A unique and beautiful Suralu Mud Palace in Udipi district. I would like to share my experiences when I visited this ancient 600 year old building standing still.
Fascinating and Mesmerizing Architecture of the Mud Palace!
“I visited a 600-year-old structure, this structure is situated in the foothills of the Western Ghats of India.”
The complete structure is made up of Huge Timber posts and beams, with walls insulated using a cob along with lime plaster. They used clay tiles for the roof ( Mangalore clay tiles ).
The method used in the joinery of timber or timber framing is quite different here in comparison to what is followed in Europe or the United States, posts and beams and complete structure is carved with different artistic structure and posts stand on the stone foundation.
An Ancient 600 year old building – Construction Aspects
- A square-shaped mortise is made on the stone and a tenon is made on the bottom of the posts which is inserted into the stone and the complete post stands on that.
2. There are carved braces used in some places but here the joinery is slightly different.
3. The posts don’t connect directly to the beam or plates, unlike American joinery, here a tenon is made on the top of the post, and upon that 2 carved timber pieces which are connected by a lap joint perpendicular to each other are connected on the tenon made on the top of the post. A mortise is made at the center of the lap joint which is connected to a tenon on top of the post. Both circular or square tenon mortise were used, and the structure resembles the knee braces but it’s actually different joinery. I am not able to find the specific name of this type of joinery in any timber frame books I have come across so kindly comment below if you know about the joinery.
4. The beams and plates lie at equal heights hence you can find the hip roof structure of the building, it’s very easy to make a hip roof and the reason for using a hip roof is, it rains a lot in that area as it lies on foothills of western ghats and hip roof resists more rainwater in comparison to normal A roof and sufficient overhang is provided as well.
5. I found they had used King post trusses and rafters of very high width and the rafters were carved from the bottom side:
6. The first floor of the building has wooden flooring and wooden flooring lies on the floor joist which is connected to the beams.
7. The main doors were beautifully carved with thick timber and were very difficult to push and doors entering into the rooms were very small in height, the reason for that is people had to bend down while entering the room as a sign of respect as there will be gods sculptures placed in the room.
8. The main doors are carved with God’s scripture, one can find scripture on the timber posts as well.
9. So this beautiful Timber structure was built 600 years ago and the structure stands to date, there is no history of any metal or cement structure lasting for such a long time.
The structures built using timber and even any natural material can last for such a long time and our forefathers knew that actual art and architecture which is getting lost these days.
This Ancient 600-year-old building stands still even after its exposure to different climatic conditions.
I wasn’t able to get specific joinery photos as my visits to this building were unplanned and I had just gatecrashed into the building and had limited time as I had to rush and drive through the ghat to reach home and it was turning dark but will surely try to get the joinery photos next time.
- Kashif Raza,
- Director of Timber House Construction & Interiors