Sem 04 | Settlement Studies

Pangna, Himachal Pradesh

Rupali Gupti (Coordinator), Milind Mahale, Shreyank Khemalapure, Anuj Daga

The fourth semester measured drawing course has three objectives: first, it aims at translating bodily experience of space to orthographic drawings in order to internalise ideas of scale, structuring of space, proportioning systems, material properties as well as phenomenological dimensions of space ; second, to understand the relationship between spatiality and behaviour and experience; and third to develop an archive on South Asian architecture and urbanism.

This year the study was conducted in Pangna, a  small village in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, located 97 km from Shimla. Situated at an elevation of 5000 feet Pangna lies in the lap of Shikari peak overlooking a valley intersected by several streams like the Pangna khud (river), which runs along the side of the village. The valley of Pangna makes up a part of the lower Himalayas filled with evergreen trees. Stepped farming, carved from the side of hills and the steep mountains are a common feature here. The presence of several streams makes the soil favourable for farming. The neighbourhood once flourished as a farming community that grew pulses. As time passed, agriculture patterns shifted to growing cash crops.

The village has a feudal planning structure , where the center is formed by the erstwhile king’s palace, a temple tower called the fort with a concentric settlement, where the upper castes live closest to the king’s palace and the lowest castes live significant distances away. The village shows interesting house types and settlement clusters that have historically responded to climate and culture. Some of the old house types are the ‘chowkinuma house’, the ‘half chowki’, the ‘baramda house’. The buildings have historically been made with slate and timber construction. These spatial types and building construction practices are now transforming due to economic, political and social changes. The study records these transformations. This year the students have made a website to engage with a larger audience. The website is also used as a growing archive for Pangna. This documentation for SEA also builds its growing archive on South Asian Architecture and Urbanism.

A link to the website can be found here: