A Shelter So High

This lesson is based on a documentary by Gaurav Jani. The title of the documentary is Riding Solo to the Top of the World. Gaurav traveled alone from Mumbai to Ladakh on his bike, and made this documentary. Gaurav Jani got many awards for this film.

What is a house?

A structure where people live is called a house. What is a home? A home is a place where you live. A home is a place where you feel comfortable. A home is a place where you have been living since childhood. A person can have many houses but all of them cannot be his home.

Why Do We Need a House? A house protects us from rain, sun and cold. A house also protects us from ferocious animals.



History of House

When man hunted animals and gathered fruits for food, he lived in caves. Historians have found many caves, where man lived thousands of years ago. People made beautiful paintings on the walls and roofs of such caves. Many of those paintings survive even today.

When man started farming, then he started to make permanent houses.

Temporary and Permanent House

Traditional Tent of Changpa Tribe

Some people build temporary houses, while some others build permanent houses. The Changpa tribe of Ladakh build temporary houses. The Changpas don't live at one place. They move from one place to another along with their goats, sheep and yaks. They live in tents. The design of their tents is more than a thousand years old. There is a hole on top of the tent so that smoke can easily go out. The tent of the Changpa is called Rebo in their language. The tent is very big and many people can live in it. Once inside the Rebo, you feel comfortable even in biting cold weather of Ladakh.

The Changpas keep yak for meat and for carrying luggage. They keep goat and sheep for wool, milk and meat.

Other people of Ladakh live in permanent houses. Their traditional house is made of stone. One stone is kept over another to make a wall. The wall is coated with mud and lime. There are two floors in the house. People generally live on the first floor. But when weather becomes too cold, people go to the ground floor. The ground floor has no windows. People store many items in the house, like dried vegetables and fruits, dung-cake, firewood, etc.


House in Srinagar

Traditionaal House in Kashmir

The houses in Srinagar are different than houses in Ladakh. Traditional houses in Srinagar are built of stone. But they are more ornate than houses of Ladakh. The houses are made of wood, stones and bricks. Arches are beautifully designed. Some houses have special types of windows which come out of the house. They are similar to balcony. But the balcony is covered in this case. It is beautifully decorated with engravings. These windows are called dab in local language.

Many people in Srinagar live in houseboats which keep floating on Dal Lake. Houseboats are quite big and a family can easily live in such houses. These are called donga in local language.


Houses in Assam

Stilt House of Assam

People of Assam build houses on stilts. Bamboo is copiously used in construction of houses, because bamboo is abundant in Assam. This part of the country gets too much rain and flood. So, a house on stilt prevents floodwater from entering the house. These houses are called chang ghar in local language.



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