The traditional Bhutanese home,
dating back to the seventeenth century, is more than
just a building. A wall surrounds the three story house
and a small yard, where cattle usually sleep and eat.
Behind the house, there is an in-ground hot tub that is
heated by a rocks that are first roasted in a fire. This
stone bath is used for healing purposes and it provides
relief from joint pain for the elderly.
A second stone wall encloses small
fields of rice, wheat, and vegetables. A grinding stone
sits outside and is used to process grains.
Inside the building, the first
floor is dirt and sectioned off into three areas. The
first is a large open space where the cattle sleep
during the harsh winters for warmth. A smaller room is
for the calves, who receive special attention. In the
third area, the people keep their farming tools, riding
gear, and hunting equipment.
There are large bins on the second
floor where the crops from the year are stored, one set
for the cattle and one for the family. Pots, pans, wine
jugs, and other cooking equipment are stored in another
room, along with dried spices like pepper.
The third floor is the family's
actual living quarters. The fireplace is of central
importance to family life: it offers food and warmth
during the cold winter months. Traditionally, the mother
spends most of the day cooking around the fireplace. The
family eats in the kitchen, sitting on the floor. The
kitchen also serves as a bedroom for the parents, while
the children sleep in another room. During the day, the
bedding is rolled up and stored in the corner and the
room serves as a living room. The final room, and
arguably the most important, is the worship room. Here,
the family keeps statues of the Buddha for daily
devotions. There are instruments for meditation,
including bells and incense. On special days, the family
will call on a relative/monk to celebrate at their
house. Special guests are also allowed to sleep in this