Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In fond remembrance of our Anganam Illu/Anganam House.

My maternal grandfather, Sri Bellary Brahmaiah garu owned six houses in Pioneer Bazaar also known as Risala Bazaar of Bolarum area in Secunderabad. One of these was Anganam Illu that is Anganam House. Anganam House means Courtyard House. The word Anganam is derived from the Urdu and Hindi word Aangan which means Courtyard (many Urdu words have crept into Telugu language of Telangana due to the influence of Muslim rule and Urdu in this area). This rectangular tiled house consisted of a hall at the entrance and in front of it and at the center of the house was the small Courtyard, a rectangular pit about one foot deep, with no roof above, just open to the sky. All around this courtyard was a corridor and seven rooms which opened to the Courtyard.  With such an open to the sky area at the center of the house there was plenty of air and light circulating in the house and the house was always cool and comfortable.  The rain water falling into this Courtyard directly from the sky and rolling down from all four sides of the tiled house was a beautiful sight. There was a good drainage system in place to drain out the water. The area in the entrance hall and around the Courtyard was a place for socializing and relaxing at any time any day of the year.
The house had sturdy walls with slant tiled roofs, supported by a complex network of wooden beams and wooden supports. The roof around the Courtyard which did not have walls was supported by several artistic wooden pillars, beams and wooden supports above them. The house was refurbished from time to time with modern amenities like electricity and tap water.
Attached to this Anganam House was a double storied building in which my grandparents lived with their widowed daughter-in-law. This building had an entrance from the main road of Risala Bazaar and also from the Anganam House. As there was my grandfather’s shop at the main entrance of the building and later after his demise this shop was rented out, it was always the Anganam House entrance that was used by all of us. The Anganam House was mostly rented to Pujnabi tenants some of whom have lived there for over 35 years!
I always loved visiting my grandmother’s house not only to experience the Anganam House but the traditional and artistic d├ęcor in the portion that she lived in, and also her loving hospitality. And when I was very young, with the help of my grandmother or aunty I used to hire a small bicycle from a shop in front of our house and explore the entire area.
Our Anganam House architecture is not unique to Hyderabad and Telangana area but is popular all over our country with slight modifications and is known as Manduva Logili in Andhra Pradesh, Haveli in North India, Rajbari in East India, Wada in West India, Agraharam in Tamil Nadu and Naalukettu in Kerala.
My grandmother died in 1987 and my grandfather much earlier. After 1987 as this house was gifted to us it came under our control. The old tenants took very good care of the Anganam House and visited us often in Secunderabad and paid cumulative rent once in few months. However years later despite repairs the wooden roof began deteriorating and we had to request the sole remaining tenant to vacate the premises in 2010. We assured the tenant to construct a new house in its place and rent a portion of it to them or pay them some amount for taking care of our property all these years.  
We painfully demolished the Anganam house in 2011 and commenced construction the same year. But after considerable construction and expenditure we had to stop the works due to several reasons and decided to sell the property. All along this time the Punjabi tenant who was staying nearby took care of our property. And in 2015 we finally sold this property.
It is almost three years since we sold the property but the memories of this Anganam House will always remain with me. Just before the demolition I took photographs of the house and shot a video of the entire house but as the Anganam house looks old, sick and shabby I am not posting those pictures or video here. Instead I have posted here our pictures in a well maintained Anganam House that is almost identical to ours (heartfelt thanks to the owners). 
Looking at these pictures I feel very happy and I hope some of you would be fascinated with this ancient architecture.

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