Thursday, March 26, 2009

Relish the summer in courtyards

The long cherished dream of starting a decor blog starts here today.Thoughts of summer and courtyards in my ancestral home, where we used to spend most of the time in summers,push me towards writing the first post on courtyards.Memories still afresh.And when I recall these memories,as I go along life's way,I find they grow more precious still,with every passing day.

Summer is here to explore many wonders of the world.Drift yourself to a dreamland sitting in the courtyards,as summer days come closer.With this you also do get an idea how to make your courtyard a focal point.

Let me brief you on the history of courtyards
Climatic changes on an organization are apparent since 2000 BC during which the basic principles of a central court with rooms all around it emerged.Major permanent concentrated populations arose, in the Tigris/Euphrates region of ancient Mesopotamia, the desert coast of Peru at Chan-Chan, the Thar Desert crossed by the Indus River in what is now India, and Egypt of the Nile. In all these arid-region urbanized agricultural centers, the courtyard house emerged as the basic house form.Excavations and studies by scholars reveal that the built form in those times had central open- to- the- sky spaces in the Mohenjodaro and Harappa.The houses had no windows facing the street,but concentrated on the courtyard.These houses may have depended on courtyards for light and ventilation.Evidence of the high degree of crystallised forms of the period indicate that the genesis of the idea of the courtyard could easily be traced back to thousand years before Harappa.The essence of the space has remained unchanged over thousands of years and the years to come.Today, throughout the arid regions of the world, the courtyard house remains a sensible, satisfactory, and preferred solution.The courtyard is therfore a timeless spatial element of Indian Architecture;it continues to be still valid today as before.

This design element (courtyard) is now a reference for new type of construction and planning. Courtyard style is a splendid design called by names – haveli, wada, deori or nalukettu.

Most of the domestic architecture in India is organised around courtyards.
Even in the desert communities where nighttime winter temperatures reach freezing, the daytime temperatures are sufficiently moderate that this courtyard can become an active and usable living space.
It provides a safe outdoor play area for young children and a safe outdoor sitting area for adults and the elderly.

Courtyards of Rajasthan

Simply rooms without roofs

In India, in their construction there occurred a sharing between Hindu and Muslim designs. Muslim havelis included in their designs the chajjas and brackets and the Hindus freely used the cusped arch.
Often yet unprotected becomes the heart of living.The walls provide a portion of shade on atleast some part of the courtyard throughout the day.
Maximising number of habitable rooms that face the the courtyards,the major portion of the house is afforded a sunny outdoor space. Visitors stopped at the outer courtyard where the baithak, siiting place, usually was. Beyond this was the sequestered zenana, women’s area around the inner courtyard.
Traditonal South Indian courtyards:See the air of elegance in themThey become a place for growing plants and placing decor items
Over head shading can be provided by planting trees and vines
Courtyards become the living room of the house both literally and figuratively

Japanese courtyardsChinese courtyardsCourtyards of Modern houses become the epicentre of showcasing new designs,becomes new design symbol

Image,archistud,,Meghal Arya and Home review.


  1. oh lovely post Lakshmi!! Excellent images!! I cant wait to see more posts from you...

    Hey.. I wish I could have a small courtyard atleast... apartment living doesnt really give you that flexibility... :-)

  2. Thanks Patricia,for your lovely comments and encouragement.I am so glad that you loved the post and you have become the first follower.We too are in apartments and only when we go home that we get to sit in courtyards.Its summertime,its vacation time and missing our homes dear.

  3. Hi Lakshmi,
    Another apartment dweller joining your ranks .... you did a great job of your first post.Look forward to what more you will share.

  4. This Is such a lovely post Lakshmi with so much details and research :) I know this blog will be different compared to other ( where they post a bunch of theamed pictures) d├ęcor blogs . All the best :)

  5. Thanks all for your lovely comments.I am so glad by the appreciation and encouragement given to me by all.
    Rajee Sood:Thanks Rajee,Thanks for inspiring me .I am glad you have started following my blog.I do regularly follow your blogs.They have amazing pictures.
    Sharanya:Thanks dear for encouraging me so much.I am basically a research scholar,having finished my Ph.D.So you will definitely find alittle bit of research in all my posts.lots of stories and compiling yet to wait for more.Thanks once more all.

  6. Great post Lakshmi! I'm a big fan of courtyards too, and really enjoyed reading about their history! This is a great start to your new blog, looking forward to reading more!

  7. Thanks a lot my dear Shalini.Glad to hear your lovely comments and thanks for following me.

  8. Hi Lakshmi, I’ve tagged you on and cant wait to see your reply.

    Hope you have as much fun as I did!!!

  9. Hi Lakshmi, this is Rashmie Jaaju - your flickr contact. Came across your blog through your flickr post of the day! This is an excellent article - full of details and unique information and the pictures are great too. Shows the genuine effort that went into it...
    Keep up the good work. I will keep following your blog.

    Pls chec out my blog:

    Only a couple of weeks old... :)


  10. great work and information. three cheers to you and your positive attitude.


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