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Jharkhand has been a land of thirty different tribes on the Chota nagpur plateau.
Before British colonization in1870, Jharkhand had an agrarian society.
During the mid 19th century, Jharkhand became a popular summer retreat for the
The state of Jharkhand was also known for its abundance of natural resources,
particularly coal and iron ore.
The abundance of natural resources attracted industry to the region, and after
independence in 1947, a large influx of people from various parts of the country
looking for work occurred.

During early colonization from 1870s till 1940s, a new vernacular architecture
emerged in the region, which is heavily influenced by western ideals.


The climate in Jharkhand mostly comprises extreme conditions in summer, monsoon,
and winter. Days are hot, and nights are cool in summer; heavy rains come during
monsoon; and in winter, both days and nights are cold.
Main strategies to create comfort in this climate include:
Use evaporative cooling.

Protect against summer heat gain.

Keep the sun out in summers to reduce heat gain and glare.

Use vegetative cover to prevent reflected radiation and glare.

Expand use of outdoor spaces during the night.

Night time flush ventilation to cool thermal mass.

Let the winter sun in to reduce heating needs.
Protect from cool winter winds to reduce heating.
Expand use of outdoor spaces during the day.


Two distinct vernacular architectural styles exist in this region:
Small huts or hutments
Havelis (large mansions)
The hutments were originally built of mud, sticks, grass, and pebbles. These houses
were mostly self-built by family members, or sometimes aided by neighbors.
The havelis are of more recent origin. Under the influence of British, the region saw
prosperity due to increase in trade and commerce. The local merchants became
affluent. In order to exhibit their wealth, a new architecture style evolved that was
meant to display the wealth of these merchants. Their mansions were built of burnt
clay brick and were highly influenced by western motifs. These houses were built of
local materials and by local craftsmen.

A hut in Ranchi, Jharkhand

A haveli in Ranchi, Jharkhand


The village has following basic spaces to define.

The sacred grove near the village called DESSAULI.
The meeting & dancing ground called AKHARA.
The main village streets, pond, well & bore well.

The hutments consisted primarily of two distinct cultural spaces.
Primary element is a single interior living space, which may have been sub-divided,
multiplied, or modified.
Second, an external space adjacent to or surrounded by the dwelling was emphasized
by use such as low platforms or verandahs.
An average hut measured approximately 5 to 6 meters (15 to 18 feet) long and 3 to 4
meters (10 to 12 feet) wide.
These huts were arranged in a linear pattern along the main street of a village,
usually amidst a group of bamboo trees.
Open-to-sky courtyard acted a prime space for the house, especially during the day
in winter and in the evenings in summer. Most day to day activities occurred in this
Often there was a well in this courtyard that served as the source for water for
drinking, bathing, washing, and cooking.
People used this courtyard to dry clothes, crops, and eatables during the day time.
The aged of the house used this as a rest area, supervising the children at play

Houses were normally surrounded by a fence made of bamboo, shrubs, or twigs

that defined the boundary between the public street and the semi-public courtyard
area in front and at the rear of the hut.
The huts normally had minimal fenestration. Often the only opening on the
external walls was the main door.
Some houses had windows, but they were small and placed high to ventilate the
indoors while, at the same time, acting as a visual barrier for the private spaces.

Slight variations occurred in architectural

styles from village to village; however, the
basic composition remained the same.
The walls were decorated with relief
designs. Some were textural arcs made with
a broom; others were patterns made by
finger and handprints. Usually these designs
depicted nature and traditions

These mansions have mimicked English architecture, but this traditional urban
domestic architecture harmonized with the regional climate .
A courtyard is an important feature of these houses.
In these houses, the outdoor space is captured and included in the residential
volume, thus becoming the heart of its Morphology.
Typically the front room of the house was used as a business room for the
merchants where they carried out day-to-day trade.
The courtyard separated the spaces
for outsiders and women
Often a small raised brick platform
with a small tulsi plant (holy
basil) was present and was
incorporated in Morning Prayer
according to religious custom.

