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CMS VATAVARAN 2019 Nomination Series: Koti Banal ​

Mother Nature imposes considerable levels of seismic hazards in large areas of the Indian Himalayas.

This film explores the idea of settlements and buildings in different areas of the Himalayan region, notably Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and their relationship with the landscape.


The building architecture at these plaeces is shaped by the unique mountainous environment.

The relationship between natural systems and human ingenuity as projected through these architecture traditions forms the underlying theme of the film.

Kotibanal is a Documentary about traditional architecture in Himalayan Region.


The whole Himalayan region is very sensitive to seismic activities. In some areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, there has been a tradition of Earthquake-Resistant Architecture. These houses are made of wooden and stone and some are also of four and five floors. This style of building is known as the Kotibanal Architecture.

Many earthquakes have occurred in the past in Himalayan Region. Some severe earthquakes have caused a catastrophe in this area. Despite the frequent earthquakes, the buildings of Kotibanal style remained safe.


In these buildings, the same principles have been used which are used in modern building construction in present time. Disaster Mitigation and Management Center, Dehradun got its carbon dating done, which established that these houses have been standing for centuries.


Local resources were used to build these houses. The design of the Kotibanal Buildings and land selection was also done from a scientific point of view. Due to changing lifestyles, people have left these houses gradually. But experts also recognize that these Kotibanal style buildings are an important heritage associated with the scientific approach of our ancestors.

 Director: Shriniwas Oli

 Photograph Courtesy- Shriniwas Oli

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