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People build their houses according to their requirement and budget. Houses differ in size, appearance and the materials used.
Traditional houses were built with the materials locally available and the houses were designed to suit the local climate. Thus, a traditional house in an area of heavy rainfall would have a sloping roof for the rain water to drain down. Houses in waterlogged areas, as in Assam, were built on stilts. Houses of Rajasthan were flat roofed and used sand stones that could withstand the hot summer sun.
In ancient times, houses in parts of western Rajasthan and Gujarat were built with thick walls and a flat roof top. These houses had a water harvesting system. Rain water from roof tops was directed into the ground water tanks. This system can bee seen even today in palaces and houses of this region.
The 250 years old `Tanka' or basement tank in the ancestral house of Asuthos Bhat in Ahamedbad can hold 8600 litres water.
Tree houses are another feature of the traditional housing in Kerala. Naturally available material such as bamboo, straw, and hay were used in the making of these tree houses. People living close to the forests in those days made tree houses and lived in them to protect themselves from the wild elephant herds.
Technology has advanced so much that on finds all types of houses in any climatic region. Modern houses give importance to their appearance, while traditional houses had to cope with the local climate. Thus, modern houses in Kerala have flat roofs with drainage pipes provide for the rain water to slide down. While traditional houses had mud walls to provide the cooling effect, the modern houses have walls plastered with cement and the cooling effect is separately provided with electric fans and air conditioners.
Japan is a country which always has earthquakes. In Japan there are 500 pagodas that rise vertically to heights of as much as 180 feet. These pagodas have never collapsed during earthquakes. The Buddhist temples swing during an earthquake but have never collapsed. This technology is now used to construct earthquake proof buildings in Japan. Tall buildings now are swinging in their foundation and are able to withstand the violent shaking caused by the earthquake.