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The Vohrawaads of Sidhpur

Author Name: Zoyab Kadi | Tahaer Zoyab | Format: Hardcover | Genre : Arts, Photography & Design | Other Details

The heritage houses of Najampura, Sidhpur in north Gujarat, have been a subject of many scholarly studies over the last several decades and, although many inconsistent theories have been put forward regarding the evolution of their vernacular architectural style, all of them have uniformly concluded that the underlying grammar is certainly of European origin. Whereas this by itself is a delightful comparison – considering Sidhpur’s remote location - the point often missed is the brilliant ingenuity of the local craftsmen who uninhibitedly reinterpreted and seamlessly fused this vocabulary to suit the needs of a very specific requirement.

Built during the early years of the 20th century when trade and commerce were flourishing on the high seas off Gujarat, the builders of these houses – the affluent Dawoodi Bohra Community – left them vulnerably exposed, for nearly three decades, to a series of self destructive forces, some of which have kept coming back in different guises. The exotic interiors, on the other hand, are a constant source of temptation to drooling antique dealers. Many sturdy houses have gone under the crowbar. Fortunately with a vigorous resurgence of interest within the Community the survival of the remaining stock, though not fully assured, is constantly being monitored by ever increasing groups of vigilant people.  


The compulsion of documentation attempted in this book, with the larger purpose of including features of as many houses as possible, may appear excessive but is wholly necessary and unavoidable.

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Zoyab Kadi | Tahaer Zoyab

Zoyab A Kadi is an architect and Town Planner. A native of Sidhpur and a Dawoodi Bohra by birth, he thus, holds a triple advantage to discuss the vernacular architecture of Sidhpur in some detail. He makes regular forays into academics – Was a member for four years of the All India Council of Technical Education teams to evaluate architectural education and infrastructure in some of the Institutions in South India; Was a member of the Andhra University Board of Studies; Was a regular visiting faculty at School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University. His articles on Sidhpur have appeared in many heritage and cultural magazines including MARG and HERITAGE INDIA. His earlier book “Sidhpur and its Dawoodi Bohra houses” has found a place in many American University Libraries.


Tahaer, son of Zoyab, is also an architect from Anna University, Chennai. His thesis on Aquatic Habitats won the All India Gold medal for innovative design awarded by the Indian Institute of Engineers. With a Masters degree in Urban Design from New York’s Columbia University, his forte is digital and graphic design. He is currently working on “Sidhpur – a pictorial essay”.