Architecture in India is rarely only a matter of design and style. It is much more than that.

Over the years sustainable architecture has inspired modern homes with its ingenious concepts and material use.

Here’s a look at seven such traditional Indian houses that are exemplary when it comes to sustainability.


1. The havelis of Rajasthan These stand proud and tall as they once were the residential spaces for royalty. The sustainable materials used for these constructions were terra cotta, bricks and sandstone which store and release heat depending upon the temperature around them.

2. Ikra Homes of Assam Sustainability is the predominant ideal around which these homes are built. These are simple structures that require minimal maintenance. Bamboo, thatch, and wooden planks are the main materials used for the homes built in the disaster-prone region.

3. Guthu Mane of Karnataka Characterised by sloping roofs and large courtyards, the Guthu Mane homes of Karnataka are built in a way that the home is in the centre of several land holdings and had a thatch roof to provide shelter from the heat. This suits matrilineal joint families and is common in Mangaluru.

4. Wadas of Maharashtra Having evolved under the reign of the Peshwa dynasty, the Wada style of architecture was such that it made for great ventilation. Owing to this, the need for ACs and fans can be eliminated. These architectural marvels were based on design concepts that are still used.

5. Kath Kuni Homes of Himachal Made with locally sourced wood, bamboo, stone and mud, these are built on horizontal beams. They are resistant to natural calamities  as the weight of the construction presses down, adding to the stability.

6. Agraharams of Tamil Nadu The stark features are the country tile roofing, Burma teak rafters and lime plastering. Using lime plaster in construction has often been touted as sustainable as lime absorbs carbon dioxide, thus offsetting the amount that has been given off during its production.

7. Chettinad Mansions of Tamil Nadu The main feature of these homes in Tamil Nadu is the ‘thinnai’, which is a raised street verandah that is used for social functions. The homes are built in a way to facilitate natural light and ventilation and the Athangudi tiles lend them a regal feel.