A Shelter So High!


What is a shelter?

A shelter is defined as a basic architectural structure or building that provides protection and safety from the surrounding environment. 

For example, your home is your shelter

  • Shelters in the city that you live in are mainly made up of brick, cement, glass and steel
  • Homes in cities around the country are made up of the same materials
  • However, houses in hilly areas are very different from houses in the city; they are usually made of wood and stone.

If you travel from the tropical and warm Mumbai to the cold and hilly Kashmir, which states would you travel through?

Starting from Mumbai in Maharashtra, one would have to travel through the following states:

  • Gujarat; capital – Gandhinagar 
  • Rajasthan; capital – Jaipur
  • Madhya Pradesh; capital – Bhopal
  • Haryana; capital – Chandigarh
  • Punjab; capital – Chandigarh
  • Himachal Pradesh; capital – Shimla
  • Jammu and Kashmir; summer capital – Srinagar, winter capital – Jammu


Manali is a very popular hill station frequented by many tourists. It is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Camping in Manali is a fun and exciting experience. What should one carry while camping to shelter themselves from the cold weather?

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Plastic sheet
  • Warm clothes
  • Blankets
  • Food that stays fresh for a few days
  • First aid kit

Leh, Ladakh

Leh, Ladakh is also a very popular travel destination.

  •  It is called a cold desert because the weather here is very dry and very cold and it receives little to no rainfall.
  • Houses in such climates are made of stones held together with mud and lime or are made of wood. Such materials help in insulating from the extremely cold weather.
  • These houses usually have sloping roofs so that the snow and rain can easily slide off. 
  • Leh is situated at 3,500m above sea level. In comparison, the plains we live in are usually no more than 200m above sea level.
  • At such high elevations, there is lesser air and so it becomes difficult to breathe. 
  • One becomes easily tired at such high elevation. However, gradually the body adjusts to the lesser air. 
  • People live in tribes in certain places in hilly areas. This is because livelihood and survival at such high elevations is easier when living in a tribe.
  • Families own goats and sheep which are more valuable to them than money – the more livestock a family has, the richer they are considered. 
  • They obtain milk, meat, skin for tents and wool for coats and sweaters from the sheep and the goat.
  • These tribes live in extreme conditions and keep moving from one place to another. They always carry all their belongings with them everywhere they go.
  • Yak hair is woven and used for making tents; it keeps the inside very warm.


Srinagar is also a very cold place and has unique homes and houses.

  • Houses on both mountains and on water are very common here.
  • Houseboats and dongas on water are common shelters – from the inside they look just like a house with rooms!

As you can clearly see, houses in different places are very different and are usually suited to the climate of that place. The house you live in is very different from the houseboats in Srinagar or the stone houses in Leh.

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