November 24, 2022

The History of Traditional Himachal Architecture, Kath Kuni

If you have been to Himachal, chances are you have been mesmerized not only by its beauty but also by the change in architecture with its lovely wooden houses.

Popularly known as
Architecture by Kath Kuni, these pretty houses are tower-like structures, built of stone and wood, and seem frozen in time, oblivious to the sometimes harsh nature of the area. Sometimes they can also have 2 or 3 floors rather than taller structures.


If reports are to be believed, these historical structures date back to 600 AD.

In Himachal, some of the best places to spot such architecture are Kullu district, Old Manali, Naggar, Malana and Chehni Kothi villages. Then there are two popular temples dedicated to goddesses Hidimba (Manali) and Bhimakali (Sarahan) which are also similarly constructed and attract tourists from all over the country.

Additionally, there is this exquisite Naggar Castle which is known for its beauty and architecture, as well as houses across Malana and the Sainj Valley, where one can witness Kath Kuni influences in all their glory. .

What is special about these structures?

The History of Traditional Himachal Architecture, Kath Kuni

Besides their attractive appearance, these beautiful but strong structures have managed to hold their own, surviving for centuries in areas known to experience earthquakes and tremors almost frequently. For example, Naggar Castle, now a heritage hotel, was built five centuries ago by Raja Sidh Singh, who also followed this architectural style. Interestingly, it also managed to remain unscathed even after a massive earthquake in 1905.

Where else can you find such an architectural style?


Although Spiti and Kangra are also dotted with stone and mud houses, Kath Kuni houses originate from the middle Himalayan belt, which includes Chamba, Manali, Kullu, Shimla and parts of Uttarakhand.

Where to stay for a traditional Kath Kuni experience?


You can choose homestays like Shan ‘e’ Ghar in Sainj Valley and Kudrat in Tirthan Valley for an authentic Kath Kuni experience.

  1. What is the Kath-Kuni style?
    They are pretty tower-like houses, built of stone and wood, and seem frozen in time, oblivious to the sometimes harsh nature of the area. Sometimes they can also have 2 or 3 floors rather than taller structures
  2. What is special about these structures?
    Besides their attractive appearance, these beautiful but strong structures have managed to hold their own, surviving for centuries in areas known to experience earthquakes and tremors almost frequently.
  3. Where to stay for a traditional Kath Kuni experience?
    You can choose homestays like Shan ‘e’ Ghar in Sainj Valley and Kudrat in Tirthan Valley for an authentic Kath Kuni experience.