Rural Situation

Rural conditions in British Garhwal
British Administration in Garhwal -167
History of British Rule/Administration over Kumaun and Garhwal (1815-1947) -187

History of Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon and Haridwar) -1019
By: Bhishma Kukreti (History Student)
At the initial stage of British rule, the human settlements in Bhabhar were near water sources. Bijnor section was administrating Bhabhar. Garhwalis did not wish for settling in Bhabhar till 1947 as they believed that by settling in Bhabhar, they would lose next generation.
Garhwalis used to stay in hilly regions. People used to settle where there was water source very near, there was plenty land for animal grazing and had opportunity for travelling one place to other place. People built huts or houses on stony rocky place at higher place where sun shine was for long; where there was no fear of landslides, no chance of stone, landslide falling on them, water was very near and no fear of flooding. Those were real requirement. People did not settle in river , rivulet banks.
From protection point of view, 10-15 houses were there at one place. In many villages, houses were built as fortress (Kotha). Upper class had houses at upper side (Bithan) and scheduled caste families were always at lower side (Duman)of village. Families of sub castes used to have houses at one place and other castes just nearby but other place and called Khwal.
At initial stage of British rule, water source was in the village but slowly due to rapid changes, many villages lost water sources by drying the water source or flown away due to landslide.As around 1890 or so, in Jaspur (Malla Dhangu, Pauri Garhwal), there was big landslide and water source flown away.
Houses in British Garhwal
The house walls were made of stones and roofs were made by flat grey stones or fibers and leaves. In upper Garhwal as in upper Mandakini or Alaknanda source regions (Bhotia region), the houses were built by wood. People in Bhotia region, the roof were made by wood plates and then mud was settled on wood. Usually, houses were of ground floor and fist floor houses. There was no custom of keeping window.
Usually, houses of a village were in two rows. One house or two houses were there at dead end and only one way was left for passage as happened in fort. It was a need for protection from looters. At initial stage, domestic animals were kept at ground floor or very near gaushalas.
1-Shiv Prasad Dabral ‘Charan’, Uttarakhand ka Itihas, Part -7 Garhwal par British -Shasan, part -1, page- 343-456

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