In 1905, a dangerous earthquake rocked the panorama of Himachal Pradesh, an Indian state within the western Himalayas. Robust-looking concrete structures toppled like homes of playing cards. The one surviving constructions had been in cities the place the citizens had used an historic, conventional Himalayan development method referred to as kath kuni.
On a heat Tuesday afternoon, I used to be headed against one in all them: Naggar Citadel, which used to be constructed greater than 500 years in the past because the seat of the area’s tough Kullu kings, and which remained status, unscathed, after that calamity.
Officials from the Geological Survey of India had been amazed via the loss of seismic injury to the fort and different kath kuni houses within the earthquake’s radius. “This, to start with sight, gave the impression unnatural as a result of the it appears reasonably top-heavy building of the homes… till one got here to understand the herbal resisting energy in their timber-bonded partitions,” they wrote.
The fort is likely one of the maximum beautiful final examples of the development taste, however kath kuni homes had been built on this area for hundreds of years. The design is recognisable via its layered interlocking of deodar picket (a kind of Himalayan cedar) with in the neighborhood sourced stone, with out using mortar. Naggar Citadel is now a lodge and vacationer enchantment, however its rustic partitions – flat-stacked gray stones alternating with earth-toned planks of picket – are evidence that some issues are undying.
As a design, kath kuni is inventive. “Deodar picket and stone create a impressive steadiness and composition in combination,” stated Rahul Bhushan, architect and founder at NORTH, a Naggar-based structure and design studio operating to maintain the development method via building initiatives, workshops, artist residencies and homestays. “Stone offers weight to the construction, leading to a low centre of gravity, and picket holds the construction in combination, because of its flexibility.”