Heritage HutsShilpgramShilpgram UdaipurTraditional Village Huts

Rama Hut – Jaisalmer Rajasthan

This is one of the most interesting and complex hut compounds within Shilpgram. A plain, high stone and mud wall encompasses the main, inner compound, and a somewhat lower, decorated wall runs around it on three’ sides, but enclosed on the fourth side, leaving a passage of variable width. There are two entrances to the outer compound and two to the inner one, in order that goongat (a Hindu version of the better-known Muslim purdah system) can be maintained. A joint family may share a Rama hut compound, and in addition, a separate guest hut is provided, but this is situated in the outer compound, as is a hut for animals. Within the inner compound, the various domestic animals that the family may possess; cows, goats, even a camel would also be accommodated.

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One of the buildings incorporates a workshop, in which members of the family, using camel and goat hair, make carpets. Two other buildings form the sleeping quarters & within the larger one, the family valuables would be kept, plus food stocks such as sugar, oil and grain.  These are generally stored inside a functional, yet decorative mud container, known as a kothi. The interior of this room is intricately decorated with filigree work, executed from a malleable mixture of dung and mud.  Colorful patterns are painted around the doors, in an art form known as mandana.

In the desert communities, where water is extremely precious, elaborate arrangements have to be provided for its storage. This takes the form of a raised, sheltered area, known as agadeli for supporting waterpots. Outside the main door to the inner compound, twin platforms provide an area for socializing; one for the ladies and the other for the men.

Just near the door of the inner courtyard is an area screened by a curtain wall. This is the snaniya, the place for ladies to bathe. The men have to make do with washing outside this gate on their platform. The compound has no toilet facilities, and in fact, none of the huts do, as the acceptable routine is to go and relieve one’s self in the field or in the bushes. The huts within the Rama compound make one of those most interesting exhibits in Shilpgram, and to some extent this compound is regarded the ‘piece-de-resistance’ of the village.

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