Stately white-washed homes standing majestically amidst vast acres of paddy fields, hidden behind once dense forest, the ain mane, or ancestral home has been a pivot for Coorg society over hundreds of years. Built entirely from natural materials and fortified by timber, an ain mane houses the ancestral spirits — in particular the spirit of the karana, founding ancestor, or karanchi, founding ancestress of a clan, making the spaces within sacred. These venerable structures, their walls soaked with history and the stories of multiple generations are where members of the clan now gather on special occasions, to reaffirm their links with their founding ancestor.
Within the oral histories attached to each clan are held both genealogies that stretch back to a moment lost in history, as well as narratives: stories of love and loss; war and peace, defeat and victory for the clan. The sunken, inner courtyard that opens to the sky is a beautiful part of the architecture of these homes, as is the kalle boti, a sacred pillar at the centre of yard, revered by Kodavas. This is a series of images that reflects the spirit of the ain mane.