Monday, January 19, 2009

Wooden roofed house stands out at Kachai

The Sangai Express / Ningombam Brajamani

Imphal, January 19: In these modern days where concrete buildings and houses with tin roof tops have replaced almost all the houses with thatched roofs, one house with only wooden roof stands out at Kachai, Ukhrul district.

This unique house stands proudly in defiance to several Government initiatives aimed at bringing equitable development across the country by 2020, under which several houses with thatched roofs have been replaced with tin or zinc.

This unique house was built 40 years back at Kachai, located about 50 kms North West of Ukhrul district Hqs.

The house was built by SK Suiphung, now 80 years old and is now a sweet and proud possession of the family.

The house wholly covered with wooden roof is the sweet home to eight people comprising the family.

From ground to roof, the house stands 18 feet tall.

The house is 18 feet in breadth and 36 feet in length.

In addition to the walls made by wooden planks, the roof is also covered with only wooden planks of 3 feet and 6 inches in breadth and 12 feet in length.

Pillars, beams and lintels of the house are made of Uningthou wood.

The house has three rooms including one kitchen.

The house is fenced by 2 feet wide and 14 feet long Uningthou planks all around.

Towards the front of the house, the compound fencing has only two openings in the form of a main door and a window.

The large wooden planks making up the walls are fastened tight to the pillars using canes.

Builder and architect of the house, SK Suiphung grew up as a cultivator but he had innate carpentry and building skills.

He had constructed more than 10 houses in his life.

Talking to this reporter, the builder and designer of this unique house with only wooden roof top said that the house was built in the early part in 1967 .

Around 60 fully matured Uningthou trees were used in constructing the house and it took three months to build it, Suiphung said.

All these years since the house was built 40 years back, the roof remains free of any leakage and there is no damage to the roof because of strong winds or storms, he said.

However, some wooden planks covering the roof have been weakened due to growth of moss when wet.

To check such damages, the wooden planks are turned upside down once a year, said the octogenarian.

No suggestion was taken from any quarter in building the house.

"It was built according to my own intuition and inspiration from God", he said.

"When the construction of the house began, many villagers ridiculed the whole concept and design of the house.

But when the construction was completed and no flaw detected in the whole structure, many people came to me asking to build exactly similar houses", Suiphung recalled.

"But as I was determined that my house should be the first and final of any structure, I refused all the villagers", he added.

He further lamented that relevant Government Departments have been approached repeatedly to provide house building materials but all the appeals have fallen upon deaf ears.

"But now I don't want any such material.

I would like to die in peace under the roof of my house", Suiphung conveyed.

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