Himachal Pradesh, the land known for its scenic beauty, is right in the laps of the Himalayan hills. The verdant greenery and the little streams of water are enough to make you wish to have an abode of your own in the very valleys.
The wondrous handicrafts and the ethnicity of traditional Himachali homes is so spell bounding that you can’t be left unimpressed by its magic.
The Himachal Home
Himachal homes are special in that they have a characteristic vernacularity to themselves which cannot be found anywhere else. The predominant building materials in Himachal are wood and stone, which look astoundingly beautiful with the green forests and white waterfalls around the valley.
Himachal Pradesh houses are famous for the traditional KathKuni architecture. In this tradition, homes are made using planks of locally available Deodar wood and filling intermediate gaps with stone.
The typical features of the Himachali traditional house are as follows:
- Sloped roofs made of stone shingles which prevent strong hilly winds from blowing light roofing away.
- Absence of any cementing material owing to KathKuni form of construction
- Wood used in the balconies with ornate details to allow maximum daylight penetration in the cold and dim interiors.
Himachali homes have a special vibe to them. Due to their unique topography and climate, they have developed a range of handicrafts which is as distinct. These handicrafts have made way for themselves into the Himachal home interiors and stand out as a signature style of the Himachali house.
1. Himachal Incredible Carpets
Only Kashmir shouldn’t be held in esteem for their world of carpets – Himachal Pradesh deserves equal recognition. The traditionally crafted ones depict characters from the Indian mythology in common and are sure to make you leave behind Mughal motifs and characters. Dharamshala homes are a brilliant example of the popularity of these Himachali carpets.
2. Himachal traditional Rugs
Weaving rugs out of unprocessed sheep and goat wool is a conventional craft of the land of valleys. The softness of the rugs and blankets comes together with the hue and warmth of natural wool. The assortment is no less – you are bound to be confused when you are to pick from mattresses (karcha) and floor coverings (thobis).
3. Himachal Metal Ware
Metal craft is one of the most well-known crafts in the Himachal. Brass, copper, tin, bell metal and iron are the common metals in use. The metals are used to produce sacred statues and long-winded show pieces, which are in high demand with buyers. Home décor also includes intricately carved metal lamps, silver settees and musical instruments.
4. Himachal Wall paintings
Wall and floor paintings are a common sight in all Himachal homes, especially in the highland ones. They are popularly termed as thangkas. Locally available materials like clay, lime and golu are used for the preparation of the wall, which is then adorned by the women of the family to make colourful wall paintings. Floor paintings are generally white.
5. Himachal Andretta Pottery
A unique legacy of the Himachal, the village of Andretta is famous for beautiful and exquisite pottery, which involves producing painted pots in delicate motifs and luring colours. A characteristic of Himachali homes, be sure to grab hold of one if you wish to have your designed on the Himachal theme.
6. Himachal Wood and Bamboo Crafts
Just like other Indian hills, wood carving is an essential art form in Himachal Pradesh. The handicraft items produced are brilliant show pieces in every house. Even bamboo is used to make items of household usage. Baskets, chairs and sofas, boxes and racks are all such items produced by the local tribes. Besides being rich examples of vernacular art form, these items are also eco-friendly, recyclable and biodegradable.
Wood is also conventionally used in the construction of jaalis for balconies and windows, which allows for a vivid light and shadow game along with penetration of the requisite amount of soft daylight. This is a great example of altering the interior composition of a house.
– Sourav Suman