Why Are Houses In Assam Built On Stilts?

Since ancient times, Assamese people have been building their houses on stilts. As the region experiences heavy rainfall and thunderstorms between May to August, people have adopted this practice as a precautionary measure to protect their houses and domestic animals during floods. Read more to find out how it helps.
Why Are Houses In Assam Built On Stilts?
Why Are Houses In Assam Built On Stilts?

The practice of building houses on stilts started long ago. Like many other civilizations in the world, Assamese people too settled near the river during the olden days. That is because the soil is usually fertile, and they can easily use river water for irrigation. But there was one major problem that the inhabitants of Assam continue to face every year to date. i.e Floods

Houses in Assam built on stilts to avoid the monsoon floods and also because it is an earthquake-prone area.

Houses In Assam Built On Stilts
Houses In Assam Built On StiltsPratidin Time

Before the invention of the radio and other broadcasting mediums, people didn't exactly know when the river would flood. So they figured out that building their houses on top of stilts will improve their safety, especially if they are unprepared.

Nowadays, people are alerted about adverse weather via various mediums. But even then, unpredicted floods can easily occur due to the breaking of embankments. And so, the practice continues among many communities that live near water bodies.

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The floods are very strong and can sometimes rise to 12 meters high. The houses built on stilts are not just for the safety of the people living in them. They are also for the safety of the animals that live around them.

Houses In Assam Built On Stilts
Houses In Assam Built On StiltsKartik Kumar S@

Similarly, our ancestors were clever enough to understand that building houses on stilts reduces the impact of earthquake tremors on the main building.

Benefits of building houses on stilts

  1. A house constructed on stilts will by default be taller than the neighboring homes and, in some locations, may even tower over the trees. This will allow you to see a large portion of the area in the distance and provide a lovely perspective of the natural surroundings around you.

  2. Secondly, In the rainy season, water can easily seep into the ground and cause houses to get flooded. The houses are built on stilts to avoid flooding.

  3. Stilt houses are also great in protecting the house from damage caused by earthquakes. As Assam falls in a high-danger zone, building houses on stilts can assure that no loss of property will occur during moderate earthquakes. 

  4. The houses are built on stilts to avoid the spread of some water-borne diseases during floods, which can occur through direct contact with contaminated water. 

  5. Since stilt homes are elevated above the ground, cool air can enter beneath the structure, keeping the interior of the home cooler overall.

  6. It also prevents the entrance of rodents and insects inside the house. 

  7. Tribal residents who wish to go hunting have a visual advantage, thanks to the stilt structures! And the military can keep a closer check on the area.

  8. A stilt home can be constructed on top of steep or undulating terrain, as well as in areas that are prone to flooding and receive excessive rainfall.

Assamese history and culture are inextricably linked to the construction of stilt homes. People who live in locations that receive torrential rains or are in the path of major rivers had to come up with innovative ways to protect themselves and their homes over the years. One of those ways has been the construction of homes on stilts. It also proved to be useful incase of earthquakes. It is crucial to have a solid understanding of the building process as well as the design of stilt houses to ensure that they last long.

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