Monday Flashback Story : Golconda Fort – A Sustainable Heritage Fort from Qutb Shahi Architecture

Golconda Fort, also known as Golla Konda, is a fortified citadel built by the Kakatiyas and an early capital city of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (c. 1512–1687), located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Because of the vicinity of diamond mines, especially the Kollur Mine, Golconda flourished as a trade center of large diamonds, known as the Golconda Diamonds. The region has produced some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the colorless Koh-i-Noor (now owned by the United Kingdom), the blue Hope (United States), the pink Daria-i-Noor (Iran), the white Regent (France), the Dresden Green (Germany), and the colorless Orlov (Russia), Nizam and Jacob (India), as well as the now-lost diamonds Florentine Yellow, Akbar Shah, and Great Mogul.

The Qutb Shahi tombs are the necropolis of the Qutb Shahi rulers, set in a vast garden on the outskirts of the Golconda Fort. The tombs share a common features : an onion dome atop a cube surrounded by an arcade with rich ornamental details, with small minarets featuring floral motifs.

It was initially called Shepherd’s Hill, meaning Golla Konda in Telugu while according to legend, on this rocky hill a shepherd boy had come across an idol and the information was conveyed to the ruling Kakatiya king at that time. The king constructed a mud fort around this holy spot and after 200 years, Bahamani rulers took possession of the place. Under the Bahmani Sultanate, Golconda slowly rose to prominence. Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk (r. 1487–1543), sent by the Bahmanids as a governor at Golconda, established the city as the seat of his government around 1501. Bahmani rule gradually weakened during this period, and Sultan Quli formally became independent in 1538, establishing the Qutb Shahi dynasty based in Golconda. Over a period of 62 years, the mud fort was expanded by the first three Qutb Shahi sultans into the present structure, a massive fortification of granite extending around 5 km (3.1 mi) in circumference. It remained the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until 1590 when the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. The Qutb Shahis expanded the fort, whose 7 km (4.3 mi) outer wall enclosed the city.

During the early seventeenth century a strong cotton-weaving industry existed in Golconda. Large quantities of cotton were produced for domestic and exports consumption. High-quality plain or patterned cloth made of muslin and calico was produced. The plain cloth was available as white or brown color, in bleached or dyed variety. Exports of this cloth were to Persia and European countries. The patterned cloth was made of prints which were made indigenously with indigo for blue, chay-root for red-colored prints and vegetable yellow. Patterned cloth exports were mainly to Java, Sumatra, and other eastern countries.

Golconda Fort is listed as an archaeological treasure on the official “List of Monuments” prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Golconda consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km (6.2 mi) long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions (some still mounted with cannons), eight gateways, and four drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments and halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables, etc. inside. The lowest of these is the outermost enclosure entered by the “Fateh Darwaza” (Victory gate, so-called after Aurangzeb’s triumphant army marched in through this gate) studded with giant iron spikes (to prevent elephants from battering them down) near the south-eastern corner. An acoustic effect can be experienced at Fateh Darwazaan, a hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the ‘Bala Hisar’ pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning in case of an attack.

Bala Hissar Gate is the main entrance to the fort located on the eastern side. It has a pointed arch bordered by rows of scrollwork. The spandrels have yalis and decorated roundels. The area above the door has peacocks with ornate tails flanking an ornamental arched niche. The granite block lintel below has sculpted yalis flanking a disc. The design of peacocks and lions is typical of Hindu architecture and underlies this fort’s Hindu origins.

Toli Masjid, situated at Karwan, about 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Golconda Fort, was built in 1671 by Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar, royal architect of Abdullah Qutb Shah. The facade consists of five arches, each with lotus medallions in the spandrels. The central arch is slightly wider and more ornate. The mosque inside is divided into two halls, a transverse outer hall and an inner hall entered through triple arches.

It is believed that there is a secret tunnel that leads from the “Durbar Hall” and ends in one of the palaces at the foot of the hill.[citation needed] The fort also contains the tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings. These tombs have Islamic architecture and are located about 1 km (0.62 mi) north of the outer wall of Golconda. They are encircled by beautiful gardens and numerous carved stones. It is also believed that there was a secret tunnel to Charminar.

The two individual pavilions on the outer side of Golconda are built on a point which is quite rocky. The “Kala Mandir” is also located in the fort. It can be seen from the king’s durbar (king’s court) which was on top of the Golconda Fort.

The other buildings found inside the fort are:

Habshi Kamans (Abyssian arches), Ashlah Khana, Taramati mosque, Ramadas Bandikhana, Camel stable, private chambers (kilwat), Mortuary bath, Nagina bagh, Ramasasa’s kotha, Durbar hall, Ambar khana etc.

Naya Qila (New Fort)

Naya Qila is an extension of Golconda Fort which was turned into the Hyderabad Golf Club despite resistance from farmers who owned the land and various NGOs within the city. The ramparts of the new fort start after the residential area with many towers and the Hatiyan ka Jhad (“Elephant-sized tree”)—an ancient baobab tree with an enormous girth. It also includes a war mosque. These sites are under restrictive access to the public because of the Golf Course.

Golconda Fort is a very large fort consisting of temples, mosques, palaces, halls, apartments and other structures. The fort is spread in around 11km area and has beautiful architecture. The fort is divided into four forts each having apartments, worship places, halls, etc.

Gates
Golconda Fort has eight gates out of which the main gate is Fateh Darwaza or the Victory Gate. This gate was built to commemorate the victorious march of Mughal Emperor Aurungzeb. The gate has steel spikes to protect it from elephants. The length of the gate is 25ft and the width is 13ft.

