Friday, 2 March 2012

Ancient Indian technology

This is an interesting article about using ancient technology for cooling in India, like jalis (stone window screens) and stepwells. We visited stepwells in India on our tour and were told that they were a communal water system and gathering place, but we all puzzled over why they were so elaborate and deep (and would require so much effort to gather water, as opposed to the rope and bucket system.) Here's a photo of one:

 What I learned from the article is that they also acted as a kind of air conditioning. Makes sense. Just as you might go into a restaurant or movie theatre to escape the heat, you could take your time descending the steps to collect water at these way-stops, which were built by the ruling family. The stepwells also had a number of small rooms overlooking the well that could be used as "motels" by passing travelers.
My clever fellow travelers
The jalis are not just practical, but beautiful. Here's a 16th century-ish one and the modern update below it.

1 comment:

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