Alcove 7 – Garo Tree-top Hut, Garo Hills

Tree houses, or tree forts, are buildings constructed among the branches, around or next to the trunk of one or more mature trees, and are raised above the ground. Wood is commonly used for structural parts. In Garo Hills these tree-top houses are built on shifting cultivation plots to watch over the cultivated land. They can be termed as ‘watch houses’. Hence, these are not occupied all year round.

Besides in elephant infested region, the Garos construct tree-top houses which are accessible by means of a bamboo ladder. These houses also serve as look-outs during the daytime for crop-watchers.

The furniture is of the simplest types, and may be limited to a number of sitting blocks or basketwork seats.

In the Garo Hills of Meghalaya state, in the rural areas, people prefer their old-fashioned hut houses which, besides being comparatively easy and quick to erect, are also cool since the thatch roofing is comparatively non-conducting. The houses are not necessarily built on level ground. They are often long, although the size may depend on the size of the family.