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Once You Have Lived with Mountains by Ruskin Bond Once you have lived with mountains Under the whispering pines And deodars, near stars And a brighter moon, With wood smoke and mist Sweet smell of grass, dew lines On spider- spun, sun- kissed Buttercup and vine; Once you have lived with these, Blesses, God’s favourite then, You will return, You will come back To touch the trees and grass And climb once more the windswept mountain pass

Documentation of vernacular houses of kumaon  Champavat Region Uttarakhand, North India

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Personal Information Name: Contact number:

Highlights of the trip

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Ku mao n Field Wo rk Researc h ( KFR) P ro ject Br i ef This research project deals with documentation of vernacular houses (wood and stone) of the villages of champavat region in Uttarakhand, North-East India. The focus area is Lohagat village. There are total 6 different types of houses of which 4 will be measure drawn in detail. Detailed technical drawings of these houses will be made in a format that is specified in the section titled ‘deliverable’. KFR Project phases with tentative time lines

KFR team

Phase 1: Field work: 10th May to 25th May 2010 Phase 2: Drawing: 26th May to 10th June 2010 Phase 3: Data compilation and Report: 11th June to 25th June 2010

Project Coordinator Jay Thakkar Research Assistants

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KFR Project funded by

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Meenal Jain Chandra Prabha Ramkrishnan Tarang Sagara Smita Agrawal Farhaz Ahmed Admani Akash Verma by

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Annemarie Pestalozzi, Zurich Note: All the drawings and illustrations in this booklet are from the book Matra and Naqsh published by SID Research Cell, CEPT University

Qualitative Researcher Preeti Das Local Guide Boharaji 3

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Check list of things to carry for field work Work related

Personal

District map of Uttarakhand (Source: http://andolan.prayaga.org/maps/)

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Extra


KFR It iner ar y Date

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Departure from

Arrive to

Work

10th May Mon

Ahmedabad (Time: 5:25 pm)

Delhi Time: 7.30 am (next day)

Travel

11th May Tues

Delhi (Time: 8:00 am)

Lohagat (Time: 6:00 pm)

Travel

12th May Wed

Lohagat

Surrounding Villages

Scouting /survey

13th May Thur

Lohagat

Gallagaon/lower Gallagaon

Measure Drawing

14th May Fri

Gallagaon/lower Gallagaon

Measure Drawing

15th May Sat

Gallagaon/lower Gallagaon

Measure Drawing

16th May Sun

Sheri

Measure Drawing

Sheri

Measure Drawing

18th May Mon

Sheri

Measure Drawing

19th May Tues

Lohagat

Gallchoda

Measure Drawing

20th May Wed

Gallchoda

Measure Drawing

21st May Thur

Gallchoda

Measure Drawing

22nd May Fri

Lohagat

Almora via other villages

Visual Survey

Almora

Enjoy

Almora

Depart Delhi to Ahmedabad (Time: 7:55 pm)

Travel

25th May Sun

Arrive Ahmedabad (Time: 10:30 am)

Home

Lohagat

17th May Sunday

23rd May Friday 24th May Sat

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KF W R De l i v e r a ble Four vernacular houses have to be measure drawn in detail and technical drawings have to be produced on the basis of it. Following is requirements for each house.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Site plan (Site plus some surrounding areas to understand its placement) Schematic village plan Plans at all level including roof plan Reflected ceiling plan at all level including the roof structure Four longitudinal sections Six to ten cross sections Four elevations Corner details showing construction methods Details of fenestrations (doors, windows and any other small important openings) Ornamentation details Details of some of the important interior elements Sketches of various house hold objects and material culture Recording of material and finishes

Note: 1. Information has to be collected in Field Work for each house as per the above requirements. 2. All the drawings should be technically correct and with appropriate line weights and scale. 3. Drawings should be delivered in the format specified by the project coordinator

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Co nt ent Kumaon, Uttarakhand State

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Introduction Vernacular architecture of Kumaon, Champavat Region

