A four-storied 1000-year-old house called Koti Banal is not only an architectural grandeur but a great example of quake-resistant building technique in Rajgarhi area of Uttarkashi district – a highly earthquake prone areas of Uttarakhand.
There are several such buildings, which are named after the village Koti Banal in Uttarkashi.
The Koti Banal structure has successfully withstood several minor and major earthquakes in the past ten centuries including the 1991 and the 1999 ones that killed around 900 people in the state.
According to experts, Koti Banal architecture is a manifestation of one of the finest traditional earthquake-resistant designs.
Several features of Koti Banal buildings are now being incorporated in the modern earthquake-resistant houses.
Koti Banal structure makes ample and judicious use of locally available building materials such as long thick logs, stones and slates.
The heights of these buildings vary between 7 and 12 metres above the base or plinth area.
“These structures usually have four chaukhats (corners) with five panchapura (storeys),” said Piyoosh Rautela, who has presented a detailed research paper on Koti Banal buildings style.
“The strength of these structures can be gauged from the fact that in 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake, which had 6.6 magnitude with epicentre barely 30 km away, the Koti Banal buildings remained unharmed while several new concrete ones collapsed,” claimed Rautela.