As part of the 51st series of his online exhibition by Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, today presented the “Kotha Ghar”, a traditional house of the Bhumij tribe of Bankura district, West Bengal, located in the Manav Sangrahalaya’s outdoor exhibition Tribal Habitat was presented online with its background information and photographs and videos.
About this exhibition, Praveen Kumar Mishra, Director of IGRMS, said that – the Bhumij are one of the largest tribal communities mainly distributed in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and Tripura. Etymologically, the term Bhumij is derived from the word “Bhu” which means “earth”. They call themselves sons of the earth. In West Bengal, they are concentrated in the districts of Bankura, Purulia, Midnapur and 24 Paragana. They speak Bhumij, but their mother tongue has been entirely influenced by Bengali.
Their main occupation is agriculture supplemented by fishing and hunting as a secondary occupation. They prefer to live in the rugged terrain of covered wooded areas. A typical Bhumij house is rectangular in plan, erected by layers of thick mud wall to keep the interior cool. The house shown here is a two story thatched hipped roof house made of palm wood rafters and a thick bamboo frame, Bhumij houses have a one or two story structure.
The plinth of the house is 1.5 feet above the ground. The upper plan of the house is supported by wooden planks that cross horizontally through the beams to reinforce the floor assigned to the room on the upper side. The house has an open courtyard called Uthan, surrounded by a high low-rise perimeter wall with thick mud. The upper part of the perimeter wall is covered with two-sided thatch to avoid direct exposure to rain and scorching sun. It has an entrance called Sadar facing east. The house has two rooms, one on the ground floor and the other at the top: The upper room is approached by a staircase enhanced with mud.