Vernacular Architecture of Gondia, Maharashtra, India
Traditional Dwelling Study of a House in Gondia, Maharashtra
- Gondia district (almost on Maharashtra and MP border) is located near Nagpur in Mahrashtra.
- The traditional dwellings situated there, are typical for that region.
- The houses varied from small single storied mud structures to three or even more, in similar pattern.
- This is a study of a three storied haveli belonging to a zamindar.
- But unfortunately the front courtyard was a mere shadow of its original form.
- So, the information gathered here is a combination of a couple of other similar structures.
- So the main building of the original haveli is combined to the courtyard and livestock-shelters of the second, completing the original traditional dwelling as it would have had been.
BASIC HOUSE FORM
- Spaces are arranged about a central space which is the main bedroom.
- The plan is a rough 7x7 grid.
- The wall thicknesses vary from 1m and downwards.
- A stepped pyramidal structure with sloping roofs.
- No open terrace and minimal openings.
AN ISOMETRIC VIEW OF THE DWELLING COMPOUND
SECTIONAL PLAN SHOWING THE ZONING INSIDE HAVELI
- Gatherings of males of the village happened daily in the evenings after the days work.
- Sometimes small scale social functions also happen here.
- This activity is completely public and thus no privacy is required.
- Front verandah for minor and personal gatherings
- A large courtyard suitable for holding mini functions
- Seating outside the main gate.
- The managementof the livestock is mainly carried out by the servants, throughout the day.
- It is a combination of different activities like cleaning, milking, feeding, etc.
- Cleaning of the shelters is done eveyday.
- The 1st floor of the shelters is used for storing the fodder for the livestock. An year’s supply is stored at one go.
- Use of courtyard for livestock management.
- Storage on 1st floor, replenished each year.
- The whole built form has more combined space for storages than any other purposes.
- This is mainly because the amindar/ tehsildar the whole harvest produced on their land is stored in the haveli.
- Further there is a large collection of livestock, and storage is required for their fodder as well.
- Also an emergency food storage is kept for the family members.
- Sleeping was the activity done in the central room.
- The zamindar slept in both in the afternoon and night.
- It is a space where outsiders are not allowed.
- Adjacent side storage is used for storing the bedding whenever not in use.
- 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.
- As well as to provide shade from the sun and prevent heating up of the building.
- 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 sun’s southern inclination.
SPECIFIC FEATURES KEEPING IN MIND THE CLIMATIC CONDITIONS
- To resist heat gain
- Increase of thermal resistance and capacity by maximizing the building depth.(The thick walls increase the time lag)
- Increase of buffer spaces
- (Low utility areas like verandahs, courtyards, storages, etc.)
- Low utility upper floors act as false ceilings.
- Light colouring to minimize heat absorbtion by the walls.
- Promote heat loss
- Vegetation outside to decrease glare
- Overhanging roof to the north and south to provide protection from sun and rain and glare from the bright overcast sky
- Planting and layout provide protection from hot dry and cold winds
- Walls to provide some shade to external spaces
- Main habitable rooms facing north and south
- Main openings to the north and south
- Dwellings facing onto fairly generously proportional courtyards
LOCATION & BUILDING MATERIALS
- The haveli is a structure with the entrance facing the north.
- A haveli is built in the centre of the land owned by a zamindar. This is about 100 acre.
- 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
- Building materials are completely local:
- Timber framework
- Light blue color of the walls
- Mud walls
TRADITION AND BELIEFS
- Short heights of the door
- The doors throughout the haveli are less than 6ft in height.
- The main entry to the central room being almost 1.5m.
- This is to make sure that each person entering a room bends in respect .
- The big main entrance
- Oppositely the main entrance to the haveli is almost 3m x 3m.
- This is because the gate is supposed to have an inviting and open look.
- Secluded puja room
- The room is supposed to be very sacred and only the upper caste people are allowed to enter it.
- The pooja room is the most innermost room linked to the central room.
- It is a place where only the family members and priests are allowed.
- Sometimes poojas and even mini havans are conducted without anybody outside getting the whiff of it.
- Secluded area for women
- The womenfolk were not allowed to come out in open in front of everybody.
- They were restricted to the backside of the haveli basically the kitchen and the rear verandah.
DWELLING FORM AS STATUS & POSITION SYMBOL
- As one approaches the village the 2nd floor of the haveli is seen towering on top of other single and double storeyed structures.
- Though built as an outpost for watching the estate the 2nd floor works rather as an identitifcation mark.
- Courtyard of the haveli is much larger than any other in the village measuring almost 17m x15m, making it an ideal spot for social functions.
- Though entries to all residences in the village are big, the main gate to a haveli is the largest measuring about 3m x 3m and outer walls being 5m tall.
BUILDING MATERIALS USED
- The haveli has a comlete timber framework, about which the walls are formed. Teakwood is the only wood used in the haveli.
- It is een that use of timber decreases as one moves from rich to poor.
- Poorer people are seen to have houses built only with mud.
- Maximum decorations found in the haveli are in the front verandah inthe columns and doors. These is most importantly to show off.