architecture
Feb 172 min read

Kutch Bhungas: Gujarat's Mud Architecture

written by

Shivani Chougula

Discovering Kutch Bhungas: Gujarat's Mud Homes


Nestled in the vibrant and culturally rich region of Gujarat, Kutch is renowned for its unique architectural heritage, notably the traditional dwellings known as "Bhungas."

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These circular mud huts are not just shelters but embodiments of local wisdom, designed to withstand the region's harsh climate and seismic activity while reflecting the vibrant culture of the inhabitants.


Planning Principles:

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The planning of Kutch Bhungas is rooted in centuries-old principles of sustainability and functionality. Typically circular, these houses are strategically positioned to maximize ventilation and natural light while offering protection from the scorching sun and strong winds prevalent in the region.


Construction of Roof:

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The construction of a Bhunga's roof follows a meticulous process that begins with the placement of wooden beams forming the structure's framework. A central kingpost is then installed over the beam to provide additional support. Rafters are carefully positioned to create the desired shape, and the roof is assembled using locally sourced materials such as straw or thatch. Once the roof is complete, it is gently placed over the rafters and secured in place using ropes, creating a sturdy and weather-resistant shelter.


Wall Paintings:

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One of the most striking features of Kutch Bhungas is their intricate wall paintings, known as "Lippan Kaam." This traditional art form involves the use of mud and mirrors to create intricate patterns and designs, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the region. Each painting tells a story, celebrating themes of nature, spirituality, and community.


Window Designs:

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Window designs in Kutch Bhungas are both functional and decorative, allowing for airflow while maintaining privacy and security. Typically adorned with intricately carved wooden frames, these windows are positioned to capture scenic views while protecting the interior from harsh weather conditions.


Earthquake Resistance:

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Despite their humble appearance, Kutch Bhungas are remarkably resilient to seismic activity, thanks to their unique construction techniques. The circular shape and low height of the dwellings minimize the impact of earthquakes, while the flexible mud walls and thatched roofs absorb and dissipate vibrations, ensuring the safety of inhabitants during tremors.

Conclusion: The Kutch Bhungas stand as a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of the local communities in Gujarat. Beyond their architectural significance, these dwellings embody a way of life deeply connected to the land, culture, and traditions of the region. As we celebrate their beauty and craftsmanship, let us also recognize the importance of preserving and honoring these timeless treasures for generations to come.


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Shivani Chougula

Shivani Chougula

An architect navigating the intersection of Art and Architecture.