The 116-year-old Vadakkath Tharavadu at Anakkara, a Nalukettu of architectural beauty, near Kootanad, in Palakkad district has given birth to generations of illustrious men and women like Captain Lakshmi (Dr. Lakshmi Sehgal).
Its branches have spread across the world, having produced great freedom fighters, political leaders, artistes of the high order, scientists and legal luminaries.
The names of its family members spread over generations which come quickly to mind are Ammu Swaminathan (freedom fighter and member of the Constituent Assembly of India), A.V. Kuttimalu Amma, Ammu Swaminathan’s daughters Captain Lakshmi and Mrinalini Sarabhai, a famous dancer, Ms. Sarabhai’s daughter and another renowned dancer Mallika Sarabhai, Captain Lakshmi’s daughter and former MP Subhashini Ali, Srilatha Swaminathan, A.V. Achuthan, A.V. Govinda Menon, A.V. Sankara Menon, A.V. Karunakara Menon, A.V. Kuttikrishna Menon, the list goes on.
The Tharavadu has not only produced eminent personalities who made a mark on the Indian freedom movement and later its political formation but also had illustrious sons-in-law. Kozhipurath Madhava Menon, who for a long time had been a father figure in Kerala politics and Minister in Madras State, was the husband of A.V. Kuttimalu Amma, who was also a dedicated politician, close to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
The celebrated scientist Vikram Sarabhai, regarded as the architect of Indian Space Programme, had been married to Mrinalini, renowned classical dancer and choreographer.
The tiled house built in traditional Kerala style is 15 km from Kuttipuram.
It was constructed in 1896 by P. Govinda Menon and his brother P. Theyunni Menon.
The Tharavadu celebrated its centenary in 1996 with a family get-together (Kudumba Yogam) in which some of its illustrious sons and daughters had assembled.
G. Susheela, herself a freedom fighter, is the lone member living in this illustrious Tharavad now.
She is trying to maintain the house with the support of other family members.
Since this Tharavadu has a long tradition and history, the family members want to preserve this architecture marvel. Though the illustrious members of the Tharavadu are spread over different parts of the world, they keep coming whenever they find time.