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Kochi tent is Iceland-bound

She is Icelandic and she is carting a made-in-Kochi tent back home. PRIYADARSSHINI SHARMA takes a look at it.


THIS IS the house that Thora built.

A house that can be dismantled, packed, carted and re-assembled in Iceland where Thora lives. Yes, a house that is new and different for us and is being made right in our city, at Chittoor. A great lot different from concrete, cement, brick and mortar houses that we live in.

Replicating the `yurt', the Mongolian tent, says Thora, the architect. " I have not come here to make this tent, but because I like to be here. The most logical place to make a tent would be in Mongolia, but here I found excellent materials and very good craftsmanship. The people have been so friendly and have enabled me to make my dream palace," says she excitedly. All set for a house warming party on Sunday, Thora's house is almost ready.

" This is made like the yurt. It has a wooden framework, a trellis that is held by knots. This trellis forms an all round structure. The yurt has a spiritual significance. Two pillars called the grandmother and grandfather hold up the heavens and support the roof. Generally, the trellis has a cotton layer around it and then felt is used as insulation. Finally an outer canvas cover is stitched and hung."


With six carpenters and three tailors working along with her and her two close friends, Deria Jose and Jose Mathew, who are supervising this neo- architectural, wonder in Kochi, Thora has already picked up the furnishing and furniture to adorn her palace, "all locally."

Explaining the structure in detail on her laptop, says this techno-savvy grandmother, " Initially I made a small prototype and then set on to make this tent, that is seven metres in diameter and eight feet high, at the highest point. The two central pillars hold the roof, leaving an open space on the top. 84 poles diverge from there, giving it an umbrella formation." Planning to make her product a viable business venture later, Thora says that, " The costing depends on the materials used. I have used hardwood called `pincoda', cotton lining that is 100 per cent fire resistant, woollen felt from Kashmir that will keep the cold out and the heat in. A French painter friend inspired me to undertake such a project, so I brought the drawings from Iceland. Back home I run a guesthouse and this will be a perfect extension to it. Two additional attachment or smaller versions of the tent will form the shower area and the bathroom. The best thing is that the tent can be dismantled, put on camel or horseback as the Mongolian nomads did and pitched anywhere one likes."


Living in a small village of 700 people, on the fiord of Europe's largest glacier, it is the warmth of Kochiites that has overwhelmed her. She is familiar with India and is at home in Kochi. Satiated by the friendliness of the people here, she tells categorically," I am not a tourist. I like to stay" and plans to divide her time between the two countries.

" Kerala has definitely changed in the last five years that I have been coming. It is very progressive, but all the yoga, the music, the culture, the ayurveda is for us. You all are too busy to enjoy it," she says sadly. So, all set to host her friends in her `dream palace' on Sunday her guest list is full of very important people in her life. "My cook Flory who brings fresh flowers for me everyday, Faisal my rickshaw guy, who is so clever... he knows everything... .Deira and Jose Mathew who have taken a very special interest in building this, Sinar my computer guru, the carpenters and the tailors, all of them are very, very special... " she goes on emotionally. And we wish this " nest builder" the very best as she steps into her new house built with tender loving care.

Photo: Mahesh Harilal

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