Houses

Houses

Siolim, Goa, India

Housing

Siolim is located in Pernem in the northern part of the territory, on the south bank of the Chapora River amid palm groves interspersed with dense forest. The geographic unity is associated to the identity of the riverside towns and villages. Several border the river from Colvale to Chapora, with Camurim, Oxel, Camuli and Carade standing out among them. The major reference for this region of strong Catholic implantation is the Church of Saint Anthony, just as the important Hindu community turns to the Shri Kshetrapal Temple with its three vertical domes. Some of these villages live from their relationship with the Chapora River, carrying out activities such as sand collection and fishing. There are various anchorages along the river for unloading sand, where full boats are manually unloaded by men and women who constantly shuttle back and forth over long wooden planks carrying aluminium or plastic pails on their heads. Small and improvised neighbourhoods with collective quarters form on the beach, built of logs and thatching. Inside are makeshift bunks where men sleep in shifts. On the beach the sand is separated from shells which are sold to the still active limestone kilns in the village of Carad near Camurim. These installations are situated near an inlet and comprise a shed with laterite columns covered by palm fronds. The cylindrical ovens are located inside, open above, with a small inlet at the base. They are fuelled by coconut husks, which burn slowly (about ten hours) during the firing period, after which the fired material is removed to be separated, ground and sacked. This traditional lime is still used mainly to whitewash churches, temples and old houses, particularly those belonging to the dominant families. Some refined examples of such buildings can be found in Corvale and Siolim. The architecture of traditional houses is much more modest, characterised by the somewhat orange colour of the rammed earth and side gables, and by the long low porches. Some of the examples observed cor- respond to a deep compact compartment typology, while the simplest examples present two or at most three mutually accessible rooms. This region counts many artisans, from carpenters for furniture, houses and boats and ships, as well as street blacksmiths who travel according to client needs and basket weavers who produce delicate work to store and transport products, and mats of all sizes. Inside the forests, though close to housing clusters, are the stock houses built of laterite ashlars. These are generally gable roofed with a single room and door and count various ventilation gaps which seem like arrow slits, making the structures appear fortified.

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