A small gram panchayat with a population of 5,000 in Kadiyam mandal in East Godavari district is attracting attention for the renovation of an 82-year-old house with modern facilities while having managed to protect the original structure.

The ‘Manduva’ house, known by the name as the centre is open to the sky with rooms built all round in square shape, was built by Annamdevula Suraiah in 1931 by transporting logs of teak and rosewood from Kotilingala Ghat of the Godavari.

He spent a princely sum of Rs. 3,000 then for purchase of the wood.

After nearly eight decades, the house has become dilapidated. It was then that Annamdevula Veera Venkata Satayanarayana, also known as Chanti, and his wife, Vijaya, both ex-Sarpanches, decided to renovate the house.

However, they encountered many problems. The walls were constructed with gummy soil or red bricks and the roofs were supported by logs of teakwood. So, he varnished and painted the wood including the main door (simhadwaram) which was beautifully carved. The red tiles (Vadapalli penku) on the roof were removed and re-arranged to keep the traditional look intact.

Inside the house, there is a common hall and several spacious rooms. All the rooms are air-conditioned. The roof is supported by giant wooden pillars. The centre of the house is open to the elements and sunlight filters in, all day long. A drainage system in the form of a pipe and a pit helps drain out water when it rains.

The entrance is akin to that of a temple with wood carvings and large size portraits on either side with Anantha Padmanabha Swami in a glass case on the top. “Except air-conditioners, everything runs on solar energy,” said Mr. Chanti.

There is a home theatre to screen movies, meeting hall, out-house with high-tech facilities that have been built without disturbing the old structure with ‘Boshanam’ (huge wooden box). A 1930s traditional iron safe and ‘patte mancham’ (carved bed) are some of the other interesting items inside the house.

According to Mr. Chilukuri Srinivasa Rao, State Vriksha Mitra Awardee, it is a record that Madhavarayudupalem got best Gram Panchyat and Nirmal Puraskhar twice for its maintenance.