Vaastu is the ancient Vedic science of buildings. Vaastu or elaborately Vastu Shaastra explains some of the basic principles which the architect of the building would have to keep in mind while designing.
Well, as we all know it is a very debated subject. You will find staunch believers of Vaastu as well as ones who don’t bother. However, it is wrong to discuss about the texts without knowing or half-knowing. People who are an authority on vaastu often says that this ancient building science too has some logical explanations and ones who say that Vaastu is all made up has not gone through all the texts.
Let us not indulge into the debates. You be your own judge. Everything has its pros and cons. As Percy Brown has said, if one totally follows the principles then there are very less chances of failure in terms of design. However, things are needed to be optimized and there are a lot of things that you will find unnecessary. In that case, work with architects who hold knowledge in Vaastu. They will know how to apply the needed much.
It is absolutely true that every building is unique. The design of a building is primarily based on the basic needs and necessities of climate, location, orientation, size and most importantly you-The Resident. However, certain tips from Vasstu can make your planning work easier. In fact, if you go through some of the tips you will find some of them quite logical and acceptable as per the Indian perspective of residence.
What is Vaastu Purusha Mandala?
The Earth is worshiped as a male god who is the Vaastu Purusha and the environment is worshipped as the female god. Mandala means system.
Vaastu ensures proper conjugal ties of the male and female entities of a given piece of plot. This can be viewed in a broader sense as a healthy relationship between human habitat and the environment, which is absolutely necessary for a healthy co-existence.
The Mandala System requires the plot of land to be divided into certain grid from. A square form of land is considered the holiest. Nevertheless, other polygonal land forms are divided into square grids. An obvious reason behind this could have been that square or rectangular land forms of plot ensures better construction neglecting unwanted slanted and curvilinear walls which in turn could make furniture placement difficult.
The Pitha Grid
The Pitha Grid is one of the most common small 3×3 square plot. It is small and often is apt for the trending nuclear families.
These are a total of nine blocks scooped out. Each block points towards one of the cardinal directions, the eight cardinal directions being North, South, East, West, North-east, North-west, South-east and south-west and there is one at the centre. The myth goes like this that each block is reigned by one God.
The central block of the grid is kept empty and open to sky. The myth says that this block is reigned by Brahma- the creator of the universe. Hence, this part of the house is advised to be kept open to the sky. Any built form over this part should be avoided.
This kind houses are internally open. Internal ventilation allows privacy as an added perk. The internal windows of the room are large and their ceil level is low however the windows on the external walls of the building are small and have a high ceil level. This also ensures cross ventilation.
However in the todays forms of modern construction this idea cannot be materialized, believers often take take that the central space is without a load bearing column.
The northern block is said to be the reign house of Kubera- the god of wealth. Therefore people often place their lockers and storage units consisting of valuables in the direct northern part of the residence. This part can also serve as a general office. Northern sky does not reflect stark sunlight. A glare free light is good for the office work.
The light reaches in the northern eastern region at around 3am-6am. This time is well suited for jobs like medication and concentration. Therefore this part of the residence can be employed to form a puja room. This room can also be used for yoga or gym or even a study room. This part of the room is under the reign of Ishana.
This is the owner house of the Wind God- Pawan. This part of the house was previously used as stables to keep the horses and other domestic animals. This part of the residence can now be used as a garage or parking.
The part at the extreme south can be used as bedrooms. The south monsoon winds provides excellent ventilation in the bedrooms when located towards the south in the northern hemisphere especially in India. This part of the house is ruled by Yama- the god of death. One should sleep here with the head towards the south.
The south-west part of the house is dedicated to our ancestors or Pitru. This part of the house of was used for storage. It also might be used as an extra bedroom or living space.
South East is dedicated to the god of fire– Agni. This region is occupied by the kitchen. The cooking should be done on the east side of the kitchen. The entrance should not be adjacent to the fire place.
The extreme east is the under the rule of sun god. The sun rises in the east therefore the early fresh rays of the sun falls in this part of the room. This region is employed for keeping and storing water. The morning sun purifies water and water is germ free. This water could be used for bathing or washing. Often wells and other surface or sub-surface sources of water can be stored here.
The west side is reigned by Varuna the- lord of water. This place is usualy occupied by the sanitaion area, that is, the bathrooms and latrines.
This system of grid not a strict agenda of a residence, it is vulnerable to changes with respect to requirements. It is only a laid out system of guidelines.
You must have noticed, this system of Vaastu eliminates the requirement of a separate region demarcated as living room or dining room. The south eastern part or parts or the central spaces can often be used as a dining or living room.
Selection of site
The site should be selected keeping in mind certain factors like:
- 1. If there are roads on all four sides of the house, it is considered an excellent plot.
2. Plots having roads on the North side or East side is also considered good.
3. Plots having no roads on its sides should be rejected.
4. Believe in your intution regarding election of plots. Don’t go for plots if it has been sold by temples or people in distress, it sort of can psychologically effect you.
If you want to strictly follow Vaastu, you are sure on end up clashing against a few cost effective solutions. For example, Vaastu will ask you to place your bathroom area away from he kitchen area. Perhaps this was done with the view that sanitation pipes often in the early non-efficient days would leak into the drinking water.
However, presently architects would insist they being placed nearby along the same wall so as to save the plumbing cost. It reduces the amount of pipes used and we can materialize it as pipes used these days are efficient.
Therefore, it is totally upon your discretion.