It was love at first sight for Pradeep Sachdeva, who was moved to buy the 300-year-old Meda simply by looking at a few photographs.
And when the 59-year-old Delhi-based architect finally stood in front of the tharavad (ancestral house) at Mepral village in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district in 2010, he knew he had made the right decision.
"It was fabulous," he recounts. "The setting was fantastic. It was right next to a river. The top part had been built so beautifully, and the entire house has been superbly crafted. It is a very traditional Kerala architecture of the past. It has been made entirely of timber and no nails were used. They don't build like that in timber anymore," the architect observes.
Meda in Mepral village
Pradeep, whose company undertakes restoration projects, relocated the house to his agricultural farm in rural Gurugram the next year.
The original loft
Meda being dismantled
"I was very clear from day one that I didn't want to buy the land. I only wanted to buy the house. I had heard of houses being moved. So, I met up with the traditional carpenters in the area and they agreed to do it," he explains.
Workers who helped in moving Meda
Sachdeva came to know about Meda from a "dear friend" of his. The tharavad had been inherited by George Oommen, a former architect-turned-painter who hails from Kerala but has been living in the US for several years now.
Meda in the 1900s
Once used by several generations of his family, the ancestral home slowly fell to ruin as members moved out of the state or passed away, reported Zahid Sardar for The New York Times.
"I still had an emotional connection to this building and was thinking of renovating it. But, even if I had raised it again, the land was unstable and no one in our extended family was willing to return to that remote location," he told the publication.
Watch: How a Delhi architect moved a 300-year-old ancestral ho...
Watch: How a Delhi architect moved a 300-year-old ancestral house from Kerala to Gurugram.Posted by TheNewsMinute on Thursday, 25 May 2017
George decided to sell it but most buyers were interested only in the land and would have demolished the ancestral home.
That is when he made a proposition to Pradeep to buy the 2,000-square foot house.
It took about a year to completely dismantle Meda bit by bit, transport it to the north Indian city nearly 2,600 km away.
Meda arrives in Pradeep Sachdeva's farm
And while the tharavad was rebuilt in its entirety in Gurugram, Pradeep did make some modifications to the original home. He says "The house has two floors and the ground floor was made in stone earlier. I replaced it with bricks. I also added toilets and electricity to the house."
While Kerala has a humid climate as compared to dry Gurugram, the architect says it is unlikely that the change in location will have an impact on the house.
"The timber of the house is really old and it has been through much tempering. I doubt if the climate difference will have an impact. However, I have been keeping a hawk's eye on the wood for the last six years," he says.
Meda after the translocation
And for helping save the 300-year-old ancestral home, the architect notes, “I am extremely happy with how it has come out to be. It is currently a weekend getaway, but I do intend to live there eventually."