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With Gurez valley turning into concrete forest, Tulail keeps traditional living intact

Post by on Saturday, July 23, 2022

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Bandipora July 21: As the Gurez valley in North Kashmir's Bandipora District is rapidly turning into a concrete forest, the tradition of making wooden houses is still alive in the Tulail Valley.
The tradition of making wooden houses is very old in Gurez and the Tulail valley. Apart from the climatic conditions and poverty of the region, the simple life of the people is the main reason for building wooden houses. 
Located in the mountains, around ninety percent of the Tulail valley’s houses are exclusively made of timber and mud, with tin sheets as roofs. Even in the times when brick, mortar, and iron are the staple construction materials, many people in Tulail still prefer wood and mud for constructing homes.
Mohd Ismaeel, a local from Tulail, told Rising Kashmir that an average of seven feet of snow falls here in winter and hence these wooden houses are used to withstand the harshest weather conditions. "For us, these wooden houses have proved to be quite effective," he said. 
Ismaeel said that there are special carpenters to build these wooden houses because the wooden beams are joined together in a unique way. After completion of wooden work, mud is planted on the inside of the wood, which keeps these houses very cool inside in summer and hot in winter.
Mushtaq Ahmad, another local of Tulail, told Rising Kashmir that as wild bulls are also found in Gurez, instead of building a separate house for these cattle, they are kept in a part inside the house, which enhances warmth in these houses. "Apart from protecting the people from the weather, the wooden houses give a distinct beauty to this beautiful valley," he said. 
Mushtaq said that the houses are highly fire prone and are built at a distance from one another. 
"There is always danger of a fire incident in such houses, so they are built with a safe distance in between. Also, the kitchen, and particularly the hearth area, is protected from catching fire by the profuse usage of mud, "he added. 
People of Dawar, the heart of the Gurez valley, said that the changing mindset of the people has turned Dawar into a concrete jungle and the area is therefore drifting away from an important tradition. 
While talking to Rising Kashmir, MuhammadAyub, a senior citizen of Dawar, said that people in the Gurez think that their greatness and their wealth will be reflected by constructing these concrete buildings, but concrete construction is only spoiling the valley's beauty, which is not good for the emerging tourism here. 
"As far as my perception is concerned, they are not only losing their traditional culture and civilization but also spoiling the beauty of the valley as these log huts have been the first choice of tourists here," he said. 
"It is good to move from antiquity to modernity, but there should be such harmony between antiquity and modernity that antiquity is maintained and modernity is not lost," he added.