Friday, November 13, 2009

Faces of huts:

I am going to write about those huts in which I lived and have felt with my senses.

To begin with…ever since I was a child, I dream of living in mud house, tree house and use to depict that look and feel in my doll house.I still remember Igloo (housing structure in Polar Regions or say ice house), kind of structure which my brother introduced to me when I was in nursery who was one year older than me. He used to tie two ends of the long bed sheet to the desert cooler and once it was switched on and all the sides of bed sheet was closed with the help of  pillows, the air used to blow the sheet and formed enclosed structure . That was a paradise. We used to play in that and for us that was our real home. Further, variations of it were seen when we were growing up. Three- four dining chairs were kept one after the other and then they were covered from the top by bed sheet. Bed sheet formed the roof and the back rest of chair formed the walls. Chairs one after other used to form different cells for room. At that age our body was so small that such customize cell also felt to be bigger. After this phase came the other phase.
I remember once there was a heavy wind because of which our huge mango tree fell on the ground within our house boundary and that was fun and it happened during vacation time. It had fell in such a manner that it formed two huge rooms and was like leaf hut.
All the children of our society had a great time for a week until the leaves wore out.
We used to eat, sleep and play in that leafy hut from morning till evening.

Furthermore, when my brother, sister grew older and I still could not give up my urge of playing house-house game, I made friends from my neighborhood and  every evening we used to go to barren land nearby our house locality on which few cement rings were lying which was used to make wells.
We, were three of us and each ring was occupied by each of us and for us that ring was our house and we used to invite other children to our place for food which was wild flowers, leave and sands.. ha ha ha
And no more than that, for us that was rice, chapatti and vegetables.
Childhood is always a memory, I thank God it is still sharp and fondly expanded in me and my dementic mind will never forget it.
Gone are those days and time swept by, and then I came to Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, a place I had never thought it would offer me an opportunity for turning my dream into reality.
In our Ngo training, I got to live in different huts in different places and they were made differently but yet so similar.

So true, our nature is the best example of unity in diversity.
Starting with Aruvacode, a small settlement in hill top of Kerala, near Thrissur, where I did 15 days of my Ngo training in terracotta craft. I remember it was rainy afternoon in Aruvacode when I reached and stepped into Jinan’s place which was small and a modern version of hut. My eyes were only on the elemental detailing of the house.
From there I went to Rajni’s place where I lived for seven days. It’s so true, how sudden your dream comes true that you don’t even get to realize it.It was made up of brick structure on to which mud was plated and rooms were separated by half walls. Roof was made up of wooden log structure on to which thikris, (terracotta curvilinear structure) was placed.

The most striking and logical use was of transparent glass I saw there.It was smartly inserted in place of thikiris with the column support of wood log. Thikri roofing are done on wooden grid structure, wood logs are placed in vertical and horizontal alignment and form column and rows.
Glass plate helped sunlight to pass through and thus cut the use of power during the day time and brings natural warmth inside the house.
Our villages knowingly and unknowingly lived in green ways and are so compatible with nature. However situation contradicts from place to place.
Moving to Baswa, a Kasbah in Rajasthan known for its terracotta cluster.
Here, I find hut, houses made of brick, stone and cement. Since, It was a Kasbah (settlement of banjarans and people from different places), people dwelled in a house that was economical to them.
I really liked the way they make the structure for the mud house and every Diwali you will get to see renovation of their mud house and the way they repair the damaged part of the house.
It is the best example of utilizing the terracotta waste. They reuse the broken garden pots and stack them to form pillars for the structure and after forming the skeleton of the house, mud are thrown uniformly till it cover up the whole structure and forms wall. It is left to solidify and onto that cow dung is plated uniformly as a sacred ritual. Roofing is done by thikris and hays & straws. For ventilation, kitchen chimney and room’s window, hollow garden pot to which you can see through are used, must say great minds.
In kitchen you will see smart use of pots for hanging spoons and other accessories. There drainage is also well designed but it limits to a place where whole household waste coagulates though far from house but are prone to diseases.

Now coming to Orissa- a state I was born in, in this place bamboo is used as foundation for the skeleton structure of huts and they are sandwiched by mud and are left until they solidify, here also huts are plated by cow dung. Surface decorations are done by gheru & rice paste in traditional motif and designs.

New addition to the article-

Now after coming to Kutch I am like getting confused by so many different kinds of huts and all of them so interesting. I really like Bhunga and dream of having two to three bhungas in my own house. Since I am adding to this old post of mine after seeing bhunga’s of Kutch. I will import more detail on it from: as I feel it is clearly articulated here.

Few days back I was going through north eastern huts where all tribes or say caste is having a different style of hut and that are their identity like earlier in many places the safa or different kind of topi were used to determine the position of a person professionally as well caste wise. The same way their huts do the job.

