Uttarakhand to showcase quake-safe houses

  • Prithviraj Singh, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Feb 11, 2016 14:24 IST
An earthquake-resistant traditional house at Koti Banal area in Uttarkashi. (HT photo)

The Uttarakhand tourism department will replicate the age-old multi-storey earthquake safe houses built by the people in the hill areas to showcase their architecture.

The first replica of wooden hill houses will be developed in Dehradun.

As per tourism department officials, the main aim is to showcase the architecture of multi-storey wooden hill houses that have proved to be earthquake safe as they withstood the devastating Uttarkashi earthquake in 1999. The department has decided to get the technical aspects of these buildings’ architecture, better known as Koti Banal architecture, documented by the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) Roorkee. The tourism department has started consultation with CBRI.

“In all likelihood, the first replica of the earthquake safe building will be created in Dehradun in the upcoming museum of the state tourism department.

It’s for the world to see and learn about these housing styles in a more elaborate manner,” said Shailesh Bagoli, secretary, state tourism department.

Bagoli said that initiative to showcase these more than 900-year-old houses was taken following the direction given by the chief minister to widen the scope of tourism activities and display the earthquake safe strength of Koti Banal building architecture. After Dehradun, Koti Banal building structures will be displayed in other parts of the state to attract tourists. These buildings are named for their location at Koti Banal village and adjoining areas of Uttarkashi district.

The multi-storey fully wooden structures are known for their layouts, construction on large raised platforms, single heavy wooden beams from bottom to top and dexterous usage of locally available building materials.

A study by the state disaster mitigation and management centre has said that representative structures of this architecture are deteriorating fast for the lack of patronage, resources and awareness amongst the masses as to their significance.

The study had suggested that these structures need to be conserved as heritage structures of the state.

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