When you wake up in the morning and smell the coffee, you know that it’s coming from the kitchen of your condominium, apartment or two-storey home. You have a living room, garage and perhaps a backyard. But have you ever imagined what life would be like with paintings of gods all over the exterior, a house made of sun dried mud and a court yard in between bedrooms?
India has some of the most colorful homes in the world. In the region of Shekhawati, gods are painted on the exterior of homes structured after the popular Mughal dynasty architecture. The dynasty’s most popular structures are the Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal. Due to lack of water supply, however, Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned soon after it was established under the reign of Babur. That is why it is surpassed in popularity by the enormous tomb of Mumtaz Mahal.
The country of Mali in West Africa on the other hand, houses the Great Mosque of Djenne made of sun dried mud and adobe. It dates back to the 13th Century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most homes in Africa were built in the same manner because wood is scarce. It is said that social status was evident in the number of brick rows one had to make his home; the poorest used only one row to build theirs.
The Indonesian Balinese house is a lot more like a family compound than your typical home. It consists of a courtyard and several small structures that may serve as bedrooms, kitchens or a reception area for guests. Just like a home, a Balinese house has its own gate. The number of gates, however, may vary in size; especially in large temples. Popular temples in Bali are the Kehen, Batur and Taman Ayun among others. Today, many resorts, such as the Bali Beach House, have made use of this Balinese style, giving new meaning to rest and relaxation.
Over in Santorini Greece, the view is absolutely breathtaking. The cluster of white painted villages by the gulf is truly unique to this country. Recently featured in the movie “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”, Santorini is both beautiful to look at, and to look out from. The caves built in the hill are kept at a constant temperature by volcanic activity. The design of the homes as well as the narrow pathways that surround them keeps Santorini’s inhabitants safe from harsh weather.