India has a valuable asset of traditional building practices that have revolutionised into regular building practices and have been influenced by the geo-spatial, cultural diversity that can only be found in India. This not so little lineage of natural resources has been overly exploited by the generations and has led to new degradational qualities in nature.
The ancient architecture was pleasantly sustainable and gave value to mother nature in a way that houses were constructed without pollution from brick kilns or disposal of toxic water into the sea. They were made from natural resources of the earth by using handmade techniques that have helped those constructions prevail over many centuries.
Being natural products, those materials in the ancient period had natural balance and were stable in a wider range of environmental conditions whereas synthetic materials are stable within the specified conditions. This may be one of the reasons, why the ancient buildings are in good shape even today after so many harsh years of exposure.
LIME PRACTICES IN INDIA
In ancient times, lime has been the most indispensable material that can be used as a binding material that will remain as solid as iron when mixed in combining blocks of cement and other building materials. Building made using lime has surpassed centuries of harsh weathering conditions.
The knowledge of this material is written in our Puranas which have incorporated the use of lime in ancient Mughal paintings and the construction of the royal darbars.
It was used in varying quantities in masonry walls, domes, arches, bridges, water bodies, protective plaster layers and decorative works such as stucco, profile plaster, painting and
finishing work. building lime was traditionally prepared by firing calcium carbonate at 900°C, the raw ingredients of which include limestone, marls Kankar lime, seashells and chalk.
EARTH-BASED BUILDING PRACTICES
Today's construction methods are much more scientifically invigorating and modern in the sense that we skyscraper buildings that hang as tall as 18 feet in the sky and malls that deliver a world of experience, however, these methods have not come that easy when it comes to sustainability.
Traditional building methods were apt for the families and sufficiently distributed in the areas of civilisation along water beds. However, their building materials were more commonly theli or bags of course sand, lime and earthen building materials like clay combined with water and binding material to make houses and civilisation. Recently such earthen house construction has been scientifically proven to efficiently tackle the climate and be sustainable for the environment.
Timber can be named the oldest building material in construction. Timber has been extensively used in roofing and building structures to make strongholds and give support to the walls.
Timber can be found in many varieties like Teak, Rosewood, Sal, Sandalwood, Sheesham, Oak, Pine, Jack, Irul, Mahua, Deodar, Mahogany, Mango, Neem, Palm as well as a host of locally available varieties.
Timber goes well with the humid and dry climates of India and is used thoroughly in parts of central and southern Indian establishments. However, since Timber is an organic product it has the tendency to decay and rot over time. The price of timber and procurement has increased over the years due to the over-extraction of forests for wood.
Jaali is an Indian term for stone lattice screens used as punctures in the wall surface in ornamental or geometrical patterns extensively in Indian architecture, especially in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The physical function of a jaali is to reduce the amount of light admitted inside and to cut out its blinding glare. It also allows the passage of air but arrests powerful gusts, essentially making it a climate control device for various regions in India. Although the jaali was majorly used as an aesthetic element in the built form, it had a major effect with respect to interior daylighting.
Glazed tiles are like the embellishment of the fabric of architecture. Glazed tiles in India have their separate market and popularity. India is a world-renowned market for handmade tiles of different beautiful patterns, shapes and sizes that are often utilised in the contemporary interiors to make the interiors shine. The technique for glazed tiles probably travelled from Iran to India with the Kushanas. Between the 12th and the 15th centuries, the art of tile work was imported into India from Persia, during the Delhi Sultanate period