Monday Flashback Story – Red Fort, Agra – The Sustainable fort from Mughal Era !

Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. Before capture by the British, the last Indian rulers to have occupied it were the Marathas. In 1983, the Agra fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.

Like the rest of Agra, the history of Agra Fort prior to Mahmud Ghaznavi’s invasion is unclear. However, in the 15th century, the Chauhan Rajputs occupied it. Soon after, Agra assumed the status of capital when Sikandar Lodi (A.D. 1487–1517) shifted his capital from Delhi and constructed a few buildings in the pre-existing Fort at Agra. After the first battle of Panipat (A.D. 1526) Mughals captured the fort and ruled from it. In A.D. 1530, Humayun was crowned in it. The Fort got its present appearance during the reign of Akbar (A.D. 1556–1605).

After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, Babur stayed in the fort, in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. He later built a baoli (step well) in it. His successor, Humayun, was crowned in the fort in 1530. He was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah Suri. The fort remained with the Suris till 1555, when Humayun recaptured it. Adil Shah Suri’s general, Hemu, recaptured Agra in 1556 and pursued its fleeing governor to Delhi where he met the Mughals in the Battle of Tughlaqabad.

The 380,000 m2 (94-acre) fort has a semicircular plan, its chord lies parallel to the river Yamuna and its walls are seventy feet high. Double ramparts have massive circular bastions at intervals, with battlements, embrasures, machicolations and string courses. Four gates were provided on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river.[citation needed]

Two of the fort’s gates are notable: the “Delhi Gate” and the “Lahore Gate.” The Lahore Gate is also popularly also known as the “Amar Singh Gate,” for Amar Singh Rathore.

The monumental Delhi Gate, which faces the city on the western side of the fort, is considered the grandest of the four gates and a masterpiece of Akbar’s time. It was built circa 1568 both to enhance security and as the king’s formal gate, and includes features related to both. It is embellished with intricate inlay work in white marble. A wooden drawbridge was used to cross the moat and reach the gate from the mainland; inside, an inner gateway called Hathi Pol (“Elephant Gate”) – guarded by two life-sized stone elephants with their riders – added another layer of security. The drawbridge, slight ascent, and 90-degree turn between the outer and inner gates make the entrance impregnable. During a siege, attackers would employ elephants to crush a fort’s gates. Without a level, the straight run-up to gather speed, however, that thing is prevented by this layout.

Situated on the site of earlier fortifications, it lies on the right bank of the Yamuna River and is connected to another of Agra’s renowned monuments, the Taj Mahal (downstream, around a bend in the Yamuna), by a swath of parkland and gardens. The fort was commissioned by Akbar in 1565 and reportedly took eight years to construct. The walls of the roughly crescent-shaped structure have a circumference of about 1.5 miles (2.5 km), rise 70 feet (21 metres) high, and are surrounded by a moat. There are two access points in the walls: the Amar Singh Gate facing south (now the only means in or out of the fort complex) and the Delhi Gate facing west, the original entrance, which is richly decorated with intricate marble inlays. Many structures within the walls were added later by subsequent Mughal emperors, notably Shah Jahān and Jahāngīr. The complex of buildings—reminiscent of Persian- and Timurid-style architectural features—forms a city within a city.

Among the major attractions in the fort is Jahāngīr’s Palace (Jahāngīri Mahal), built by Akbar as a private palace for his son Jahāngir. It is the largest residence in the complex. The Pearl Mosque (Moti Masjid), constructed by Shah Jahān, is a tranquil and perfectly proportioned structure made entirely of white marble. The Hall of Private Audience (Diwan-i-Khas) was used for receiving distinguished visitors. The famous Peacock Throne was once kept there before Aurangzeb took it to Delhi. Near the Hall of Private Audience stands the tall Octagonal Tower (Musamman Burj), the residence of Shah Jahān’s favorite empress, Mumtaz Mahal.

In the Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i-ʿAm), the emperor would listen to public petitions and meet state officials. The elegant marble walls of the Khas Mahal (the emperor’s private palace) were once adorned with flowers depicted by precious gems. Located to its northeast is the splendid Palace of Mirrors (Sheesh Mahal), its walls and ceilings inlaid with thousands of small mirrors. The structure’s two dazzling chambers were probably used as baths and possibly as a boudoir by the queens.

Monday Flashback Story : Chittorgarh Fort – Marvellous piece of Rajput Architecture

The Chittorgarh Fort also known as Chittorgarh or Chittor Fort is one of the largest forts in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort was the capital of Mewar and is located in the present-day town of Chittorgarh. It sprawls over a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) in height spread over an area of 280 ha (691.9 acres) above the plains of the valley drained by the Berach River. The fort covers 65 historic structures, which include four palaces, 19 large temples, 20 large water bodies, 4 memorials and a few victory towers.

In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Chittorgarh Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a group called the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

The fort, which is roughly in the shape of a fish, has a circumference of 13 km (8.1 mi) with a maximum length of 5 km (3.1 mi) and it covers an area of 700 acres.[citation needed] The fort is approached through a difficult zig-zag ascent of more than 1 km (0.6 mi) from the plains, after crossing over a limestone bridge. The bridge spans the Gambhiri River and is supported by ten arches (one has a curved shape while the balance have pointed arches). Apart from the two tall towers, which dominate the majestic fortifications, the sprawling fort has a plethora of palaces and temples (many of them in ruins) within its precincts.

The 305 hectare component site, with a buffer zone of 427 hectares, encompasses the fortified stronghold of Chittorgarh, a spacious fort located on an isolated rocky plateau of approximately 2 km length and 155 m width.

