Thatch roof construction
Bhoomi Space & Natural buildings
Natural buildings and simple architecture are key elements of all Bhoomi spaces. This is a picture of a thatched roof for a stall space in Bhoomi campus. Every month, on the first and third Saturdays, we have the Bhoomi Santhe (organic farmers’ market) where farmer producers and small scale vendors display their products in the stall area.
Why a thatched roof?
Thatching is the craft of building a roof with a combination of dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof.
Thatched roofs typically last longer and are very durable. They provide excellent insulation, so the space will stay warm when it's cold outside and cool during the hot summer months. As a result of this superb insulation, you save on electricity for heating and cooling.
Uniqueness of thatched roof in Bhoomi
This structure is built by following a traditional roofing method that involves a special type of straw called Manjam- pul that grows in the Javvadhu hills in Tiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu. The grass is harvested, brought down to the plains and transported to the location where roofing needs to be done. Unlike the ordinary grass or palm leaves, this variety of grass is thorny and sturdy. So working with it is not easy. The craftsman has to know the technique of removing the thorn, cutting the grass in a certain way to weave it all together.
This traditional wisdom of thatching has been passed down through generations. However in the last two decades the older generations did not see a great future for this art form. So today only a handful of men from a community in Karur, Tamil Nadu are left who have the technical know-how to do this. Among the group who came to Bhoomi campus was a 55 year old man who claimed to be the youngest in his community, equipped to do this.
It is time we collectively showed interest to revive disappearing art forms. We hope that as a reader you will be able to support them by providing a work opportunity for them.
We sourced Manjampul from Tiruvannamalai through a person who gets it from Arunachala hill. Contact : Mr. Masilamani - +917200117267. Mr. Chinna Thambi - +91 94886 45063 does the roof laying work.