(This blog post has been written by Ritu Vora, a student of School of Architecture. All views expressed here are personal.)
Dawn transitioned into morning and the freshness of the air hit us as we reached Bhuj on the 31st of July. The landscape and atmosphere almost seemed perfect for our 5-day trip here.
I knew right away, that this would be an amazing trip filled with fun and learning – Edutainment! As we began to absorb the serenity of the place, we were warmly welcomed by our hosts with a brief discussion about our day’s activities that were so comfortably scheduled for us. The schedule was set to begin with the tour of Hunnarshala that triggered our minds in awe, as we witnessed the crafty designs and material usage of the place, followed by soil testing and an information session about different soils, formations of sedimentary rocks which dated back to the ancient period.
The next day we had a wonderful beginning with different lab methods of soil testing that left us with the desire to dig deeper about earth soils. After quick refreshments, we took a tour to get acquainted with the culture and tradition of Bhuj by visiting a village called Rudramata. We saw beautiful dresses and jewelry being created. On having conversations with villagers we realised that they had an understanding about the kind of houses that would last in earthquakes and even about materials that would be required to build such houses. Our visit to Khamir made us realise what simplicity in architecture and handicraft is. The day ended with us doing leisure walking around the markets and around the breezy atmosphere of the lake, gulping down food to our hearts’ content.
Being at Hunnarshala brought with it a new excitement and an eagerness to learn; we built rammed earth walls, made compressed stabilized bricks, and got a taste of sweet and sweat during our hands-on experience in construction. We also had an opportunity to visit houses built with rammed earth walls initiated by Hunnarshala which again displayed its crafty design.
The next day began with working on thatched rooves and wooden space frames. We gained a thorough understanding of its practical application in parallel with our theoretical knowledge. Followed by hands-on experience of building arches we felt our theoretical knowledge being put to use and that gave us immense satisfaction.
Our 5-day trip ended on the dusk of 4th August, which I felt was just the beginning of our learning journey. We brought back with us great fun and enlightenment. With delicious food and enthusiastic guidance from our faculty, we felt privileged to be there. With gratitude in my heart and fond memories in my heart, we reached Ahmedabad at the dawn of 5th August.