Comparative Study on Design Elements of Namghars in Urban, Rural and Semi-Urban Region using Visual Approach
Monga C* and Das AK
Journal Title:Ergonomics International Journal
Rising inequality and suppression of people belonging to lower class led to Vaishnavite movement, which in turn resulted in creation of “Namghar”. Namghars are an important socio-cultural institution, whose design elements are essential and symbolic for binding the entire community especially belonging to rural areas. However, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyle has led to variations in design elements of Namghar. This study on these variations in design elements will be essential in preserving the essence, harmony among diverse communities as well as heritage of Assam. The objectives of this study are to compare variations in design elements of Namghar located at three different locations: 1) Urban (Zoo Road, Guwahati) 2) Semi-Urban (Sualkuchi) and 3) Rural (Hajo). Field observations of outer overall structure, elements as well as interior structure were made using high-resolution camera. The visuals were analyzed and similarities and differences among key architectural design elements (outer gate, main door, pillars, prayer hall, relief work; Manikut) were compared and discussed. It was found that among all architectural elements; Manikut was found to have least variation (or most preserved). Other elements have drastic variations in size, material as well as form. The design of outer main gate, which was adorned with Vaisnava elements and floral design work for rural and semi-urban areas, is now almost plain without any significant decorations. Similarly, Pillars, which were carved with complex design of Vaisnava elements (Bhakat or Lord Krishna) and also floral work in case of semi-urban and rural Namghars seems to change to much simpler design form (plain round shape) in case of urban Namghars. Overall, there is strong indication of increasing essence of modernization, energy efficiency along with security as compared to relief and decorative work (Vaisnava sect elements) in design of architectural elements of Namghar in Urban location.