg,   catch up with the Ainmanes. 

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