Lakher - Settlements



Lakher villages are usually built on sloping terrain just below the apex of a hill or mountain. Village sites are more or less permanent, with the people preferring not to relocate because this would require abandoning ancestral burial grounds. Names are selected for villages that highlight some natural feature associated with the location (e.g., Lakai, "winding path," was so named because of the circuitous road that leads to it). Temporary habitations are established in fields during the cultivation season so as to eliminate the necessity of relocating as the need for additional jhum land arises. The Construction of individual homes is asymmetrical, and rarely is there found a major thoroughfare within village boundaries. Only the tleulia area (reserved for community sacrifices) and the home of the chief are placed preferentially, the former being found in the center of the village and the latter usually being located nearby. In antiquity, each village had an internal fortress ( ku ) to which retreat was made in the event of external attack, with a network of sentry posts, strategically placed clearings to prevent covert attack, and stone traps ( longpa ) built along roads leading to the village. This system of fortification no longer exists in Lakher villages. The size and contents of individual homes vary according to the social status of the occupant. Building materials consist of wood, bamboo, cane rope, and palm (or bamboo) leaves.

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