• The Bhonga is a
construction type in
the Kutch district of
the Gujarat state in
India, which has a
very high earthquake
• A Bhonga consists
of a single
Bhunghas are located in the gulf of
Kutchh region. The circular highlighted
areas denote the locations of Bhungha
Fig. 1: A typical Bhungha ,
Fig. 2: A circular Bhungha type (elevation), A rectangular Bhungha type
Otla in front
Fig. 1: A typical Bhungha ,
Vernacular Design interventions
The platforms are closely
placed and the residual
spaces between them act
as pathways for
movement . Thorny
bushes envelop the
settlement and act as
fence or protective shield
against the hot winds
and dust storms.
On arrival from the
highway one only finds
grass fence and the
thatched roofs against
Thatched roof contructed of straw and timber, he roofing
materials are generally very light weight, and develops
low inertia forces.
A typical Bhunga
Deep overhang of the
circular houses The platform acts as a
Architectural Style: Vernacular Kutchhi
The circular mud house is an integration of exact geometry and property of materials for the climatic
conditions to evolve a perfect architectural form of the house . The materials used are locally
available and habitants themselves build the house. The circular plan efficiently compares the square
plan where the perimeter to enclosed area ratio is lower than the circular house. The skill, brilliance
and aesthetics in building the house is the cumulative traditional knowledge of successive
generations added up to result in intelligent built forms.
Due to circular shape of wall in plan, inertial forces
developed in wall are resisted through shell action providing
excellent resistance to lateral forces.
• In addition, the thick walls required for thermal insulation
have high in-plane stiffness which provides excellent
performance under lateral loads.
Fig. 1: Flow
of air acc.
Fig. 2: thick walls for thermal
insulation, high plane stiffness which
provides excellent performance under
flow of wind
shaft of a
Cyllindrical walls and
Mangalore tiles roof Shape of the plan
huts with thatched roofs
Modern Bhunga hutsAddition of the
Evolution of the
elevation and plan
Evolution of the
doors of the
Interior view of the
windows of Bhungas
Exterior view of the
windows of the
For the design of wall decorations, the walls of the bhunga are covered with
a paste made of
donkey dung, earth and Fevicol (a glue). Decorative patterns are incorporated
onto this surface. For colors, minerals are extracted from a dam near Khavda. These
offer a range of five colors: ochre, red, brown, white and dark gray. The minerals are
milled, mixed with water and used to paint the walls of the bhungas. Inside, the mural
relief decorations are accompanied by functional elements such as niches and
3. Roof construction ranges from the simple to the very
4. functional elements such as niches and shelves
Often the wall is decorated with small mirrors. These mirrors that decorate the
walls inside the bhunga also serve to multiply the light. The design on the walls
hence appears to be similar to
refined embroidery on traditional textiles and garments.
Interior and Exterior Decoration
2. Folk painting art
on elevation of
walls as exterior
The analogy between paintings on the walls and furniture and Embroidery on traditional clothes is stunning and it
is interesting how communities distinguish themselves through different decorative patterns, used both in
clothing and in wall ornamentations.
1. Lippan art on
elevation of walls
1.IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF BHUNGA, RAW
MATERIALS THAT ARE EASILY AVAILABLE IN KUTCH.
2.The materials are such that the bhungas are well
3.Modification to Building Recent Bhungas
constructions have used wide variety of construction
materials. These include the stone or burnt brick
masonry either in mud mortar or in cement mortar.
Sikki leaves bamboo
Mud stones water
DOORS, WINDOWS AND
1. Traditional roof consists of light-weight conical roof,
while some recent constructions have used heavy
Mangalore tiles on roofs.
2. Though essentially unchanged, a few homes have
roofs instead of thatch. Platform drains off water
gathers because of the impervious soil, even
rainfall is meager.
Mud bricks cow dung
Foundation and Boundary walls
The components required for the
construction of walls and
a) Clayey soil and rice husk for
b) Cement mortar used for
c) Earth sourced from BANNI, cow
dung and local earth for plaster.
Earth and rubble stones for filling the platform -otla -Production
stages of mud blocks are as follows:
1. A trench 30 cm deep and 45 cm wide is dug. The process of laying
the blocks is locally called chanter.
