The Magical Essence of Kath Kuni Architecture in Himachal Pradesh

Hill architecture has its own essence and beauty. As you explore the unseen and hidden locations in hill regions, especially in upper Himachal Pradesh, you will definitely come across some of these Kath Kuni Architecture based structures.

Kath Kuni Architecture

A magical display of Kath Kuni Architecture is evidently visible in Cheni Kothi, a small non descript village in the Tirthan valley of Kullu district. A first glimpse of the same will definitely leave you awestruck and you will be bewildered by the site and the architectural richness that is on display in this Kath Kuni Architecture styled temple complex.

These structures can be considered to be having long life. If a breakup of the Kath and Kuni is done, you will find that Kath means wood and Kuni means corner, which itself explains the essence of the entire structure.

These Kath Kuni Architecture based structures have stood the test of time as it is made from dry masonry and wood beam layers which have been placed without use of any cement like structure. The structure is so strong evidently that it can also survive earthquakes, as the temple complex has done in the past too.

Kath Kuni Architecture
Image Courtesy: Shapedia

Mingles with the surrounding ambiance

Another unique aspect of structures based on Kath Kuni Architecture is that while stone corners have been used to offer protection to wood beams, the use of a wood peg helps in keeping the wooden beam in place. Small stones fill the gap between the wood beams that keep the place warm in winters and cool in summers.

The roof has been aesthetically made from slate that mingles well with the surrounding. Adding to the beauty is projecting balconies that are made from locally available deodar wood. An interesting mix of stone and wood work on the walls lends all the required beauty making the structure look truly spectacular and marvelous.

The stone roof in these structures has been designed in such a manner that it slants down. This serves two purposes. One it reduces the load that a flat roof would have put on the beams. Secondly, as it snows heavily during winter months and cleaning the snow is a cumbersome process, with slanting roofs in place, the snow slides down on its own.

Image Courtesy:

If you are not able to go to this remote village to witness the richness of Kath Kuni Architecture another display of this magical essence is available at the popular Naggar Castle near Manali which is also based on the same concept. These buildings have stood the test of time and are indeed a testimony of the architectural brilliance of the designers who carved out such beautiful structures without much fanfare.

The next time around, you are on a trip to Himachal Pradesh, do take some time out to admire the architectural brilliance of Kath Kuni Architecture which once was the soul of the hill region of Indiabut vanished eventually. Luckily, we have some relics in form of Naggar Castle, Cheni Kothi temple and a few more that are waiting to be rediscovered and admired for their uniqueness.

Do leave your comments and let me know if you would like to read about more of such hidden and less popular places and people!

Author: Lovnish Thakur

Development Sector Professional who loves to read, write and travel

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