The Arsh of the Toda People in India

 
   
 
 
 


In the Nilgiri hills of Taml Nadu, India live the Toda people in rolling meadows and shola forests. This is an example of their architecture, known as an Arsh. Two arches made of long bunches of bamboo are lashed together with cane. The arches support eleven Podh, strong poles running the length of the building. At 1ft (30cm) intervals a hoop of bamboo is lashed over the podh forming a ribcage. On this sticks are tied horizontally forming laths to which rows of thatch are lashed.

 
 

Toda People, a documentary by Louis Malle. Click the video button above
 

 
       

To give a grand look to the facade a cylindrical bunch of hay is attached. The interior is windowless and dark consisting of a single space. A raised earthen platform takes up much of one side for sitting and sleeping. A fire is kept farthest from the small door, typically 2ft 6" (75cm) high. The fire, which smokes continuously, is key to protection from the weather and termites. You can see more pictures and read here about Toda architecture.

 

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