It is surrounded by a perimeter wall 13 km (8.1 mi) long, beyond which a 45° hill slope makes it almost inaccessible to enemies. The ascent to the fort passes through seven gateways built by the Mewar ruler Rana Kumbha (1433–1468) of the Sisodia clan. These gates are called, from the base to the hilltop, the Paidal Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jorla Pol, Laxman Pol, and Ram Pol, the final and main gate.

The fort complex comprises 65 historic built structures, among them 4 palace complexes, 19 main temples, 4 memorials, and 20 functional water bodies. These can be divided into two major construction phases. The first hill fort with one main entrance was established in the 5th century and successively fortified until the 12th century. Its remains are mostly visible on the western edges of the plateau. The second, more significant defence structure was constructed in the 15th century during the reign of the Sisodia Rajputs, when the royal entrance was relocated and fortified with seven gates, and the medieval fortification wall was built on an earlier wall construction from the 13th century.

There are seven entrances which are −

Padan Pol
Bhairon Pol
Hanuman Pol
Ganesh Pol
Jodala Pol
Laxman Pol
Ram Pol
The fort also includes palaces, temples, and water bodies.

Temples
When the fort was built in 5th century, it had only one gate. Sisodia Rajputs renovated the fort and built six more gates. The temples related to Hindus and Jains built inside the fort are

Kumbha Shyam Temple
Mira Bai Temple
Adi Varah Temple
Shringar Chauri Temple
Sattaes Devri
SatBis Devri
There are two towers which are the other Jain monuments and these are Kirti Stambh and Vijay Stambh.

Palaces
Rana Kumbha Palace can be accessed from the seventh gate. Rana Ratan Singh Palace was constructed in 19th and 20th centuries. Fateh Prakash Palace is also there which has been converted into a museum.

The Seven Gates

All the gates were built for security purposes and not surprisingly, the gates have special architectural designs. The gates have pointed arches, to make sure it provides extra protection should there be an attack. Notched parapets were built on top of the gates, enabling soldiers to shoot arrows at the enemy army. There is a common road that runs inside the fort, connecting all the gates. The gates, in turn lead to various palaces and temples within the fort. All the gates have historical significance. Prince Bagh Singh was killed at the Padan Gate during one of the sieges in the year 1535 AD. During the last siege, led by Emperor Akbar, Rao Jaimal of Badnore was allegedly killed by the Mughal emperor himself. This incident is said to have taken place somewhere in between the Bhairon Gate and Hanuman Gate.

Architecture

All the seven gates of the fort are nothing but massive stone structures, aimed at providing maximum security from the potential threat of enemies. The entire fort is built in such a way that it makes it almost impregnable for the enemies to enter. To ascend the fort, one has to go through a difficult path, which itself proves that the architectural design of the fort was aimed at keeping the enemies at bay. This is one of the main reasons why the fort was sieged by various kings at regular intervals. In between the second and the third gate there are two Chhatris or cenotaphs, built in honor of Jaimull and Patta, the heroes of 1568 AD when the fort was sieged by Emperor Akbar. These cenotaphs are considered as architectural marvels. The tower of the fort is nine-storeyed and is adorned with sculptures of Hindu deities and stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The tower provides a breathtaking view of the city.


Architecture of Palaces

The palace of Rana Kumbha was built using plastered stone. One of the main features of this palace is its series of canopied balconies. Suraj Gate leads to the entrance of this palace, which is associated with a host of legends. Padmini’s palace is an impressive edifice with three storeys. The old palace, which was ruined due to various reasons, was reconstructed in the early 19th century. The building, as it stands today, is white in color. The architectural design of the old palace was a nice blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture.

Monday Flashback Story – Shahnajaf Imambara Lucknow : Marvellous piece of Awadh Sustainable Architecture

Near Sikandrabad, on the bank of Gomti River, there is located a mausoleum – Shahnajaf Imambara that was built in the 19th century. It was the first king of Awadh clan – Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, who constructed this historical site in Lucknow. He built the Imambara as a token of his devotion to Hazrat Ali, who was the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. Shahnajaf Imambara is a replica of Ghazi-ud-Din’s own tomb in Iraq. At present, Shahnajaf Imambara is one of the main tourist attractions in Lucknow mainly because of its historical significance and impressive architecture. Near the Imambara, a house and a mosque for Mumtaz Mahal (his wife) were also constructed by Ghazi-ud-Din Haider. However, in the year 1913, the house was torn down to construct a road on the riverside. Inside the Imambara, there lie the remains of him as he wanted to be buried here. Along with that, the graves of his wives Mubarak Mahal, who died in 1849, Sarfaraz Mahal who died in 1878, and Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1896. On 13th of Rajab (birthday of Hazrat Ali) and between 7th and 9th Muharram, the Imambara is beautifully decorated.

Most Lucknowites only know about two of the prominent Imambaras i.e., Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara. Matter of fact there is many more Imambaras in Lucknow. And one remarkable among them is Shahnajaf Imambara!

Imambaras are the holy places built for the avatars of Allah. Shanajaf Imambara was built by the first king of Awadh, Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, in the memory of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad.

The Architecture

The path from the main door to the Imambara gate is made of white marble. Lakhori bricks and almond lime have been used mainly in their design.

As we entered the building, the shapes and textures of the verandah kept drawing our eyes. We were surprised to see that our city of Lucknow reflects such great wonders of history and architecture.

Entering inside we found some walkways and doors and a long way to the verandah. There was a large hall under the center dome of Imambara, where the remains of Ghazi-ud-din Haider have been kept at his will. The hall was very beautiful and decorated with the artistry of the mirrors.
Apart from Ghazi-ud-din Haider, his three queens, Sarfaraz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Mumtaz Mahal has tombs here.

