Indian Vernacular Architecture Of Rajasthan


With time a lot of settlements were developed around the area of rajasthan having different kind of  construction techniques, design features using locally available materials like mud, stone, thatch. Different techniques were evolved to sustain in the hot and humid region.

Each region mostly composed of small villages. Surrounded by a fence of thorns and stacks of chaff the
Rajasthan village is like a small fort. Generally houses in villages are made in mud and locally
available material. But the huts do not have a uniform shape. Mud mixed with dry grass is commonly used for walls and there is thatched roof made of bamboo, grass and twigs. Some houses have roofs made of tiles or unbaked bricks. In Mewar and Bundi, tribal build their houses with wood. In Marwar, the hut is circular and the roof is conical. The floors of the huts are painted deep red and doors have
folk designs and motifs.

In villages walls of houses are made of bricks and plastered with mud mortar. Roof is made up of thatch. Decoration elements are also carved by using mud.


  • Planning:

Houses are provided with small openings as sandy winds generally blows. Rooms are on the periphery of the court. Front has two raised surface (chabootara) on either side of entrance. The door height
is generally 5 feet.

  • Construction:

Walls are made of bricks and plastered in mud mortar. The thatch roof has bamboo as purlins and rafters.


  1. Cob

    Cob is a technique of building monolithic walls using “cobs” of moist earth
    and straw. To make cob  mixing of local earth with sand and/or clay (depending on the composition of the base earth) and straw or other fibrous materials is done to create a stiff mud which is formed into small loaves (cobs). They are then mashed together to form a monolithic wall on top concrete foundation  or stone. It is fireproof, resistant to seismic activity, and inexpensive. It can be used to create artistic, sculptural forms and has been revived in recent years by the natural building and sustainability movements.



       2. Adobe

Adobes are sun-dried mud bricks stacked with a mud mortar to create thick-walled
structures. Adobe bricks are made with a completely saturated mixture of clay and sand , poured or pressed into forms, which are then removed. After the bricks have dried for several days, they are turned on edge for further drying, and then stacked for transport or for use on site.


      3. Earthen Floors

The technique involves pouring or tamping one or several layers of an earth mixture over a substrate of gravel, or sand . Hardening agents such as lime or glue may be added.


• Security in towns was ensured by the means of strong walls and hills.
• The town was divided into wards connected by narrow streets and lanes.
• The temples, wells, gardens and palaces were important parts of these towns.
• Narrow lanes and compact buildings meant  more shade in the pathways and eased movement in extreme climatic conditions.
• Height of buildings is large compared to the street width to create shaded zones on the ground.
• Mostly blank walls and small openings to protect from dusty winds, windows had small perforations and often screened by jaalis.
• Orientation was mainly along east-west
• Havelis were generally located in the region.



•The haveli or residence defined the private space of the people and formed the bulk
of properties in a town.
• Havelis have a common architectural pattern which serves the purpose of utility,
durability, safety and beauty.
•In its simplest form a haveli comprises of a central courtyard with a high building
mass all around.
•Most of the havelis have an outer and an inner chowk (court).
•Havelis can have more than two courtyards also.
•Large number of jharokas and chajjas on the façade
•Deeply carved pattern on the façade


The main entrance or “toran dwar” on a raised plinth defined by a huge gateway
with two gokhas (arched space with pillars) provided access to the haveli.
• The outer poli (transtional space) leads to the outer chowk having a baithak on either side used as a reception and sitting room.
• The inner poli leads to the inner chowk having several sets of rooms known as sal attached to a semi covered space known as tibari.
• Rasoi or kitchen and a parinda or water room are arranged around the chowk.
• There was a separate room where images of family deities were kept for daily worship.

haveli-plan Haveli-section-view

The centre of the courtyard had a small square which was kept kachcha for draining the water
and at times had the Tulasi Chaura (sacred basil).
• Nisherni or stairs provided access to the upper floors. The upper storey consisted of bigger
rooms which were sometimes beautifully painted.
• Small storage spaces called Duchhati were included in the rooms. Chhat or terrace had
structures for storing bedding for sleeping on the terrace.
• A separate nohra or space for facilities like keeping domestic animals and rooms for servants
or guests was also part of the haveli.


•The built form of the haveli continuously evolved. Depending upon affluence and size

of the family the number of chowks or courts in the havelis varied.
•There exist havelis with one, two, three and four courts. However one and two chowk
havelis are most common.

       1. COURTYARDS

The havelis of Rajasthan used chowks and their elements as the perfect architectural response to the state’s diverse culture and climate. A courtyard continues to define the perfect spatial organisation of those times, being the heart of the haveli, it also served as a micro-climate modifier.



In hot climates where cooling is a necessity,buildings with internal courtyards were considered the most appropriate. It acted as a perfect shading technique, while also allowing light inside. The arcade along the court, or the high wall around it, kept the interiors cool.

      3. JHAROKHA

Jharokha is a projecting window from the wall, in an upper floor, overlooking a market, courtyard any other open space decorated with intricate lattice work and carvings. They bring in light and filter out dust because of jaalis and small openings.These openings are shaded with projections covered all around with perforations allows cooling of air. It also helps to shade the building facade.



Shekhawati Haveli- Bhagat Ji Ki Haveli, Nawalgarh, India



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