However, huts are now a days, not area specific but demand and need specific. You may find various design of hut in same place. Everything is getting customized and available with time, so are the huts.
But contradiction is traditions are preserved and persevere.
Article by
Subrata Pandey


Article by Subrata Pandey
Resource: rajasthan patrika 2nd dec 07
Nirogdham ( rainy season 1988, Magazine’s year 10 , sl no: 3)
Kayachikitsa by kaviraj ramraksh pathak ayurvedachrya
Dr. B.K Pandey, Ayurveda specialist ( Guidance)
Photo credits to

Ayurveda believes wath( air,vayu ), peet(bile), kaf(cough) this is in the balance amount are considered as dhatus(minerals) in our body and imbalance of any of this three becomes doshas
( doshas here means the wrong which is responsible for illness and diseases) in our body.

The whole body –heart –soul chemistry foundation is on this dhatus/doshas.
It is quite interesting to know that wath, peet, kaf this three in balanced state are called dhatus which results in arogya and healthy and happy life and in imbalanced state doshas that results in illness and unhealthy, unhappy life. So it is really very important to know key to healthy, happy and arogya life by knowing which doshas we have. I hope this article will help you in finding you your doshas and key to your living life.
To know what is health and healthy life we have to know the composition of our body which is responsible for health.
There are total thirteen Agnis which compose the body. Now we will learn about those thirteen Agnis:
  • Three doshas: waatagni ( air), peetagni (bile), kafagni (cough);
  • Three excreation doshas : purishagni ( latrine), mutragni( toilet), swedagni( paseena, sweat)
  • 7 dhatus i.e rasagni (nectar), rhaktagni ( blood), asthiagni (bone), maansagni ( flesh), shukragni  (semen), majjagni (muscles), medagni ( fat)
Bhautikagniya are the five basic elements:
  • Panch tanmatras or the five basic elements i.e. Earth ( prithvi), water ( jala), fire ( teja), air (vayu) and sound (shabda); 
    photo credits to naturallygreen.files

    All this agnis in there balanced state in the body is the key to healthy body and disturbance or imbalance in any of this agnis gives birth to illness and diseases or say results in unhealthy body.
    In this explanation of health and healthy life wath, peet, kafa is mentioned at first as this three determines the true state of the body. To keep proper care of the health and strengthening the immune system it is very important and necessary to keep yourself aware and curious for learning and acquiring knowledge about your body and you.
    It is amazing to know Body-Heart where illness, diseases, unhealthy and unhappiness dwells at that same place healthy, happiness, love dwells.
    It is the body and heart that determines the state if it is unhealthy or healthy. The symptoms are reflected through the body and heart.
    Physical illness is responsible because of disturbances in Agnis or dhatus which results in doshas and mental illness is due to raja
    ( menstrual/ period/discharge related) and tama( unhealthy eating habbits and behaviour) mental Doshas.


    Body’s three doshas which is also called treedoshas is if calm and in peace state then they are called dhatus because that forms the body and imbalanced, disturbed state is called doshas that gives birth to illness or unhealthy life.

    Wath ( vayu/ Air) : Nature: sheetal ( cool), rhuka ( dry), shukshm ( small), chanchal (unstable ), karkash
    ( harsh), halka( light)
    Nature which is very similar to Air and the opposite of this nature which are ushna (hot), snigd ( oily, smooth), bhari( heavy), sthul ( fat ), sthir ( stable ), soumya ( soft ); all this destroys the wath.

    Peet ( bile) : Nature: snehyukta ( kind ), garam ( hot), tishkna ( sharp ), dravya (material ), amal ( sour ), sir
    ( head), and katu (harsh ),.
    Nature which is opposite to it like snig ( oily/smooth), sheetal ( cool), mridu ( soft ), madhur ( sweet), sthir 
    ( stable ), all this is responsible in destroying or minimizing peet.

    Kafa ( cough): Nature: bhari ( heavy), sheetal ( cool), mridu ( soft ), snig ( oily/smooth), madhur( sweet), chipakne wale ( sticky)
    Nature opposite of which is responsible in its destruction or minimization of kafa are halka ( light), ushna
    ( hot/warm), tishkna ( sharp), rhuka( dry), katu ( harsh/cruel), chanchal (unstable ), wishad( unhappiness),

    Any nature among all this above mentioned nature of this three doshas if prevails in body for a longer period of time and in excess amount results in unhealthiness. And to recover from this unhealthiness the opposite nature are used or practiced.

    Extreme of anything is never good. And extreme is responsible for unhappiness.

    For properly understanding wath, peet, kafa we have to understand rasas which was mentioned in Agnis, because rasas are responsible in aggravating or calming this doshas.

    RASAS: According to Ayurveda and in this article the rasa which is being talked about is the rasas which is tasted by our tounge. But rasas are also considered in other aspects and in total there are 63 rasas but here 

    Ayurveda briefly and broadly discuss the 6 main rasas
    1. madhur ( meetha/sweet)
    2. aml ( khatta/ sour)
    3. lavan ( namkin/salty)
    4. katu ( kadva/bitter)
    5. tit ( charpara/ chilly)
    6. kashaya ( kasaila/bitter)
    How this rasas are related to doshas:

    Madhur ( sweet), aml ( sour), and lavan(salty) rasa calms down the wath doshas.