The Shahnajaf Imambara is a replica of Hazrat Ali’s burial at Najaf in Iraq. The building is settled near river Gomti, on Rana Pratap Marg in Lucknow, and is made up of Lakhauri bricks. The most remarkable landmark today would be Saharaganj Mall which is in front of the Shahnajaf Imambara.

Some important points

  • It is very nice in the evening around here, you can go for a walk.
  • There is a beautiful garden around the building.
  • There is adequate parking.
  • Take special care of your things.
  • This is a legacy, so you are requested to help keep it clean.
  • The surrounding gardens have a walk option. The fresh breeze of the evening will erase all your fatigue.
Pathways inside Imambara

Entering inside you can see some mesmerizing pathways and a long stretch of doors and verandas. Reaching the center of Imambara, there is a hall under the dome where the remains of Ghazi-ud-Din Haider were put as per his wish.

The hall is beautiful and decorated with lots of glass artistry so as to reflect maximum light. Apart from this, there were graves of the king’s three queens namely Sarfaraz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Mumtaz Mahal.

Shah Najaf Imambara is also referred to as Karbala in Lucknow. Inside the main hall of the Imambara is the grave of Nawab Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, as it was his wish to be buried there. The graves of his three wives, Mumtaz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Sarfaraz Mahal are also present in the Imambara complex.

The entrance of the Imambara leads the visitors to the main Hall through a picturesque garden, which is wonderfully decorated with a variety of flowers and plants. In the middle of the Imambara lies the wonderful silver mausoleum of Ghazi-ud-din Haider. The silver mausoleum is located very close to the gold tombs of Mumtaz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Sarfaraz Mahal.

Shah Najaf Imambara – Today

The majestic Shah Najaf Imambara is beautifully illuminated and adorned with colorful lights on the birthday of Hazrat Ali. According to Muslim calendar, the birthday of Hazrat Ali falls on the 13th day of the Islamic month of Rajab.

The Imambara is open for visitors from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM on all days of the week. The conservation of the monument is undertaken by the Hussainabad Trust Board and Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

In stark contrast, you would be able to see the city’s medieval heritage at the Shah Najaf Imambara on one side and a modelesque view of the Sahara Ganj Mall across the street.

Monday Flashback story of Dholavira – Ancient Sustainable City since Harappa Civilisation

This week we present the Flashback story of Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, which received the UNESCO world heritage site tag on Tuesday. While Dholavira became the fourth site from Gujarat and 40th from India to make the list, it is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.

Dholavira site

The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name. It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi. The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient city, which was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline and eventual ruin in 1500 BC.

Distinct features

After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala, and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.  The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town, and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.

Archaeologist Bisht cites a cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification, two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas— as some of the unique features of the Dholavira site.

While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira. Bisht says memorials that contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans.

Rise and fall of Dholavira

Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy. It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products. It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.

Bisht says that such beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians. Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.

He further says that from 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.

In those times, Bisht says, the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat.

Other Harappan sites in Gujarat

Before Dholavira was excavated, Lothal, in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, was the most prominent site of IVC in Gujarat.

It was excavated between 1955 and 1960 and was discovered to be an important port city of the ancient civilization, with structures made of mud bricks. From a graveyard in Lothal, 21 human skeletons were found. Foundries for making copperware were also discovered. Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold etc. were also found from the site.

Besides Lothal, Rangpur on the bank of Bhadra river in Surendranagar district was the first Harappan site in the state to be excavated. Rojdi in Rajkot district, Prabhas near Veraval in Gir Somnath district, Lakhabaval in Jamnagar, and Deshalpar in Bhuj taluka of Kutch are among other Harappan sites in the state.

In its release, UNESCO termed Dholavira as one of the most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE (Before Common Era). Since the excavation at the site, the ASI has developed a museum here. Dholavira, a village with a population of around 2,000, is the nearest human settlement at present. Near the ancient city is a fossil park where wood fossils are preserved.

Fibre Cement Boards are reliable & Sustainable Building Material

The material builders use is what brought a structure together, from simple sculptures to apartment complexes. Some of these items aren’t sustainable, though, and can end up hurting the environment. Everest Boards are greener alternative.

Everest Boards rises to the top among its competitors due to its eco-friendly benefits and cost-effectiveness. And Wood, regular cement, vinyl, and stucco are only a few examples of materials fiber cement outperforms.

When creating a home or building of any kind, construction workers will opt for the most effective path. Choosing a more sustainable route with fiber cement will yield the best results from that path. Here are the main benefits:

1. Lifespan

When comparing Fiber Cement or any Everest Boards to other siding materials like wood or vinyl, one of the first things you’ll notice is the lifespan. Everest Boards goes above and beyond what other resources can provide by outlasting the competition. It can last for up to 50 years.

The longer lifespan means residents won’t need to replace and repair their siding as often. Instead, they can save money and produce less waste over the years. Routine checkups and repairs won’t need to be done as often, resulting in cost savings.

Fiber cement is low maintenance, too. There’s no need to continually toss out old parts like you’d need to with rotting wood. Investing more now will yield a better return on investment (ROI) with fewer costs over the years.

2. Sustainability

Sustainability is a key factor when it comes to eco-friendliness. It’s the main reason why fiber cement is becoming so popular. Regular cement requires a lot of water during production, while fiber cement relies on recycled materials and consumes fewer resources. With water crises in certain areas throughout the world, using materials that reduce water usage is necessary.

