Three years after the earthquake, the people in Gatlang are rebuilding their houses and the village is rising again. But the village looks different now. Blue is the new black in this village, with more and more people resorting to building brick houses with blue tin corrugated sheet roofs.
Gatlang, Rasuwa: Situated at an altitude of 2,400 meters, Gatlang is known as the black village. This village in northern Rasuwa district was adorned with houses of dry stone walls and black wooden roofs, giving it a unique outlook.
People here used to have three-story traditional houses with the ground floor reserved for cattle, second floor for the living and the top low-ceiling floor to store food.
All was honky-dory in the village of Gatlang with thousands of tourists visiting every year to see the lifestyle. That was until April 25, 2015 when the massive earthquake completely devastated the village.
The weak stone walls crumbled and wooden roofs fell.
Three years after the earthquake, however, the people in Gatlang are now rebuilding their houses and the village is rising again.
But the village looks different now. Blue is the new black in this village, with more and more people resorting to building brick houses with blue tin corrugated sheet roofs.
There are, however, many villagers who have begun to gather the remnants of their old houses and are reviving the traditional structures as well.
One such local is 50-year-old Karchung Tamang. He lived in a make-shift tent for two years. “Now, I have gathered the remnants of the old house and rebuilt it,” he said, while taking a breather from the construction work. His family members were busy breaking available stones into the required shapes and sizes.
He did buy some bricks and cement to build a new house with the government’s private housing grant of Rs. 300,000, but, he is equally aware about the importance of rebuilding his stone house too.
“The village is known for its stone walls and black wooden roofs,” says Tamang. “So I want to rebuild the traditional house as well to maintain the identity of this village.”
Tamang and many other villagers in Gatlang are now working on rebuilding the stone and wooden houses simultaneously. The difference is they now feel and know that dry stone masonry alone is not enough. Hence, many of these villagers have used mud and cement mortar to ensure the stone walls that are much stronger than before.
The villagers here have also kept in mind the technical advise provided by the technicians deployed by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to build the houses earthquake-resistant.
Despite the efforts by some villagers to maintain the identity, nonetheless, blue has now become the new black in Gatlang.