Human settlements respond to history and geography, which shape society, culture and civilization, occupation etc. This can be directly related to Indian scenario- a trip from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Gujarat to Nagaland highlights the difference in patterns, designs and raw materials used for construction of houses. Designs change over time, as seen from the palaces of maharajas of Rajasthan that had been built centuries back and the modern apartments in the same place. Geography displays that housing styles differ from one state to the other, as a reflection of changing climatic conditions.
Let us analyse it from the angle of geography. Make a short trip to the states receiving heavy rainfall. Western coastal states including Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, and all the eight North-eastern states mostly prefer gabled roof and ceiling works. In western coastal states, they normally use mud tiles for the roof, with well-ventilated rooms.
Towards north of the country, concreted apartments are mostly seen; due to high population, geographical land area does not allow to construct independent houses. When it comes to hill stations, be it in South India or in North, mostly Victorian style is followed by sprinkling light shades to the houses. Otherwise, in other hilly areas, people adopt a dispersed pattern, as the physiography does not permit them to settle in clusters.
In desert area, say Rajasthan, walls are made thick in order to keep the rooms cool. Here, houses do have flat roof, as they receive very less amount of rainfall; moreover, people sprinkle water over the roof to keep it cool. In the chilled state of Jammu and Kashmir, mostly timber based buildings are preferred, taking into consideration the earthquake factor. In coastal areas, those who are engaged in fishing make thatched huts.
As we all know India as a “salad bowl of cultures”, this is reflected in the housing styles as well. But, with the headway of life, more and more people are perching into city life, and living in flats. Thus, the city culture has spurred the adoption of concrete buildings throughout the country in recent years.