Cement, sand, cellulose and recycled wood are the main components of fiber cement and Everest Boards, making it a standout for sustainable building materials. Of course, natural siding materials like wood are eco-friendly, too, but only to an extent. Once they start breaking down, they’re harder to recycle. In fact, the pieces are better off becoming part of the fiber-cement mix.

3. Versatility

If someone is hesitant about using fiber cement because they want to work with other materials, there’s other details about fiber cement then. Fiber cement is the chameleon of siding materials. It can mimic other resources like stucco or wood, including grain patterns that look like the real thing.

You can get them in a variety of designs, including panels, shingles or boards. Further, fiber cement works well with paint — both in the factory and on a building.

The versatility then benefits the environment. Builders use fewer resources and instead focus solely on using fiber cement. This impact adds up with more people using fiber cement and Everest Boards, there’s less of a need for mass manufacturing natural resources.

4. Resistance

Eco-friendly typically refers to how materials benefit the environment. In another sense of the term, though, Everest Products can help prevent weather-related damage. It can better withstand hail, storms, natural disasters, and fires.

Fiber cement is strong, sturdy, and resistant to anything life throws at it. It can protect against even the harshest conditions, which leads to less out-of-pocket expenses for the homeowners. Bugs and animals that gnaw through materials like wood won’t be an issue here – Fiber Cement and Everest Boards resist it all.

Different environments and locations throughout the world have various weather conditions and threats to endure. These residential living units in France give residents peace of mind that their homes can withstand the elements.

5. Health

One subtle benefit of fiber cement and Everest Product is the neutral components that make it up. Other materials like vinyl may have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to their synthetic nature. These toxic compounds come from paints, sprays, preservatives, cleansers and plenty more products and materials that are common in households. These VOCs can affect human health negatively.

For instance, VOCs can cause issues like headaches, nausea, asthma and ear irritation. Reducing materials that use VOCs is then necessary to create a safer environment. Avoiding these compounds altogether is key to good health, making fiber cement a good option.

Eco-Friendly Progress

In more ways than one, Everest Products are sustainable. Environmentally, financially and health-wise, this material helps consumers save money while reducing their impact on the environment and protecting their own health. As fiber cement solidifies itself as a viable option for buildings and siding, other materials must become more sustainable. If not, fiber cement will pull ahead as a beacon of progress for eco-friendly materials.

These five benefits prove it’s a leader in the field and shows the direction construction must go to benefit consumers and the environment.

Monday Flashback Story : Sustainable Heritage Building of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

“Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus” This famous landmark which has become a symbol of the city was built as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway.

The railway station was built to replace the Bori Bunder railway station, in the Bori Bunder area of Bombay, a prominent port and warehouse area known for its imports and exports. Since Bombay became a major port city at the time, a bigger station was built to meet its demands and was named Victoria Terminus, after the then reigning Empress of India, Queen Victoria. The station was designed by Frederick William Stevens, a British-born engineer architect, attached to the Bombay office of the Indian colonial Public Works Department. Work began in 1878. He received ₹1,614,000 (US$23,000) as the payment for his services. Stevens earned the commission to construct the station after a masterpiece watercolor sketch by draughtsman Axel Haig. The design has been compared to George Gilbert Scott’s 1873 St Pancras railway station in London, also in an exuberant Italian Gothic style, but it is far closer to Scott’s second prize-winning entry for Berlin’s parliament building, exhibited in London in 1875, which featured numerous towers and turrets, and a large central ribbed dome. The style of the station is also similar to other public buildings of the 1870s in Bombay, such as the Elphinstone College but especially the buildings of Bombay University, also designed by G G Scott.

The station took ten years to complete, the longest for any building of that era in Bombay.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. The terminal was built over 10 years, starting in 1878, according to a High Victorian Gothic design based on late medieval Italian models. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. It is an outstanding example of the meeting of two cultures, as British architects worked with Indian craftsmen to include Indian architectural tradition and idioms thus forging a new style unique to Bombay.

Integrity

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) building is the expression of the British, Italian, and Indian architectural planning and its use for Indian Railways. The entire building retains entire structural integrity. Its façade, outer view, and usage are original. The premise of the building is a strictly protected area maintained by Indian Railways. The property is protected by a 90.21-hectare buffer zone. The Terminus is one of the major railway stations in the Metropolis of Mumbai and more than 3 million rail commuters use it every day. In addition to the initial 4 railway tracks, the terminus now facilitates 7 suburban and 11 separate out-station tracks. This has led to the restructuring of several areas in the surroundings, and the addition of new buildings. Indian Railways are working to decongest this terminus and to deviate some of the traffic to other stations.

The property is located in the southern part of the city, and it is subject to huge development pressures and potential redevelopment. However, considering the business interests in such a central place, there is a continuous challenge regarding development control. Another risk comes from intensive traffic flow and the highly polluted air in the region around the railway station. Industrial pollution in the area has been reduced due to a reduction in industrial and harbor activities. Another problem is the saline air from the sea.
The fire protection system needs to be checked and upgraded.

Authenticity

The heritage building retains a large percentage of its original structural integrity. The authenticity of the structure expresses the rich Italian gothic style through the eye-catching 3D-stone carvings of local species of animals, flora and fauna, symbols, arched tympana, portrait roundels of human faces, and the stone mesh works on the decorated rose windows. The elaborate detailing of the heritage building is original. It has carvings made in local yellow Malad stones blended with Italian marble and polished granite in a few places. The architectural detailing is achieved through white limestone. The doors and windows are made of Burma teak wood with some steel windows mounted in the drum of the octagonal ribbed masonry dome with the coats of arms and corresponding paintings in stained glass panels. There are large numbers of other embellishments in statuary, which the architect has introduced in decorating the grand frontage. These further include gargoyles, allegorical grotesques carrying standards and battle-axes, and figures of relief busts representing the different castes and communities of India. In prominent places on the façade, the bas-reliefs of the ten directors of the old Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company (GIPR) are shown. The entrance gates to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) carry two columns, which are crowned, one with a lion (representing the United Kingdom) and the other with a tiger (representing India) and there are tympana portraying peacocks.

