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Traditional Thatch

Namaskaaram to you~

The weather in Trivandrum is hot and dry now, so it’s a good time to re-thatch the treatment rooms on the roof at Rasa Ayurveda. It won’t be long until monsoon begins in June, the classically perfect time to take traditional therapies.

Kerala, as you might know, is often referred to as “Land of the Coconuts”. This natural resource is incredibly well-utilized in food, medicine and other practical needs, and thatch construction is a good example of how valuable the coconut tree is to life here.

While the bulk of materials making up the treatment rooms at Rasa Ayurveda are made of coconut, the structural frame is not. The frame is built out of kattaadi poles. A kattaadi pole is a de-branched “kattaadi maram” kattaadi tree! A tall, straight tree grown in Kerala and neighboring state, Tamil Nadu. Kattaadi means “sway in the breeze,” which is delightfully apparent when you are lying on the treatment table under the thatch and the wind blows a little, and the whole room seems to respond almost inhaling and exhaling with the fresh breeze.

To build the structure, the kattaadi poles are first fastened to the building and to the tall coconut trees standing nearby.The kattaadi are tied together where they intersect with kayar, a strong, flexible rope hand-made from coconut husk fibre.

Waiting nearby are several tall piles of coconut palm panels which have been fashioned by hand. The long coconut palm leaves tenga ola have been cut in half lengthwise, and the fronds of each side have been woven to form a wind and water repellent panel.

Tenga Ola panels waiting to be tied in place

Tenga Ola panels waiting to be tied in place

After the frame outlines the floor plan and room size, these woven coconut-leaf panels are laid overlapping like roof tiles to form our roof and walls. The panels are held in place with strips of varukana, sharp-ended fibres from the palm tree which can be forced thru the coconut-leaf. Then each varukana is twisted in a particular way to make sure those woven panels will stay put thru sun, wind and rain for the next two years!

Cutting varukana for tying panels onto frame

Cutting varukana for tying panels onto frame

SO much effort goes into creating a beautiful, protective and biodegradable treatment space, in harmony with our natural surroundings.

Thatch Complete

Thatch Complete

Come enjoy taking treatment in the traditional thatch treatment rooms at Rasa Ayurveda!

Vinod Peeks Out

Vinod Peeks Out

Stay tuned for further updates as we carry on with preparing for the new season at Rasa Ayurveda Traditional Healing Centre for Women…!

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by Niika Quistgard, Director

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