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Kohir: home to red havelis

By Our Staff Reporter

ZAHEERABAD (MEDAK DISTRICT), MARCH 22. For an outsider the landscape of Kohir brings to mind the Red Planet, with red roads, red stones and red houses made of red soil. Kohir the mandal headquarters near Zaheerabad, was named after the distinctive red soil of the region -- Kohir in local slang mean red diamond and in Parsi Kohra also means fog.

True to its name the `Pati Matti' once mixed with water turns into diamond strong material fit for construction of multi-storied buildings. Kohir's mud houses are unbreakable and can withstand even the harsh climate of this region.

More than one lifetime

Predominantly a Muslim area, Kohir has houses built before the Nizam's rule still intact. Only a few houses are now plastered with cement from outside. "My grandfather built this house, it has a balcony too. This haveli is built with red soil and my grandchildren are going to live and prosper here," said Ahmad Ali showing his house.

The soil used for construction is available only near the old fort built by rulers hundreds of years ago and in Pati Gadda a small village near Kohir.

Ash to red diamond

The soil actually looks like ash, but once mixed with water, and stored for a day under covers, the mixture turns wheatish and gummy.

Construction is done in stages. First a two-foot thick lining is made and left to dry. Then another layer is applied leaving place for doors and windows, once dried the soil turns into its distinctive red colour. Even the roof is made of this soil with the help of red sandstone available in nearby villages like Pydigummal, Bilalpur, Peechigaddi and Sajjpur.

Construction with red boulders and soil is still going on in Kohir -- school walls, temple compounds, bus stands and shops are constructed by local masons. Mujahid a young man building his dream house with Kohir soil said the interiors of mud houses are very cool in summer and warm in winter. "We in Kohir will continue doing this for years to come" he told The Hindu .

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