Explore forgotten urban architecture

The historic towns had a classical architectural tradition that was not seen in other places in the country. It was much more advanced than what we saw in our villages. The plan and construction of houses in all towns and villages were better than village houses.

The first mention of this graceful architectural heritage is not only mentioned in our native historical literature, but also in foreign travelogues. Mirza Haider Daughlat, 16 years oldand Central Asian scholar of the century, while describing the ancient buildings of Kashmir’s urban architecture writes in Tarikh Rasheedi, “In the city there are many high buildings constructed of freshly cut pine.

Most of them are at least five stories high; each floor contains apartments, halls, galleries and towers. The beauty of their exterior defies description, and all who see them for the first time bite the finger of astonishment with the teeth of admiration.

Usually, old town houses had several floors and had almost the same plan as village houses. Although there was a difference in material, but in style and in plan, there was hardly any difference. The houses were generally rectangular in plan and rarely square.

Surprisingly, almost all the houses built in the 17and18and19and and early 20and century have their faces south and sometimes east, but never west and north, while mosques and khanqahs usually face east and never west.

Muslim Sufi shrines are also strictly south-facing. Unlike Muslim mosques and shrines, Hindu temples faced west. Interestingly, the main structures, whether religious or secular, had low entrances of wooden doors, and to enter the main structure one must lower one’s head towards the words.

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