Directory of Traditional Building Crafts

In India, there has been a long tradition of master mason and artisans and it is indeed these individuals and groups to whom India’s spectacular heritage is credited. With these rests a large repository of traditional and vernacular skills of knowledge related to building crafts.

It is the CCHD’s endeavour to document the traditional building craft skills and identify these artisans and create a database that can be accessed by architects, builders, designers, and other individuals that can utilise their skills.

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Some features


Lime Mortar and Plaster- JAISALMER                                                                                                       

Lime mortar and Lime renders have traditionally been used to give protection to walls built with stone or porous bricks or mud especially in locations facing driving winds. Lime mortar was used to construct some of the world’s most renowned buildings.

In Jaisalmer, time-honoured practices were based on tradition, folklore and trade knowledge, vindicated by the vast number of old buildings that still remain standing. Only during the last few decades has empirical testing provided a scientific understanding of its remarkable durability. Conservationists prefer to use lime for the repair and restoration of heritage structures.

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Stone carving- JAISALMER

The story of Jaisalmer would be incomplete without a mention of the creative genius of its skilled stone carvers and their exquisite craftsmanship. The creative precision of the stone carvers brings a nuance in the drab environs of the desert city.

The true beauty of Jaisalmer lies in the richness of its stone carvings and ornamentation exhibiting a plethora of floral patterns intermingled with innumerable geometric motifs. The exquisitely carved façades and intricately patterned screens serve to diffuse the harsh desert sunlight while allowing fresh air to enter.

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The Madras Terrace Roof

The Madras terrace roofing is a traditional roof building technique using handmade ‘achikal’ brick, wood and lime plaster. The word ‘achi’ regionally means ‘half’ therefore this locally produced ‘achikal’ brick is essentially a half brick, in terms of thickness.

The system is commonly used for small spans, where wooden beams are laid at intervals of less than 45cm. The next layer consists of masonry laid on edge, across in a diagonal fashion, held together with lime plaster. The design is an interpretation of basic traditional architectural patterns to suit modern needs, while searching for a ‘timeless’ architecture which is beyond the ‘new’ and ‘inventive’.

Click here to view the documentary.