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Banni Huts- Kutch, Gujrat

The Meghwal Banni Hut belongs to the Meghwal Community of Kutch, in Western Gujarat.   Constructed on a raised platform, this circular house with its conical roof is known as a “Bhungo”.  Banni huts are shaped in such a way that they can withstand the whirlwinds and stiff breezes that affect the unsheltered plains of this area.

The hut is merely one circular room constructed of sun-dried mud bricks. The roof is supported by a central wooden pillar, together with crossbeams.   Split bamboo provides an inner lining for the roof, whilst the outer surface is thatched with thick local grasses. Apart from the Meghwals, the Rebari tribe and the Maldharis, a Muslim community indigenous to that area, have almost identical housing.

The Maldhari’s huts contain beautiful relief work decorations, sculpted from mud, which is then whitewashed and studded with small mirror mosaics. The same technique has been used in fashioning the Kothi, which is situated in one of the Maldhari huts. Outside the Maldhari huts, a raised platform serves to provide a clean area upon which they can perform namaz (Islamic prayers).

The Meghwal’s huts are also decorated inside. The walls have been treated to a certain amount of the mud relief work decoration, & up in the pointed ceiling, colorful, wavy lines have been painted. The Rebari people, a semi-nomadic tribe,  is another Banni community the favors this type of, structure. It seems that in many of the remote regions, the people have learnt to share many practical ideas and customs, irrespective of  caste or religion.