    Kasaya( bitter), madhur( sweet), tikht ( chilly) rasa calms down peet doshas.
    Katu ( bitter), tikhta (chilly), kashaya(bitter) rasa calms down kafa doshas.

    Rasas which calms down kafa doshas aggravate wath doshas and rasas which calms down wath doshas aggravate kafa doshas. And peeta doshas get aggravated due to the rasas of watha and kafa doshas both i.e. katu ( bitter), aml ( sour), lavan ( salty).

    These rasas are also related to pancmahabhut that is five basic elements which is mentioned earlier.

    Affect of Rasas:
    1.Madhur Rasa – water and earth gives birth to this Madhur rasa and kafa doshas are also born because of water and earth. Thus excess of madhur rasa results in kafa doshas.

    2.Aml Rasa – this rasa along with earth aggravates kafa doshas and along with fire aggravates peeta doshas by increasing bile in the body.

    3.Lavan Rasa – this rasa along with water aggravates kafa doshas and along with fire aggravates peeta doshas.

    4.Katu Rasa – along with air aggravates waat doshas and along with fire aggravates peeta doshas.

    5.Thikta Rasa – along withair and sky this aggravates waat doshas.

    6.Kashaya Rasa – along with air it aggravates waat doshas.

    Effect of Rasas:
    1.Madhur Rasa calms down peeta Doshas
    2.Aml Rasa calms down waat Doshas
    3.Lavan Rasa calms down waat Doshas
    4.Katu Rasa calms down kafa Doshas
    5.Thikta Rasa calms down kafa and peeta Doshas
    6.Kashaya Rasa calms down kafa and peeta Doshas.

    This whole article is scientific and is completely Ayurveda and most of the facts are directly translated from Shushrut Shahinta and Sharghandhar Sahinta.

    So after knowing about the whole Rasa , five basic elements and all the agnis relationship with one another and the way they give birth to doshas , we got to know that the rasa to which we are addicted and whose excess intake results in specific Doshas could be minimized by the intake of Rasas of opposite nature and minimizing the intake of that particular Rasas to which one is addicted. So balancing the body composition by knowing its doshas it is easy to keep you healthy and fit.

    Now we will learn to identify Doshas and its symptoms.

    Physical Symptoms:
    • thin, do not gain weight easily
    • height is more than average or less than average
    • thin neck and thin hair
    • physical energy too much or too less
    • appetite increase and decrease, not stable
    • complain of constipation
    • Dry skin
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Insomnia
    • Warm weather is favorable and good
    Mental symptoms:
    • Creative and dream a lot, imaginative
    • Active and alert
    • Easily learn and forget
    • Tension, suspicious, and insecure
    • Ever ready and active
    • Irregular lifestyle
    • Colourful
    Always remember:
    • Always be determined and say “ everything is good and fine and there is no need to worry about anything”
    • Meditation will help in keeping you rooted to earth
    • Include your desirable activity or hobby in your daily routine and behavior.
    Physical symptoms:
    • Average height and body build up, easily gain and loose weight
    • Normal height
    • Sharp features
    • High energy level
    • High appetite
    • Strong digestion but sometime constipation
    • Pinky, oily skin and eyes are bulged in
    • Heavy and easy sweat
    • Winter weather is favorable and summer is not favorable
    Mental symtoms:
    • Determined
    • Sharp tongue
    • Curious and Inquisitive
    • Leadership
    • Complicated
    • Easily tempered and take tesion
    • Easily become sad
    • If don’t get food then also they get easily upset and angry
    • Stubborn
    • Bold and competitive
    Always remember:
    • Always say “ I am giving my best and will do my best rest everything is on God”;
    • Regular meditation for controlling anger and doing justice
    • Avoid criticizing and accept and learn good things
    Physical symptoms:
    · Easily gain weight but hard to loose
    · Small and fat or good height and healthy build up
    · Dense hair and thick neck
    · Powerful and capable
    · Weak digestive system, feel heavy after having food
    · Regular excretion system
    · Soft, yellowish and oily skin
    · Easily have a deep sleep
    · Easily catch cold
    · Hot weather favorable
    Mental symptoms:
    · Kind and heartily
    · Peaceful
    · Slow and peaceful lifestyle
    · Don’t learn easily but good memory
    · Sentimental and lovable
    · Organized
    · Committed to self and family
    · Help in progress of others
    · Good listener and people like talking and sharing there feelings with them
    · Loyal

    Always remember:
    · Always say with full determination and confidence” present is the only truth”
    · To lessen emotions and disappointment meditation is necessary
    · Regular exercise

    Now after carefully going through this article, get to know your doshas and start living your life by balancing your doshas.
    For balancing the doshas you have to include the rasas which is opposite to the nature of your doshas and thus minimizing your doshas and balancing your life.