However, internal modifications and external additions affected a moderate change in the authenticity. These changes were generally reversible and have since listing been reverted to bring the building and surroundings to its original glory.

Protection and management requirements

The property has been declared as a “Heritage Grade – I” structure under the resolution of the Maharashtra State Government Act on 21st April 1997. Continual efforts are being made to improve the overall state of the property and to ensure that the same does not decay due to its use by commuters and visitors. The buffer zone is established to prevent and reduce negative development in the surroundings. All legal rights of the property are vested in the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. Mumbai was the first city in India to have heritage legislation, enacted by Government Regulation in 1995 (N° 67). The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) and the Fort area, of which it is part, are protected on the basis of this legislation. A multidisciplinary committee, called Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) was established to ensure the protection of heritage buildings. There are 624 listed buildings in the whole city, out of which 63 buildings are Grade-I structures: this includes the Terminus building. The administrative control and the management of this property lie with the Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division of Central Railway. The day-to-day maintenance and protection of the building is also the responsibility of the Divisional Railway Manager. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) has also been considered to be developed as a World Class Station by Indian Railways; this would lead to decongesting and reducing the pressures on this Terminus Station, which is now over-crowded by traffic.

The long-term management plan for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) was initiated in 1997 by Indian Railways by appointing the Architectural Conservation Cell (ACC) as a Consultant. At the moment, the second phase works are under progress involving the restoration of the Terminus station; this includes conservation works on the property, management of traffic around the site, tourism management, and training of personnel.

Source – UNESCO

Old Heritage of India is a Perfect Example of Sustainable Architecture !

Coexistence with nature has been an integral part of all ancient cultures, including India. This is evident from the various religious, cultural, and traditional practices; rituals; art and sculptures; and folklores that still remain alive in different ways in the daily lives of Indians.

sustainable architecture in ancient India

The Ajanta caves, unlike other rock cut caves, have low ceilings which were specifically designed to allow hot air from prayer halls to rise and move into the surrounding cells that held cool water.

Coexistence with nature has been an integral part of all ancient cultures, including India. This is evident from the various religious, cultural, and traditional practices; rituals; art and sculptures; and folklores that still remain alive in different ways in the daily lives of Indians. The concerns for environmental conservation and demands for sustainable development starting with the Stockholm Conference of Environment (1992) and the UN Earth Summit (1992) are new in origin when compared to the age old cultural and traditional practices of environmental conservation present in India.

“mātā bhūmih putruahan pthivyā:’’

(Trans. – ’Do not harm the environment, do not harm the water and the flora, earth is my mother, I am her son, may the waters remain fresh, do not harm the waters…. Tranquility be to the atmosphere, to the waters, to the crops and vegetation”- Atharva Veda, Prithvi Sukta, slok no. 12).

A look at the ancient Indian literature shows us innumerable references to the management, preservation, and protection of the environment. Texts such as the Arthashastra, Brahmanas, Upanishad, Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata etc., are replete with verses that talk of protecting the natural resources, which help us to understand the ancient ideas behind environmental conservation and the insistence on maintaining a balance within the forest ecology. Besides the ancient texts, from an archeological point of view the presence of highly advanced city planning, sewage system, and water management techniques in the Indus-Saraswati civilization speak of the importance that our ancients placed on living in harmony with the natural environment.

Ancient Green Buildings

The UN World Commission on Environment and Development has stated that in order to be sustainable one has to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations, to meet their own needs, especially with regards to use and waste of natural resources.” Keeping this mind in the last few decades there has been an increasing number of “Green buildings” that are designed in a way which keeps them in sync with sustainable environmental development. Interestingly, the idea behind these “Green buildings” are not new, and date back to the ancient times, when available natural resources were used efficiently, avoiding unnecessary wastages. Indigenous materials specific to the locations were used in order to keep the houses warm or cool based on the climatic zones, while elaborate sewage and water supply systems were built with the available natural materials.

The Ajanta caves, which form a series of 29 rock-cut caves from ancient India, demonstrate how the architects of those times would make optimal use of the available natural resources at hand. The vaulted ceilings of these rock cut caves had sun windows that would light up the prayer halls naturally. The Ajanta caves, unlike other rock cut caves, have low ceilings which were specifically designed to allow hot air from prayer halls to rise and move into the surrounding cells that held cool water. This hot air would then be cooled naturally, leading to the cooling of the entire cave.

Another popular natural building material from prehistoric and ancient times is Cob, which is a mix of water, subsoil, and fibrous materials such as straw as further supplement. Cob built walls have good thermal mass, and a combination of thatched roofs and cob walls make for a well insulated warm house in cold settings. Across the valley of Lahoul and Spiti a look at the old traditional houses show that these are mud built houses with flat roofs topped with local grasses, which trapped the heat for a longer period. A famous example of such mud built structures is the 996 CE built Tabo mud monastery in Spiti. The cob built structures are also known to be earthquake resistant to a large extent. Rammed earth is another material used from ancient times for building houses, and has been extensively used across the Middle Eastern nations and Southeast Asian countries.

