Architectural features and construction techniques of Kalash houses in Guru village, Birir, Chitral

Rahim, Alveena
The Kalash community is the smallest minority of Pakistan with a current population of 4,184 (PPAF, 2015) residing in the northern district of Chitral. A special case, Kalash are the only living Indo European civilization that have not adapted to any larger institutionalized religious system and still follow their pre-Islamic rituals, social customs and traditions. With the present crisis of globalization, the Kalash are going through a phase of change where the need to conserve their culture and identity is more important than ever. Hence, “Guru village” an example of authentic Kalash architecture, with natives still residing among the housing units in Birir Kalash Valley, is selected as the main study area for this thesis. The thesis focuses on the understanding of the architectural features and especially construction techniques with emphasis on construction technique of the houses. The thesis aims to create reliable and comprehensive information that can solve the construction problems faced by these houses, hence protecting and preserving original techniques of Kalash settlement within the region. Literature review is done covering history of Kalash, the valleys and their architecture. Information is gathered by visiting the village with observations made on the spot and the original structures sketched and photographed to determine the current status. 17 old houses are surveyed of which 8 are surveyed from exterior while 9 are studied with interior and exterior. Thus, the information gathered from the site survey and literature studies is analyzed collectively to evaluate the architectural features and the construction techniques of the houses.