Traditional houses belonging to the Kurichya tribal community are hard to find these days. Thatched with grass, most of them have disappeared with time. However, members of the Ukkini family have preserved their ancient ancestral property for posterity.
Most of the 'tharavadus' (traditional dwellings) of the Kurichyas were 'nalukettus' (building with four wings) and a central courtyard. The sections on the west, south and north were residential areas and were called 'padinjatta,' 'thekkenumpura,' and 'vadakkenumpura' respectively.
If any one of these sections collapse, the family would face several obstacles, according to belief. A portion of the Ukkini family's house too had crumbled some years ago and the members had suffered. Learning from the experience, the family has taken pains to preserve the remaining 'tharavadu.' But the shortage of suitable grass for repairing the thatch and its steep price are challenges for the upkeep of the structure.
Though the house is not occupied now, it cleaned every day. Moreover, food is prepared. The family has taken a firm decision to maintain the house as long as they could.
In the past all the members had lived under the roof as the joint family system prevailed. At one time, there were 70 residents in the house. However, the structure is at present used by Chandu, who belongs to the present generation, and his family. "Even now, all family members assemble here during festive occasions and for family functions," said Chandu.