Blocks of ice placed circularly to form a dome shaped house that is popularly known as Igloos have been used by Eskimos for many centuries, and is another example of sustainable environment friendly structure. The ice blocks that were tightly packed served as insulation, which kept it warm under the dome at around 32 degrees Celsius. The low tunnel into the igloo further helped in preserving the heat inside, while a top vent helped the warm air to move out in order to prevent the ice blocks from melting.

Badgirs, were ancient techniques to keep the insides of a building cool, and were popular in hot dry areas. In this case buildings would have wind towers with openings that would let the cool air flow in from just above the ground level, and direct it to the underground living chambers keeping them cool. The hot air which rises upwards would be directed towards the openings at the top and allowed to flow out. The same air flow tower technique was also used in water reservoirs in hot arid areas, which kept the water stored at near freezing temperatures even during summer months, owing to the process of evaporative cooling. Such cooling towers are still seen in the Middle East, and some parts of Rajasthan.

Bamboo, now highly touted as environmental friendly and a sustainable building material, has been in use in India and China from the ancient times. Bamboo, which is waterproof in nature, also shows great rigidity and tensile strength, and for that reason had been in regular use for building ancient bridges and houses.

Another example of sustainable and environment friendly architecture are the ancient and medieval step-wells or baolis seen across India. Baolis are man-made step-wells that were constructed to serve as underground water resources, and played a significant role in water conservation. More commonly seen in the western parts of India, the baolis provided villages with water for drinking, washing, bathing, and also for irrigation, especially during periods of water shortages in seasonal fluctuations. The common features for all types of baolis would generally be colonnaded levels or storeys, and a flight of stairs that led from the topmost level to the water below, which was primarily fresh groundwater. The baolis were also used for different ceremonial and religious purposes, and the shaded pavilions functioned as retreat rooms in the summers. People living in the Indian subcontinent have always been involved in water harvesting, and that is evident from the advanced and elaborate water management that were created by the Harappans. The oldest example of water management in India is found from the proto-historic era in different Harappan sites. The various tanks, interconnected chains of reservoirs, cisterns, drainage channels, public and private wells, baths, dams, and dock (in Lothal) seen in various sites, such as Dholavira, Banawali, Kalibangan, etc., exemplify the excellence of the water management system of those times. The Harappans were also expert builders of raised hydraulic structures of various types, and were the first to start using the ground water resources by sinking a well.

While our ancestors did not face any dearth of natural resources in their times, it is wondrous to note the efforts they put into conserving these resources for future generations. However, with the coming in of the Industrial Revolution overexploitation of natural resources started, causing a complete breakdown in the traditional practices followed for creating a sustainable atmosphere where humans could live in harmony with nature.

Source – Financial Express

Ways to make Sustainable Buildings and it’s requirement after post covid era !

As global warming and climate change increasingly enter public consciousness and impact public life, sustainability and eco-friendly living ways are emerging. Whether through the increasingly popular zero-waste lifestyle or using renewable energy like solar panels, humanity is continually making micro strides towards a more ecologically conscious way of life. Especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing need for cleaner air and water to maintain basic hygiene means we need to take better care of our environments. 

(Source: Green Money)

This shift in the public’s comprehension of our climate crisis has impacted the real estate industry. Builders are more conscious of creating sustainable real estate (also called green real estate).  Buildings and construction centers continue consuming one-third of the world’s energy while contributing 40% of global CO2 emissions. Such statistics have led architects to reconsider their designs, pushing for a more sustainable building process, instead. 

How to Build Sustainable Real Estate

Making buildings energy efficient reduces their carbon footprints drastically. This remains the primary goal of builders across the world. Investing in eco-friendly living is more than just planting a garden or creating green spaces. While these are vital to keeping the air toxin-free, several aspects of the building require consideration to build a green building truly.

LED Lighting

LED lights are slowly replacing filament bulbs as the primary sources of light within a house. LED lights can add an atmospheric glow, and you can adjust the intensity of the light to your specifications. The fact that they enormously reduce your carbon footprint is simply the cherry on top. Therefore, they are becoming a favorite among sustainable real estate builders today. They are sleek, modern features that add elegance and eco-friendliness to every home. 

Vegetable Gardens and Orchards

Building homes with expansive backyards for gardening and growing your greens is also on the rise. This not only provides a breath of fresh air but having greenery around you has been proven to calm residents down. Additionally, you can grow your fruits and vegetables untouched by any pesticides or other foreign bodies. You get all your nutrients while maintaining an ecosystem. 

Insulating the Walls and Floors

(Source: Green Passive Solar Magazine)

Insulation is a huge part of building design that regulates indoor temperatures. It is well-documented that air conditioning and other such temperature regulating machinery adversely impacts the environment. Additionally, they also drive up electricity costs. Well-constructed insulation is a solution to this – ensuring that the indoor temperature stays leveled regardless of the outdoors. 

Solar Energy and Rainwater Harvesting

Solar panels are slowly making their way into everyday use. The cost of purchasing solar panels has come down significantly since they were first introduced as a result. Along with rainwater harvesting – i.e., reusing rainwater for drinking and bathing purposes – solar energy is one of the most energy-efficient methods of building sustainable real estate. Unlike fuel-based energy sources, solar energy has a negligible environmental impact while remaining robust and sustaining your home. Rainwater harvesting, similarly, allows the continuously-depleting underground water table to replenish while being your primary source of water. It can also help bring back the water table, therefore reducing the temperature of the Earth. 

Green Roofs and Walls

Covering the roof with a lawn or the walls with greens is becoming more and more common. This type of sustainable real estate provides a cooling effect and natural insulation and looks very aesthetically pleasing. As we mentioned earlier, greenery has a naturally calming effect. Therefore, green roofs and walls help prevent you from both heat and stress-induced strokes. 