Plan of typical haveli in




In most of the houses, coal and wood were used as fuel for cooking, which created
smoke in the house. To overcome this, in most houses, cooking was also done in the
courtyard whenever possible.
An eave ran along the front facade to shade the entrance. This space was used to
receive visitors. Only the privileged were allowed to sit in the separate living room of
the house.
Rooms were arranged on both sides of the courtyard with a narrow raised verandah in
These houses were built of burnt brick, timber, iron, and lime plaster. Walls were
often massive to allow further construction on the floor above. These thick walls acted
as high thermal mass for the house
roof was finished with lime plaster and brick bat coba which serves as waterproofing.
Havelis had many windows to allow ventilation. These windows have wooden
shutters that were manually operated to control the entry of sun and wind into the

Vernacular Architecture of Gondia, Maharashtra

Gondia district (almost on Maharashtra and MP border) is located near Nagpur in
The traditional dwellings situated there, are typical for that region.
The houses varied from small single storied mud structures to three or even more
storied structure in similar pattern.
This is a study of a three

storied haveli belonging to a zamindar.


Spaces are arranged about a central space which is the main bedroom.
The wall thicknesses vary from 1m and downwards


A stepped pyramidal structure with sloping roofs.

No open terrace and minimal openings



Gatherings of males of the village happened daily in evenings after the days work.
Sometimes small scale social functions also happen here.
This activity is completely public and thus no privacy is required.

1. Front verandah for minor and personal gatherings

2. A large courtyard suitable for holding mini functions
3. Seating outside the main gate.


The management of the livestock is mainly carried out by the servants, throughout
the day.

The 1st floor of the shelters is used for storing the fodder for the livestock. An
years supply is stored at one go.

1. Use of courtyard for livestock management.

2. Storage on 1st floor, replenished each year

The building seems to be built keeping in mind all the seasons, Though it is best
suited for summers.
The upper floors act as false ceiling.
The side passage rooms act as wind channels.
Absence of openings reduces the heat exchange to the minimum.
The roof extends almost a meter beyond the walls, probably to protect the heavy
rainwater from soaking the walls and to provide shade from the sun
Front courtyard faces the north, preventing direct solar rays on the most used part.
The rear verandah can be used much more in winter due to suns southern inclination


The haveli is a structure with the entrance facing the north.
Other dwellings come up nearby adjacent to the haveli of the other villagers.
Building Materials
Building materials are completely local: Framework is done by teakwood found
in the jungles nearby.
Wherever stone is used, (most importantly as a plinth) is local stone. Grey granite
is found in the region.
Walls are made up off a mixture of mud + straw + cow dung.
The walls are coloured with lime mixed with indigo, to give a light blue colour.
The tiles used on the roof are burnt clay tiles

Timber framework

Light blue color of the walls

Mud walls


Traditional residence in Maharashtra is called the wada.
A wada was typically a large building of two or more storey with groups of rooms
arranged around open courtyards.
Two types of wadas:
One which houses many families, like an apartment building of recent times or
chawl of Mumbai.(Mostly for the middle class families)
One in which only one family resided. (Mostly owned by the richer class like
relatives of the peshwas and traders)

Wadas - which were the traditional residential form of Maratha architecture,

evolved under the reign of Peshwas.
Its style was an amalgamation where, features from Mughal, Rajasthan, and
Gujarat architecture were combined with local construction techniques.


Settlements developed around the Peshwas residence.
Land around the Peshwas residence was divided into wards called peths.
These were self-sufficient units and they were named after the days of weeks or the
person who had established the peths.
The streets and roads in the settlement were narrow.
Roads were never straight as the growth of the settlement was organic.
The plots for construction of wadas were rectangular and lay right next to the
A wada never had a garden or vistas leading to it.

This Wada was built in 1875 by Shri Karandikar who was a moneylender by profession
and was related to the Peshwas. Kharadkar wada is located in Pune, Maharashtra, in
Budhwar Peth.
The design of a wada was not influenced much by the climatic factors rather it was
influenced more by the social and cultural factors

Distinct zoning can be

Separate entrances for
guests, domestic help,
people visiting the durbar,
separate entries for the
people performing in the
durbar and a separate entry
into the cattle shed.
There are 4 entrances to
the house.
Privacy for the women
given a priority.
Three main courtyards or
The wada has its entrance
in the southern side.

The rooms were ventilated from the courtyards.

One of the most interesting features of this wada was the underground water
supply which came from Katraj dam which was 11kms from the site.
no pumping was required for water.
The water that came was collected in open tanks called HAUDS.
Kharadkar wada has three separate hauds for separate activities. One for bathing,
one for washing utensils and one for storing drinking water.
All the external walls of the wada were 4ft thick.