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Overview Identified houses for measure drawing NOTES Personal notes and observations for identified houses

Field Work – Measure Drawing

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Overview Field work notes Process of dimensioning and recording

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Study of construction system and details Process of mapping

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Site mapping Function mapping Activity pattern mapping Personal notes and observations for mapping Important information of photo-documentation

Material culture mapping Documentation through photography

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Some thumb rules Field Work – Social Research

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Overview A few pointers Your own set of questions

Some relevant questions 7

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General map of Uttarakhand (Source: http://andolan.prayaga.org/maps/)

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Kumaon, Uttarakha n d S t a t e Introduction Of pine trees, shooting stars, fireflies, snow clad mountains, unadulterated food, millions of bells, and dangerous curves - Uttarakhand. Also called the land of the Gods and the destination for all those in the quest for peace and serenity... and you are going to get neither! Atleast not the peace ..so get your trainers in place and sharpen your pencils and mind and toughen those muscles for a journey into the culture of vernacular settlements. The 27th state to be formed in India ( So how many states are there in India? ), the land of social resistance , the place where Chipko movement originated and famous for ‘Bhaat’, the local dal, which takes hours to cook and is delicious beyond words. The altitude within this terrain varies from 600 to 2000 meters, which means, your feet would mostly not be on the same level thus making it a little wobbly. But if your hands and minds are wobbly you are in deep trouble!

Sheri Village

The study will be carried out in Kumaon (also spelled as Kumaun). One of the two divisions of Uttarakhand state, which consists of six districts Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat , Nainital , Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. This study will focus on the vernacular architecture of the Champawat Region, where the main area of study will be the villages around Lohagat town. 1

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Devdi-Mafi Village

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BhanarVillage

Champavat Village


Vernac u lar arc h itec tu re o f Ku mao n, Champava t R eg io n Overview Vernacular architecture of this region constitutes of the houses and temples made primarily by the local people with the help of the master craftsperson. These hand-made buildings are well crafted with locally available materials - stone and wood. The major focus of this field work will be on the domestic architecture, which constitutes a large number of built forms in any given vernacular settlements. A typical house is minimum one storey high that extends upto two to three storeys. Gaushala at the bottom and living area on the top is the general norm of organizing the layout. An external staircase leads to the living area, which further gets divided into public domain and private domain. The private section has sleeping quarter and kitchen divided indigenously by a storage unit, which becomes an integral part of interior-architecture. Wood carving is an important space-making craft in vernacular architecture of kumaon; the expression of which is visible on the wooden facade of these houses. Identified houses for measure drawing A preliminary survey was done of vernacular architecture of Champavat Region in 2009. There are two distinctive types of houses found which are Row House type and Independent Single House type. These types are further classified on basis of some of the interior-architecture features. The identified houses to be measure drawn are: 1. Single Storey Row House in Gallagaon village 2. Two Storey Row House in Sheri village 3. Independent Single house with balcony in Gallagaon village 4. Independent Painted House in Galchoda village 3

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House 1. Single Storey Row house in Gallagaon village.

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House 2. Two Storey Row house in Sheri village.

House 3. Independent Single house with balcony in Gallagaon village.

House 4. Independent Painted house in Galchoda village.


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P erso nal n o t es and o bs ervat i o ns f o r ho u s es


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Field Wo rk – Measu re D r aw i ng Overview Field Work: A class room where you can let your thoughts meander, observe and interact with people and nature ,go beyond the usual and synergize theory and practice. Field work involves collecting first hand information from the site. We would be using measure drawing as a method to document and record information. You need to be equipped with an open mind, plenty of questions, observation skills to put Sherlock Holmes at shame, inquisitiveness to understand the culture, people, lifestyle and a greed to devour the entire feel of the place. Tip: There always lies a story in the differences.... observe them. Field work notes Ok, so we are in an era of technology, internet ,facebook etc. but lets get to the basics. A notebook with comprehensive hand written notes, drawings and sketches IS A MUST. The notes must include information and understanding of local myths, mythologies and belief systems, names of the owners of house that are measure drawn, schematic sketches and reference information, construction system, indigenous innovative solutions, material culture ,way the members of the house interact (does the woman take the initiative to talk or does the man take the lead), a little about the dresses, jewelry, food, surrounding areas and do not forget to write a section on the new/interesting discoveries and observations you make. Warning: We will be discussing everyone’s recordings every evening before we call it a day. The best and innovative note for the day will win exciting prizes (*Conditions apply) 7