Using Locally-Sourced Building Materials

Several sustainable real estate experts advocate for the use of local resources. This cuts down on possible pollution during the transportation of building materials. It also promotes local businesses and encourages homes to be build using available resources. This ensures that the materials are climate-appropriate and have a much lower environmental impact. 

(Source: Daily Green World)

Looking Forward

These are just a few sustainable real estate trends that have emerged during COVID-19 and are here to stay. Whether in terms of energy efficiency or aesthetic value, the benefits of eco-friendly living cannot be underplayed. 

More people are switching to homes that are environmentally conscious because of better air quality. Builders are answering to these demands and creating more environmentally-friendly homes. Additionally, grading criteria like the US Green Building Council’s LEED program give real estate agencies the push to continue sustainable real estate design today. 

Sustainable Future Buildings : After the Post Covid Era

Buildings : After the Post Covid Era

Year 2020 will be the year called as the year for Phase Transition not only because of a fight from virus but also the Transition in various sectors and how it will be different with the future scenarios. Its impacts are felt in every facet of society, from an individual’s emotional and social health to the broader consequences felt in the built environment, i.e. in architecture.

(Source: The New Yorker)

The hygiene levels demanded by COVID-19 simultaneously require a cleaner, more pollution-free environment something that begins at home. Therefore, sustainable homes that promote environmental consciousness are on the rise as harbingers of clean air and lower environmental impacts.

The Current Scenario

As we shift to work-from-home environments (with many companies indicating a permanent shift), the importance of the home comes into focus. Working from home does not mean that we suddenly have more than 24 hours in a day. It simply means we spend more time within the four walls of our homes, hoping that we are safer from the virus.

Eco-friendly homes, in this regard, offer a double benefit: they clean and purify the air indoors, reducing the risk of airborne diseases, and they reduce the overall environmental impact. Architecture has long been a contributor to global warming, with Ed Mazria, the founder of Arch2030, saying that buildings will account for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Therefore, urban and architectural planning will undergo a radical shift post-COVID. The goal will continue being providing the safest possible spaces that protect humans from COVID and any potential future virus of this magnitude. The built environment was not previously concerned with social distancing, therefore not accounting for it during the planning process. COVID changed this and is now causing indoor gardens, more partitions, and fewer open-plan spaces. These are all indicative of green or healthy housing techniques by preventing high-density crowding and giving people the feel of the outdoors from their homes.

Therefore, several consequences may be here to stay in the post-COVID world of sustainable homes.

The Future of Eco-Friendly Homes

(Source: World Green Building Council)

Although we have already mentioned a few possibilities, these remain the tip of the iceberg. People are more vigilant about their homes while trying to create the feeling of being outdoors. Staying cooped up at home all day can take a toll on one’s mental health, otherwise. With this in mind, we want to present some predictions for the critical changes that will stay in a post-COVID world.

Open Spaces 

Open spaces allow for the 6-feet apart mandate that prevents the virus from spreading. However, they also make places look bigger and lessen crowding. Such positive factors are in line with the WHO’s 1988 report that spoke of urban centers being hotspots for infectious diseases – something we see now in 2020.

Therefore, open spaces are the first aspect that we believe is here to stay. In sustainable homes, open spaces in the form of verandas, porches, balconies, etc. will be covered by buyers more than floor space. Additionally, the comorbidities caused by a lack of Vitamin D can make individuals more susceptible to COVID-19. This additionally makes open spaces more desirable for homebuyers.

Natural Ventilation

Artificial ventilation can cause air staleness. If the temperature is not regulated adequately through this ventilation, it can also lead to condensation on calls, leading to mold and other such problems. Natural ventilation allows for a literal breath of fresh air to continually flow through the house.

Incorporating natural ventilation also reduces the need for air conditioners and other such mechanisms that adversely impact the environment. This automatically paves the way for eco-friendly homes.

Building Materials that Promote Health

The kind of building materials determines the home’s insulation ability and temperature regulation. Depending on the climate the house is built in, designers will have to choose materials that will not place the occupants at risk. All-natural alternatives are an excellent way to ensure this.

Using all-natural paint, for example, prevents the likelihood of toxic fumes being released into the environment, automatically erasing a chance of illness. Therefore, the occupant stays safe and, as long as the paint is a light color, stays cool in our tropical climate. Similarly, using clay bricks or terracotta tiles promotes cooler indoor environments – something particularly necessary during Indian summers – while ensuring sustainable homes.

Office Spaces

As we previously said, work-from-home is set to become a norm of the post-COVID era. Therefore, functional, stress-busting office spaces are necessary. Incorporating greenery and lighter paint tones create stress-busting, calmer environments while creating eco-friendly homes that keep the indoor air pure in a natural, healthy way.

Meanwhile, using studies instead of desks can create more functional spaces. Here, ensure that you purchase eco-friendly furniture since furniture glue can adversely affect the air quality.

AI and Touchless Technologies

(Source: Echelon | Ai)

Saying we entered a new digital era with COVID-19 would be an understatement. AI and touchless technologies prevent virus transmission by reducing contact. They also automate environments, introducing the idea of smart homes.

Smart homes are safer while being sustainable homes in their own right. Using motion detectors to turn on lights, automatically open doors at the touch of a button, etc. are ways in which homes can evolve to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world.

Conclusion

Architecture and house planning will be different in a post-COVID world. The advantages of smart housing and sustainable living are here to stay. They offer a higher level of safety against diseases like COVID-19 while also presenting more aesthetic and less stressful spaces for occupants to use.

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