The Original Bungalow
The word bungalow is today commonly used in the western world in regards to the popular style of suburban homes; however, the term actually originated many miles away. The word bungalow that is used in the modern language derives from the word banglo or bangla that was common in India. This word is directly translated to Bengali; however, the word is used to communicate the more representative concept of house.
A bungalow is generally acknowledged as a house that is traditionally small and features a thatched roof and a wide veranda. The homes are traditionally a single story house with minimal elevation from the ground as this style of home is low to the ground. The term bungalow can also refer to any home that houses a single family unit. Larger homes can be referred to as bungalows if the building is home to one extended family.
British Colonizing Influence
When the British came to India and came to transform the country into a British colony the traditional Indian bungalow was transformed. During the stay of British colonizers bungalows became much larger in size as the homes now housed not only a family but frequently additional servants. The term bungalow was first introduced to the English language through the British who lived in India as part of the East India Company. The lodgings used by the British Raj were also referred to as bungalows. Since the British colonizers brought the bungalow to the western world the style of home has flourished. Today, bungalows are commonly found not only in their original home of India but perhaps even in greater abundance in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
In India today bungalows are a significant symbol of status as the home is a unique form in comparison to the much more common apartment buildings. The bungalow is designed to help reduce the heat created by the hot Indian sun. The verandas and thatched roof that are common features of bungalows help protect the residents from the heat of the sun along with other heat reducing features. The bungalows of India are typically made of natural and local materials. When designing a bungalow in India providing shelter from the sun is paramount. The bungalows in India are scattered throughout the countryside and it is common to use this style of home as an inn to house travellers. Bungalows are also identifiable by their long and low structure. It also remains common to keep minimal distance between the structure and the ground with at most a step or two being required. The homes are also typically rectangular in shape and divided into a series of rooms. In India it is also of note that the troops of India are housed in bungalows. Modern bungalows are not as common today; however, they are an excellent style of residence for the conditions present in India.