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Malayali cultural genesis can be traced to their membership in a well-defined historical region known as Tamilakam, encompassing the Chera, Chola, and Pandya kingdoms and southern coastal Karnataka.
The Malayali live in an historic area known as the Malabar coast, which for thousands of years has been a major centre of the international spice trade, operating at least from the Roman era with Ptolemy documenting it on his map of the world in 150AD.
From the limitations of the materials, a mixed mode of construction was evolved in Malayali architecture.
The stone work was restricted to the plinth even in important buildings such as temples. The roof structure in timber was covered with palm leaf thatching for most buildings and rarely with tiles for palaces or temples.
For that reason, a highly distinct culture was created among the Malayali due to centuries of contact with foreign cultures through the spice trade.
There were 644,097 people with Malayalam heritage in the United States, according to the 2012 census, with the highest concentrations in Bergen County, New Jersey and Rockland County, New York, The 2001 Canadian census reported 7,070 people who listed Malayalam as their mother tongue, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
It was called Nalukettu because it consisted of four wings around a central courtyard called Nadumuttom. The quadrangle is in every way the center of life in the house and very useful for the performance of rituals.
The layout of these homes was simple, and catered to the dwelling of a large number of people, usually part of a tharavadu.
Ettukettu (eight halled with two central courtyards) or Pathinarukettu (sixteen halled with four central courtyards) are the more elaborate forms of the same architecture.
An example of a Nalukettu structure is Mattancherry Palace.