Bhungas (traditional dwellings)

Bhungas are circular huts made of mud and other local materials. They reflect the ecological, social and artistic aspects of Banni. They are elaborately designed and have artistic elegance. Both men and women are involved in the construction of bhungas. The huts are circular at the base and have dome-shaped, bamboo thatched roof. The walls are plastered with mud, twigs and dung. These bhungas act as natural coolers – keeping the interiors cool in harsh desert summers of the region. Bhungas are able to survive strong desert winds and seismic movements of Kachchh because of their structure and the materials used. Women of the house intricately decorate the interiors and exteriors of the bhunga using mud and mirrors.

It is believed that this form was evolved and adopted by the community after the 1819 earthquake. While most of the buildings collapsed in the recent 2001 earthquake in the region the circular Bhunga was unaffected. As was ratified and celebrated by architects, government and indeed by Kutch as a whole, the circular Bhunga structurally works as a stable arch in the lateral thrusts of an earthquake.  Pastoral communities have been successful worldwide as they have kept their lifestyle simple with minimal possessions- ever-ready to adapt or move with their animals. Their homes may be basic but reflect an evolved design and aesthetic that is entirely derived from an acute understanding of the environment and conditions around them.