Courtyards are to traditional Indian homes what a soul is to a human body. An inseparable part of our olden homes, a courtyard goes by many names and boasts of many benefits. Although, dryly described as an enclosed space which is open to the sky and surrounded by a structure, when we ponder upon Indian architecture, we find a courtyard is really a world of its own within a home.
Starting out around 6500-6000 BC in the era of the Indus Valley Civilization, Indian courtyards have surely come a long way. Molded in accordance to its locale’s climate and culture, the mythology of a courtyard changes as it travels across India. Below we briefly discuss various aspects of Indian courtyards and their impact on our homes.
A Cultural Place
To list, Britain, Egypt, China, Iran, Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan and India is to name just a few countries where traditional homes have courtyards. It seems courtyards are in the human civilization’s DNA and they have evolved uniquely the world over by absorbing the defining qualities of their regions. By putting the traditional Indian courtyards in the spotlight, we discover that they have performed many different roles in our residences such as being the home of the sacred Tulsi (Basil) and a place of worship, to being a venue for a family marriage, gathering or a festival, to being a site for a Havan (offering prayers to God in front of fire) and other rituals, to being a setting for a beautiful garden and home-grown fruits and vegetables etc. [Read more…]