Arunachal Pradesh landscapes comprise the foothills of the Himalayas and is inhabited mainly by tribes.The hills are dotted with tribal villages all across its 85000 sq km expanse.\nHills and Tribal Villages\nThe village structures\u00a0 are constructed from forest output and they merge in seamlessly with their surroundings.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nInnovative Bamboo Plumbing is used to harness the waters from the many streams. My driver takes a wash.\n\nHouses\nAll houses are on stilts and have thatched roofs. There is one large hall at the center of which is the 3-tier hearth. This hall is the main room and is used for cooking, eating and spending family time. Women do their weaving here in their free time. One or two rooms may surround the hall.\n\n\n\nA community structure that may be used by all villagers to sell their goods such as fruit & weavings\n\n\n\n\n\nA large terrace being used to sun dry rice.\n\n\n\nThe area beneath the structure - where the stilts are- is used to house farm animals\n\n\nBarricades to restrict their movement\n\n\nThe pigs make their way out anyway ...\n\nFeatures of the House Structure\n\nBamboo Stilts\n\n\nThe hearth used exclusively for cooking the Village Headman's food\n\n\nThe staircase - carved out of a single log of wood\n\n\nDetail of each step of the staircase\n\n\nThe floor made using Bainth - that is imilar to Rattan\n\n\nThe ceiling\n\n\nThe interior of the Headman's home\n\n\n\n\nThe headman in his home\n\n\nCow dung caked onto the cane structure as wall plaster\n\n\nThe balcony\n\n\n\nAn elderly couple in their balcony\n\n\nThe outdoor wash room\n\n\nThe Washroom - 2\n\nUnique Elements of\u00a0 Arunachal Tribal Living \u2013 The Morung:\n\nThe Morung or village community hall\n\nThe youth dorm or the \u201cMorung\u201d is an interesting social concept that is an integral part of the lifestyle of many hilltribes, not only in Arunachal Pradesh but also the general geographical region.\n\u00a0A Morung is a community hall where the young \u2013 post puberty \u2013 spend the night, after living and working with their parental families throughout the day. Young boys and girls mingle and learn social norms and spend time pursuing life skills training together. Understanding develops between boys and girls and courtship followed by marriage is the result. The Morung , also called the Longshim is often located near the chief\u2019s house.\n\n***\nUnique Elements of\u00a0 Arunachal Tribal Living \u2013 The Boys Room:\n\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 The Room for adolescent boys outside the main house\nAnother interesting feature seen is the outdoor room for young adolescent boys. This is a stand-alone room just a few metres away from the family house. This affords young boys the privacy they need at this age.\n\n\nBoy's room - 2\n\n***\nUnique Elements of\u00a0 Arunachal Tribal Living \u2013 The Granary Complex:\n\nThe Granary complex\n\nThe family homes made of cane and other highly inflammable materials are at the risk of major fires that burn down the entire house \u2013 especially with the fire based cooking that takes place on the floor of the house. I was told that every year at least one house burns down in every village.\u00a0 To minimise the loss of wealth \u2013 which is held mainly as food stores harvested fro the year \u2013 the family constructs a granary in a separate part of the village. The paddy harvest and other valuables are stocked there. Each family has their own granary unit.\nGiven the materials being used for construction, a sealed unit is not possible. As stored paddy attracts rats that could consume the entire stock in no time, innovative methods were required to prevent their access to the grain.\nStilts are no deterrents to rats who can race up vertical bamboos with ease.\n\n\u00a0Granary on stilts\n\nAnd so they came up with a device that is fitted at the top of the stilts \u2013 a disc that is concave.\n\n\nOnce he reaches the top of the stilt, the rat has no choice but to traverse the concave disc whose outer edges are lower than the inner edges. In doing so, the rat must hang upside down, and the angle of the concavity makes it worse. He falls. Every single time. And is unable to reach the grain stored in the room above these discs.\nNo need for poisons or any other forms of rat deterrents. Just a simple structural device \u2013 no repeated costs and no damage to nature.\nInnovation at its best!\nFurther these stores of wealth are completely unguarded \u2026. this is unimaginable and completely impossible in my urban context. This again goes to prove that these tribes are way more evolved in their living than any other group of people I have met in.\n***\nUnique Elements of\u00a0 Arunachal Tribal Living \u2013 The unique 3 \u2013 tiered kitchen hearth:\nAs temperatures in the hills are low, it is important to utilise every little bit of heat that is available. The fire that is used to cook the food also gives off heat in other directions that is generally un-used and wasted. But in the tribal homes, the kitchen structure is designed to use as much as possible.\nWoven Bainth mats are hung above the fireplace in 2 additional layers. The heat from the fire and the pots rises up to heat and dry grain and smoke meats to preserve them for long term use. Tribes all across \u2013 Galo, Apatani and others all have this innovation in their kitchens that adds to the energy efficiency.\n\n\n\n\n\nThe 3 tiered Kitchen hearth\n\n\n\n\n\nThe bottom level of the 3-tiered hearth where the main cooking takes place\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe middle tier of the hearth\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe top tier of the hearth \u2013 usually millet is spread on a mat on that level to dry it completely\n\n\n\n\n\n\nSmoking Meat - the meat is hung vertically on one side of the hearth\n\n\n\n\n\n\nOther Elements of the home:\n\n\nA 1 sq foot hole in the cane floor serves as a spot to wash hands and drain the water\n\nA stag head trophy in the headman's home\n\n\nBison head trophies at the entrance of the home\n\n\nBoar Tusks - still a part of the skull - used as wall hangers\n\n\n\nBird house\n\n\n\n\nChicken Coups for the night\n\n\nA device for yarn spinning\n\n\nNet used for fishing in the village ponds\n\n\nLarge mortar-pestle used for Paddy husk removal\n\n\nBaskets of varying weaves for different purposes\n\n\nLadles for serving Millet based alcohol\n\n\nMade from a hollow plant\n\n\nTrophies\n\n\nBison Horn trophy\n\n\n\n\nMillet\n\nBuilding a House\nTo build a house, one needs land, raw materials, equipment and labour.\nThe land is community land alloted to the village and no one needs to buy a piece of land. It may be used as long as one is living. The raw materials come from the forest. The only equipment they use is the Dho \u2013 the mulitpurpose weapon. And the labour is themselves and their community.\nThe financial cost is rupees is Zero.\n\nThe Raw Material : Bamboo\n\n\nFlattening the Bamboo with a dho\n\n\n\nCommunity working together\n\nPeople cooperate and collaborate with others and build villages together \u2013 literally.\nSUMMARY\nThe people live in harmony with nature and with each other. So many examples of creative and innovative solutions to solve their problems are seen in their lifestyles \u2013 not only in their housing. A very poignant example of creativity \u2013 is the custom in Apatani tribe : to prevent their beautiful women from getting kidnapped by the neighbouring tribe \u2013 they tattooed the faces of the women! This radically creative solution is covered in the article on Apatani face tattoos linked below:\nGlimpses of a contented People\nHunter-Gatherer-Weavers\n\u00a0A chance encounter with a Shaman Priest during a sacrifice ritual\nThe Gaanv Boodhas or Village Headmen of Arunachal Pradesh\nTribal signatures \u2013 Face Tattoos of the Apatanis\nFierce Nocte Headhunters\nHead Hunting Trophies\njm\nDecember 2011\n\n\nThe post Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 2 : Innovative housing appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.