Sowparnika Projects
Guthu Mane: Embodying Prestige in Bunt Community's Heritage

Guthu Mane: Embodying Prestige in Bunt Community's Heritage


Homes, beyond being mere shelters, hold a special place in the hearts of people across generations. One such embodiment of cultural pride and architectural prowess is the Guthu Mane of the Bunt community in Karnataka, with the Kodialguthu House standing as a testament to the rich heritage and intricate design principles of these traditional homes. Come let us study it further and find out why they are unique.

The Heritage of Guthu Mane

The term "Guthu Mane" translates to "home of prestige" for the Bunt community. Steeped in history, these homes were carefully crafted to cater to the needs of matrilineal joint families. The central location within vast land holdings, adherence to Vastushilpa principles, and the integration of local materials showcase the thoughtfulness put into constructing these marvels.

A Journey Through the Layout

The journey through a Guthu Mane begins at the tudame, a bamboo gate that gracefully slides into wooden posts. Beyond the gate lies the jaal, an open space with shade made from dried coconut leaves to shield visitors from the heat. A kall chapadi and a rock-cut container, the kalla marai, exemplify the cultural norms of cleanliness and hospitality.

The Mogasale serves as the sit-out, and the intricately carved hebbagilu (main door) opens into the angala, a covered yard with carved walls. The chavadi, an assembly space adorned with exquisitely carved wooden pillars, leads to the central padsale, a reserved space for the ladies of the house. The design reflects a delicate balance between functionality and aesthetics.

Architectural Marvels

The Guthu Mane boasts remarkable woodwork, with teakwood or rosewood used for the intricately carved pillars and ceilings. The Mangalore roofing tiles, terracotta tiles, and glass tiles contribute to the regal appearance. From wooden swings to vakil benches, each piece is a work of art, often featuring intricate carvings and ivory inlay work.

Beyond Aesthetics: Functionality and Innovation

Deverna kone (dedicated rooms for worship) and bandasale (in-house granaries) showcase the multifunctionality of Guthu Mane. The innovative kitchen design includes an attic with a chimney, ingeniously allowing smoke to percolate before venting out, keeping pests away from stored grains.

Kodialguthu House - A Living Heritage

The Kodialguthu House, a living example with a history spanning over 600 years, offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the Bunt community. The Alva sisters, inheritors of this legacy, have meticulously preserved the Guthu Mane. However, modern challenges have led to thoughtful adaptations, such as converting the hebbagilu into an art and media exhibition center.

Challenges of Preservation

Preserving Guthu Mane comes with its challenges, as highlighted by the Alvas. The high cost of maintenance, environmental concerns, and the need for modern amenities require a delicate balance between conservation and adaptation. The blog acknowledges these challenges while applauding the efforts to maintain the essence of Guthu Mane.


In the heart of Karnataka, Guthu Mane stands as a cultural treasure trove. The intricate architecture, cultural significance, and the ongoing efforts of families like the Alvas to preserve these homes make Guthu Mane not just architectural wonders but living stories of a bygone era. As we explore these homes, we find a delicate dance between tradition and modernity, a dance that ensures the legacy lives on.