2. Walls are raised on foundations, using cow dung plus local mud
mortar, mixed with water to make the compound workable.
3. Lintels and doors and window frames are inserted where
4. A platform-otla-is then built using rubble stone and earth, up to a
height of about 45 cm. (This is completed by a thin layer of mud,
called Lipan, which is applied also on the walls of the Bhunga to
protect them at the base. Building of Building of a sun dried earth
The mixture for the plaster layer, locally called gobar Lipan, is made
with cow dung and local mud. Water is added to improve its
workability. A first layer is applied on the outer surface of the wall, and
smoothed using hands. It takes about a day to complete it, and then
another layer is applied on the inner surface. These inner and outer
layers are alternated, up to seven layers applied on both surfaces of
the wall. The last layer of Lipan is done using earth sourced from
Banni and cow
Mud brick wall
Trench filled with stone
Kutchh, Bhunga Construction
The components required for roof’s construction are:
•One horizontal beam (diameter 15 to 18 cm).
•A base for the vertical kingpost - patli - size 5x7x25
•A central kingpost (ranging from 180 to 270 cm, diameter 10
•A cone - MANN - at the top of the kingpost (diameter 40 cm, 45
•Babool wood rafters forming the backbone of the roof – VALI –
(having a diameter between 6 365 cm long)
•Culms of split bamboo which constitute the secondary warping -
KHAPATIS – (diameter 2 .5 cm, length 365 cm).
•Rope - KATHI -, (1.25 cm thick. 30 kg of rope are required).
•Straw - KHEEP – (for roofing).
• Bhunga are never "designed" in the modern context. However, Bhunga
architecture is a very unique aspect of traditional desert architecture of
Kutch region in which the size, location and orientation of the Bhunga are
planned for very good structural and functional results.
• The entire construction process, which is carried out by the mason with
very few unskilled laborers, can be completed within 30 days.
• The construction of this type of housing takes place in a single phase.
• Typically, the building is originally designed for its final constructed size.
Section of a bhunga
Kutchh, Socio Cultural Character
Circular houses on a platform around the central street acting as a space for community
interaction. Next to the Bhunga, but never set against it,
there is usually a small rectangular building, called chowki, which presents small variations:
the largest chowki are used as living spaces, and smaller as kitchens.
Smaller units, about one and a half meter high, not very well shaped and devoid of roof are
sometimes set against the Bhunga. These units are used as functional spaces for storage or
Communities of Kutchh
Kutch district is inhabited by various groups and communities. One can find various nomadic,
semi nomadic and artisan groups living in Kutch. Gujarati Ahirs comprise a comparatively
large group in Kutch.
Bhunga in clusters
Open space made for local gatherings
Canopy of Bhunga
THE FORM OF BHUNGA IS AN EXTROVERT FORM AS THE
PEOPLE USE VARIOUSBRIGHT COLOURS AND DECORATIVE
ITEMS WHICH IN TURN ATTRACT PEOPLE. THE FORM THESE
PEOPLE USE I.E. THE CYLINDRICAL FORM WHICH HELPS IN
VARIOUS REASONS FOR THE SURVIVAL OF BHUNGA
ESPECIALLY IN DESERT AREA.
VIBRANT COLORS ARE USED TO PAINT
THE OUTSIDE AS WELL AS THE INSIDE OF
THE BHUNGA. THESE ARE THE
TRADITIONAL COLORS WHICH ARE
BRIGHT, EARTHY AND COMPOSITE.
THE MATERIALS USED BY THE KUTCHCHHI
PEOPLE TO BUILT BHUNGA DEFINE THE
TEXTURES. THE WALLS OF BHUNGA GETS
WITH THE ROUGH AND HARD FINISH WITH
FOLK ART OVER IT.
THE STREET TO THE BUILDING RATIO IS MORE THAN 1 IN
MOST OF THE CASES THUS BHUNGAS DOESN’T HELP IN
SHADING THE STREETS AND THUS THE HOT, DRY AND ARID
CLIMATE DOES BLOW UO THE STREETS TOO.
STREET TO THE HOUSE RATIO
Layout of Bunga Clusters
Bhungas placed in cluster around a central street
PROPORTIONS OF BHUNGA:
COLORS AND TEXTURE