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Site dimensions

Surface ornamentation

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Overall dimensions

Space layout dimensions

Furniture level dimensions

Interior level dimensions

Interior element dimensions

Architectural element dimensions


Process of dimensioning and recording

Construction systems

Recording of dimensions begins from the site level dimensions and triangulations of the house (in reference to other houses), to the smallest detail of structure and ornamentation of the house to be measure drawn. For extended sections, measurements beyond the buildings have to be taken Study of construction system and details A systematic on-site study with schematics has to be done to understand the load bearing and non structural members to understand the construction system . This should be supported by the study of joints and junctions with reference to single material and their combinations.

Construction details

Material assembly

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Mapping of buildings on site

Tower temple

Community ground

Vernacular house

Granary

Mapping of different spaces and their connections Entertainment room Middle attic

Roof attic Wash room Living room Storage room Gaushala mezzanine floor

Granary

Roof attic Kitchen Second floor balcony First floor balcony Storage room

Gaushala

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Process of mapping Mapping of different functions and their spatial conditions

Site mapping Mapping of the chosen building in reference to the rest of the buildings in vernacular settlement is important to understand its position within the community as well as to briefly understand the environmental parameters. It will be useful to indicate different buildings within the schematic drawing and also add some important information collected from the locals. Function mapping Parking in the basement, a concept that is logical in the urban context. In a similar way do not let your socks fly in surprise when you see a ‘gaushala’ in the ground floor of most houses in the region. Mapping such functions , tracing their history and the rational behind it will help in understanding the lifestyle patterns and making of a vernacular house. No you cannot go back to the city and insist on parking a cow in your basement! Indication of such understanding is to be represented through function organization schematics, - in plan, sections as well as third dimension. 11

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Mapping of different activities in the house

Mapping of material culture

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Activity pattern mapping Different people use spaces in different ways at different times. Accepting this universal truth it is important to map different activities in context of spaces, interior elements, furniture and house hold objects. Do keep in mind that there may or may not be seasonal differences in the use of the space but it is essential to investigate such patterns. For example during winters the kitchen might be extensively use because of the heat it emits and helps keep the entire house warm.

Material culture mapping Material culture constitutes of the different objects within and outside the house that represents culture and lifestyle of that owner in reference to the time. Its mapping is done by the recording the type, style, form, craft techniques, material explorations, value, their placement in the house and the usage . So make sure to note if there are pictures of ‘swargwasi’ members, Bollywood stars and the variety and placement of Gods and Goddesses, objects strategically placed in the house to banish the evil eye or bring fortune, luck, fertility etc. Also find out the kind of live stocks and the pets people ownranging from cows, goats, sheep, cats, dogs, parrots, rabbits, goats, cows, lizards or iguanas.

Mapping of material culture in reference to interior space

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P erso nal n o t es and o bs ervat io ns f o r mapping


Photographing Architecture and Interiors

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Photographing objects and details

