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Ravi Kumar Ambadi


Cell: 0-93966-22213


Friday, 29 July 2011

PERUMTHACHAN the Master Carpenter



An Example for Kerala Architecture

Perumthachan, another son of Vararuchi was a renowned architect. Though he was called as THACHAN or the carpenter, he was an expert architect. Typical Kerala architecture, especially the temple architecture has its own style. It is not just nature friendly, but it is mixing with the nature in such way that structures look like a part of the nature. Perumthachan is believed to have donated much to this rich heritage.
He used to stay in a village called Uliyannoor in Palakkadu district of Kerala. Once, the people of that village entrusted him with the task of constructing a pond in the village temple premises. Though villagers were in favor of constructing a temple pond, they have different opinions about the shape of the pond. Some people want it in round shape when somebody else preferred a square one. Some others demanded a rectangular pond when some were firm on their demand for an oval shaped one. Everybody’s demand was such strong that they could not reach for a compromise. Finally the Perumthachan intervened. He made a pond. It was  round shaped when you look at it from one angle. But it is oval in shape from another angle and square from some other angle. Though in a damaged condition, that pond is still there in that village. When you enter the pond you can not identify the directions. Usually Brahmins have to perform certain rituals after taking bath. They have to stand in the water facing the east. As it is difficult to identify the direction inside this pond, Brahmins never used this pond.
Once, Perumthachan constructed a bridge over the river flowing through a village. Being a naughty person, he made a wooden doll and placed it in the middle of the bridge. When someone enters the bridge the doll will move slowly. It will go down through a thread attached to the bridge and take a dip in the river. While coming up it will take a mouth full of water from the river. Then it will climb up using the same thread and reach on the top of the bridge. By the time the person who entered the bridge also reach in the middle of the bridge. Suddenly the doll will spit all the water contained in its mouth on the passerby. Fearing this doll the villagers started avoiding the bridge.
Perumthachan’s son came to know about it. He too was a great architect as his father. He placed another doll at one end of the bridge. As some one enters the bridge, this doll will start walking towards the middle of the bridge. Once it reaches the middle of the bridge, Perumthachan’s doll will be ready to spit the water on the passerby. But the new doll will slap on the face of the Perumthachan’s doll. With the force of slap the face will turn around and the water from its mouth will fall into the river itself. Now the villagers started praising Perumthachan’s son. They even said that son is greater than his father. Being an egotist, Perumthachan could not bear this. He took it as an insult but did not say anything.

Days have passed. Once, Perumthachan was on a tour along with his son. On the way he entered a remote village. He saw some carpenters working there to make the roof of a temple. Prumthachan went near them. He thought that those carpenters will respect him as he being the master carpenter. But those poor people did not recognize him and they continued their work of measuring and marking on each wood piece. This hurt perumthachan. When the carpenters left the place for lunch he entered at the work site and marked one additional marking on each wood piece with his chisel. Without knowing about this the carpenters came back after the lunch and cut all the woods. Some wood pieces have been cut as per their markings and some as per the markings done by Perumthachan. Finally at the time of joining each piece they felt it difficult as the pieces were not of proper length. They were worried as their whole day’s work has gone waste. Perumthachan entered the scene at that time. He kept all the wood pieces in a peculiar order and just hit at the center with his hammer. Suddenly all the wood pieces joined to create a pyramid shaped structure. Perumthachan asked his son who was with him that whether he had seen the new technique of building a roof with just one hit.
“Seen and learned too”. His son answered. In many other instances also son proved to be more brilliant than his father. This made Perumthachan jealous. He thought that if his son is alive for more days, he will create more magical structures than he had created and he will loose his fame as the master carpenter. This jealousy has increased day by day. One day both the son and the father were working in a site. Perumthachan was sitting on the roof while his son was doing his work on the ground. As if it is an accident, Perumthachan dropped his chisel down aiming exactly the neck of his son. As the sharp chisel went cut through his son’s neck, two drops of tears rolled down from the eyes of Perumthachan.