Vernacular Architecture of Himachal Pradesh, India

  • Traditional House in Solan (Himachal  Pradesh, India)
    • [The south east side elevation]


  • Traditional dwelling which have evolved over the ages have been influenced by these factors:
    • Climatic response to the envioronment.
    • Cultural pattern of the inhabitants.
    • Adaptability of the house according to the social lifestyle.
    • Locally available construction material.


Site plan showing the scarcity of houses

  • The house is located in village Basal, Solan in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Built on a gentle hill slope which is sparsely populated, it has a small water channel running besides it.
  • The dwelling was built in 1923 and occupied by a n agrarian family whose main preoccupation was to stores grains efficiently.
  • Built around 80 years back, the house belongs to an agrarian family.
  • Situated along a gentle slope,the density of houses is lessand lot of greenery.
  • Hills give this house it scenic beauty.
  • The house has been built taking into account the furious winters when it snows and the summers, which make the house really warm.


Diagram showing precipitation level in Solan

  • Solan lies at an altitude of 1750 m above the sea level in middle himalayas.
  • Although in cold and cloudy climate the place experiences  a fair number of sunny days.
  • It experiences a fairly long winter with a severe cold spell of about two months with short wet periods.
  • The summers are pleasant with maximum temperature 29c.


  • The house has been built such that the cow-shed and kitchen form a separate unit, away from the living quarters.
  • The living quarters basically include bedrooms and stores for storage of grains.




  • The sloping roof as seen in the traditional dwelling is a common feature in all the houses in the area as is compact planning of the house.


  • The house which constitutes many stores has been built for storage of grains which formed the back bone of the agrarian family.
  • Boxes of various sizes can been found.


  • An interesting part of the house is the attic which is used to store corn which forms the staple diet of the people.
  • The two windows on the sides ventilate and dry the corn at the same time protecting from the rain.
  • Although the main function of the attic is to insulate the house, it serves as an excellent storage space.


  • This is the kind of ladder used to go to the attic where the corn is stored.
  • All the building construction material used is locally available like the stone and sand of which the walls are made, the timber is also readily available.
  • The staircase used to reach the first floor of the house is made of timber, with stone slabs also introduced.


The house as seen from south side. (Paper Model)

  • The built form of the house constitutes about 60% of the plot area.
  • The house in its totality forms a compact unit.
  • As a general rule the houses  do not have a boundary wall.

The cow shed and north side elevation of the house

The timber truss which covers the first floor roof is effective in insulating the house as well.