Iqbal Ahmad

Forgotten Wooden granaries

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There are several books and research papers available on Kashmir history and art, but  the traditional  Kashmir architectural has not been explored to such an extent even now and there are only a fewer details that give an inside view of the styles and designs, the materials  used in traditional architectural wonders of the vale. In fact the religious architecture, more of olden periods of this land, stands already documented and well researched, but the common households in villages and urban architecture has not been attended in that detail.  On the other hand we are losing the traditional architectural evidences rapidly.

Kuth, the traditional wooden granary is one such aspect of the olden Kashmir village architecture which is fast disappearing.  There are no new constructions of Kuth while those that have survived the onslaughts of weathering etc are also not taken care of.  This architecture tradition is also related with local agriculture and during the harvesting of the paddy fields, the paddy heaps are first collected in the khal ( paddy granary ) , where the seeds from the  paddy bunches The hard stem used in the process is called Mound, measuring 6 to 12 feet in length and 1 to four feet in width is first laid in a straight way, adjacent to the paddy granary. The stocks from the granary  layers are pulled in small heaps and then the formers involved in  the husking practice  will catch hold of their respective bunches and push it with force  to  the stem for few times till the seeds are completely detached from the bunch.  The seeds collected are then lifted to the wooden storages, called locally Kutch.

Kuth is a wooden structure completely built of wooden loges and wooden sheets.  The structure is square in plan, raised with large wooden sheets, supported by large wooden columns standing at its four corners. The super structure sometimes is single chambered, while some times formed of two to four square chambers. The roof is always in double shape in a slanting order and covered over with thatch, while some times covered over with metal sheets. Usually the opening to the chambers is from the top, and rarely by its side. Kutch is built single and double stored and sometimes decorated with wood works.  Although very little has been left of this wooden granary heritage due several reasons, but the neglected evidences of this heritage are still found in the distant villages mostly in south Kashmir.

This interesting wooden heritage not only needs to be documented but also preserved for the future generations.

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