India has long been admired for its architecture that is a marvelous confluence of technology, art and exquisite craftsmanship. As one of the oldest and most diverse civilizations of the world, across the length and breadth of the country one can find stunning temples, forts, palaces and monuments made in stone or wood or a combination of both. Being naturally occurring materials, construction using these was the order of the day for centuries till modern architectural practices began to gain popularity.
India is dotted with wooden structures that have been around for over a century and yet stand strong to this day. Wood’s durability has been celebrated in India for the longest time. Let us look at some structures that have stood the test of time in this country of timeless beauty.
Hadimba Temple mostly called as the Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This Temple of four wooden stories is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar. The temple was erected in 1553 and is dedicated to Goddess Halima. The unadorned walls of mud are covered with stonework in contrast with the wooden doorway, which is elaborately decorated with miniature depictions of Goddess, attendants, animals and stylized foliation. On the beams above the doorway appears the Navagrahas and female dancers in an isolated scene from the Krishna story among other details.
Koothambalam is an integral part of Kerala’s temple culture where supposedly the divine Gods and Goddesses dance in unison. It is exclusively a temple theater, mostly inside the temple premises. This temple theater is made of wood because Kerala has a vast track of wooded area and quality wood is available in plenty. The roof is tiled and the halls are well ventilated for free flow of air. The low lying slanting roof prevents rain water entering into the hall during the heavy monsoon season.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is the oldest, largest and well preserved surviving example of the traditional wooden architecture in India and is also the largest and most exquisite wooden building in Asia. The palace buildings were built between 1590’s to early 1800’s, showing continuous building activities of varied styles and forms with consistency of indigenous building techniques and excellent craftsmanship in wood.
One of the sacred pilgrimage centers for Buddhists, Rumtek is the richest Buddhist monastic center in India and the largest monastery in Sikkim. Built in 1730, by the ninth Karmapa, it was destroyed and renovated completely to the present state. A fine example of the Tibetan monastic art, it has exquisitely carved wood work.
Interior courtyard of the Wada
Ornate wooden pillars in the common hall
Vishrambaag Wada is a fine mansion situated at central Pune's Thorale Bajirao Road, was the luxurious residence of Peshwa Bajirao II, the last Peshwa of Maratha confederacy, in early nineteenth century. The 20,000 sq. ft. wada is famous for its fine entrance and the balcony with carved woodwork. Vishrambaag Wada was built in 1807 AD. Bajirao II preferred this residence to the ill-fated Shaniwar Wada, the citadel of the Peshwas.
Before artificial materials became popular, people in India successfully used natural materials like wood combining architectural wisdom of the time with easily available materials. Today we understand the many benefits of using wood in construction for our health as well as for the environment. Canadian wood species like SPF, yellow Cedar and western red cedar are durable and perfect for a range of structural and outdoor applications. They are certified and come from sustainably managed forests.
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FII India, funded by the government of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada represents Canadian wood in India for all its five species viz. Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Yellow Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF). FII works closely with architects, manufacturers, importers and real estate developers to provide technical and procurement assistance for their requirements free of any cost.Back to Blog
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