Khasi - Settlements



Khasi villages are built a little below the tops of hills in small depressions to protect against storms and high winds, with houses built in close proximity to one another. In addition to individual houses, family tombs and memorial stones ( mawbynna ) are located within confines or nearby. Internal division of the village based on wealth does not obtain; rich and poor live side by side. Sacred groves are located near the Village between the brow of the hill and the leeward side, where the village's tutelary deity is worshiped. Pigs wander freely through a village, and some villages (e.g., those of the high plateau) also feature potato gardens protected by dry dikes and hedges. Narrow streets connect houses and stone steps lead up to individual houses. The upper portion of a Khasi Village may be as much as 100 meters higher in elevation than the lower portion. A village site is rarely changed. The typical Khasi house is a shell-shaped building with three rooms: the shynghup (porch for storage); the nengpei (center room for cooking and sitting) ; and the rumpei (inner room for sleeping) . The homes of wealthy Khasi are more modern, having iron roofs, chimneys, glass windows, and doors. Some have European-style homes and furniture. A marketplace is located outside a Khasi village (close to memorial stones, by a river or under a group of trees, depending on the region). Within Khasi villages one may find a number of public buildings, Christian churches, and schools.


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