Heritage HutsShilpgramShilpgram UdaipurTraditional Village Huts

Sam Hut – Thar Desert, Rajasthan

This large, single-storeyed dwelling is of the type used by middle-class families living in the desert village of Sam, near Jaisalmer. The rooms open directly off three sides of a spacious, rectangular courtyard, and are protected from the fierce rays of the sun and the driving monsoon rains by a wide verandah. A noteworthy feature of the house is the yellow Jaisalmer stone of which the carved pillars are made. The flat roof of the hut is designed so that it can be walked upon, and a flight of steps provides access. It is supported by timbers, which are then crossed with sticks of with Kair wood (Kair is a local shrub), and then plastered on the upper side with meti, a type of clay. The kair wood doors of the Sam hut are exceptionally small; mostly to minimize the problem of sand being blown in during dust storms, and also because the walls provide better insulation from the extreme desert climate than do doors.

As with many of tribes in this part of India, there is a system of segregation of the sexes. The guest room in the front corner of the courtyard has a separate entrance from outside. This will enable a male guest to use the room without having to enter the courtyard where the ladies of the house may stand in front of the pillar be present.

One other feature that is present in many Hindu homes is the tulsi bush. The tulsi, with its medicinal qualities, is revered in the Hindu faith and given a place of honor in a Hindu home- The short, column-like container in the Sam hut is called a tulsi kara, and it is treated with the reverence of a shrine.