Dharmshala: To minimize the damage by frequent earthquakes in the mountain range, the people of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh have built quake resistant homes of bamboo, mortar and raw materials. Courtesey; 80-year-old DD Contractor Dalia.

This noble technique was solely designed by Dalia, born to German mother and American father in Texas, who is now settled in Dharamshala. Dalia being an interior decorator has also renovated Jag Niwas and Jal Mahal (Udaipur).

Dalia, who was married to famous architect and builder Ramji Narayan of Indian origin 62 years ago, discovered a technique that could not only be used in environment friendly but also quake resistant constructions as well.

When Dalia discovered that Dharamshala falls in the seismic zone- 5, she encouraged the people to build homes on this technique. The house construction technique, known as DD contractor, is quite popular and every builder makes an effort to adopt the technique.

Specialty of the technique

The houses built with mud, wood and mortar do not require an air-conditioner for cooling in summers or a heater for winters. Not only this, there is also no need of a fridge to store water and eatables. A major advantage of this technique is that these buildings get ample of oxygen.

While building the foundation of any structure, tires filled with polythene are placed in it and closed with mud plaster. In two storied buildings, wood and bamboos are placed one after the other while building the roof of the house. As a result, the joints don’t open during an earthquake.

Dalia’s contribution

Engaged in construction since two decades, Dalia has built 15 earthquake resistant buildings so far. She has built a 14-bedroom hotel in Bagli near Dharamshala and several yoga centres with the use of this technique. She is currently working for school building and hostel in Kandbadi area.