Photographing people and activity


D o c u men tatio n th ro u g h pho t o g r aphy Multitasking is the need of the hour – what cannot be drawn has to be clicked. Not to show off on facebook but for records and documentation. Use the camera when needed to capture major aspect of architecture, interior spaces, construction details, material culture, surface ornamentation, activity pattern and the photographs of all the household members. Do not take ‘marriage ‘ type pictures by asking people to pose and fake smiles. Photographs of house owner should be taken individually and in group and their names should be recorded in the field notes with the photograph number. Documentation photograph should have clarity in terms of composition, light quality and information. Buildings should be recorded from all the sides. The photograph of the buildings should be without perspective distortion and have more of elevational aspects. Panoramic shots of interiors should be taken if possible (with and without flash). Furniture elements and objects should be recorded from different angle including an isometric view photograph. Any specific feature of the building should be recorded along with the spaces that are inaccessible (like roof structures, attic, some part of gaushala, religious spaces). Any documents, memorabilia, old photographs of the building, folk art must be documented. Some thumb rules Take permission from people before you take pictures. Start clicking after you make people comfortable. No voyeurism , you are just an observer. If you promise to send the pictures to people , get their address and do it. Excuses of no extra batteries, lights, chargers, data card etc will not be entertained. Come fully prepared. Make sure you have back ups and store the pictures in a systematic manner. Taking pictures for facebook profile should not be on your priority list. 17

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Photo. no

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Impo rtant i nf o rmat i o n o f pho t o -do cu ment at io n

Photo. no Date

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Different day to day activities


Field Wo rk – So c ial R es ear ch Overview So observing behavior and mannerisms without wanting to modify makes the core for good research. Since you will be given a chance to be a member of the community you must take full advantage of it and record as much as possible. Understanding socio-cultural details will give insights which will prove to be useful in numerous ways. This process will start from the time you leave Delhi for the mountains- from observing the changing scenario during the ride into the mountains, to listening carefully to the language of the shop keepers, overhear the topics that are currently top of mind with the people there. A few pointers Pick up the local newspaper and magazines when you get a chance. Chat up with people in the house and find out about myths, belief systems, folk lore, music, movies (let’s see is SRK is as popular as he claims). Find out about the local food. And eating some of it will be a good idea. What is the current topic of discussion amongst people – is it politics, cricket, agriculture, jobs, any of the TV serials, or talk about the cows. What do the youth do for work – is there a trend of going to the cities ? How far are public buildings like schools, colleges, hospitals and how do people commute. Remember that your work does not end with drawings for the day. You must explore by either getting up early and see what the community does, the games children play, the music you will hear (local songs make great ring tones). Explore the houses – not like a spy but see if there is a televisions and if there is then do find out the programs watched, who likes what. (lets hope that Ekta Kapoor has spared them at least). Find out the closest local theater, if there is one, and the kind of movies that play there or is there a culture of folk theatre still existing. See the kitchen and spot if there are brands and specially find out if any local brand catches your fancy. Local brands tend to have manufacturing units in the region and this would give great insights on the history of the place. See how daily objects and utensils are organized, what is the method of cooking (ground based or platform based), types of storage units and smaller house temples and the kind of Gods and Goddesses worshiped. Are there any introduction of new construction materials and how these materials are used? Do they affect the living patterns and quality of spaces? 21

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Some relevant questions Some specific questions that you have to ask the members of the houses you will be visiting

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Name and contact details of the owner of the house How many people live in the house and how are they related? The source of income and the rough monthly expenditure If there are children then their age, if they go to school the standard they study in etc. The age of the house and how did they get to living in the house? Who built it and where did the material came from? If given an opportunity and money what part of the house would they like to modify and why? The one festival when the family is together. Which festivals are celebrated within the house and what changes do they make during that time? What do they do for entertainment and which spaces do they use for it? If they have livestock then how many .Did they borrow money to buy these – if yes then is it a bank or the local money lender and what is the system of repayment and interest level? The work schedule of the women of the house – how early do they get up, what all they do during the day. Do ask the married women about their ‘maika’ and how different is the house they are currently living in. The name of the God that they believe in and why that particular God? Are there any implications of it within interiors? How do they repair the house and their association to the house? What are the changes that are made to the house over a period of time? Any effects of natural calamities on the house and the modifications done due to it. Information about the builders and the current construction practices using traditional techniques.

These questions are just to keep your mind running. If any more come up then you must ask people without hesitation. Just keep in mind that you must be sensitive and at no point mock them, be rude or condescending. 22

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Local term inology an d meanin g s related to interio r and arc hi t ect u r e

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