Once common, the traditional row houses called Agraharams are a
vanishing part of Chennai's architectural heritage today. Well over a 100
years old, the entire streets occupied by
Brahmins, agraharam architecture is distinctive with Madras terraces,
country tile roofing, Burma teak rafters and lime plastering.
All houses had an open to sky courtyard in the centre called the mitham, large platforms lining the outside of the house called the thinnai and a private well in the backyard. The floors were often brick like flat tiles or coated with red oxide. The tiled roofs had glass insets to let in light beams.