Tamil - Settlements

The predominant settlement pattern is one of nucleated unwalled villages, often having 2,000 persons or even more than 5,000, while traditionally retaining a village character. The layout usually has well-defined streets, with sections for separate castes, each marked by one or more little temples for their respective deities. House types range from one-room huts of mud and coconut-leaf thatch of the laboring and low castes to larger houses with courtyards and two-story brick and tile houses of the higher castes or landowning families. Tamil villages look relatively neat, with most houses white-washed. Early each morning the women of a house apply cowdung wash on the street before the front door and create a pattern design on the ground with chalklike powder. A large village usually has several open wells, one large temple, a common threshing floor with big trees, a piece of land or two for cremation or burials, and in many cases a catchment reservoir for irrigating its rice land. Now nearly all villages have electricity, but only a minority of houses use it.

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