How To Build Your Own Castle
5 easy steps to creating your own castle
Spending time with 6 year olds did do me good, you should try it too. Last Sunday I attended a programme ‘What Makes A Palace.’ Unbeknownst to me, this session was for 6-14 year old children. Since I had already paid my entrance fees, I decided to spend some time with really young children spelling ‘f-o-r-t.’
However this session didn’t just give me a great idea for a blog post but it also taught me that children have more imagination capacity than us adults.
The session began with us discussing- What does a Palace signify? For the ease of words, we had decided that a fort, fortress and a Palace can be used interchangeably.
You must feel shocked when I say that six year olds were more imaginative and accurate with their answers than the oldest candidate around- me!
How imaginative and creative are you compared to 6 year olds? Let me throw this game open to you. Grab a paper and a pen. At the end of this game you’ll have your castle ready that’s for sure.
There are 5 set of questions to be answered. First four require you to pen down the points and the last is the real deal.
Shall we begin?
1. Why did they build castles?
Think and jot down the points that talk about the significance of a castle.
A castle might have been a way for the King to express his cultural and religious views. He might want to put his wealth on display. The castle might also be a manifestation of the engineering and architectural skills of the locals.
The best example of this are the forts in central India- they aren’t fancy but an uphill task to conquer…..quiet literally!
2. What is the use of a castle?
Is a castle only meant to be lived in? Or does a castle also house the Royal Army and provide training grounds for them? Add your own thoughts.
Hint- Heard of Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-khas…..
3. What are the different parts of a Castle?
This is a tricky part. Usually in India, most forts are in ruins. We are trying to rebuild these ruins in this game. To do this, we must first answer the basic question- what are the different areas or rooms in a castle?
If you came up with the Royal Family’s apartments, Treasury, King’s Palace, Harem, Treasury you haven’t thought it through. There are many more things that constitute a castle. You do know them, they are hidden in plain sight!
Ans- King’s Room, Royal Family’s Rooms, Kitchen, Storeroom, Treasury, Library, Gymnasium, Army’s Quarters, Servant’s Quarters, Public Hall, Meeting Room, Armoury, Council Chamber, Stables, Recreation Rooms, Throne Room, Royal Carriage Garage, Prison, Dungeon, Crown Jewels, Harem, Gardens. If you got something more, comment below!
4. What Materials Are Used in a Palace
To build this castle of ours, you’ll require materials.
Hint- The forts in Delhi, Agra and south India
If you have made a list, you’ve definitely forgotten an important aspect. How will your materials bind together? You don’t have concrete or glue at hand….
Ans- Before modern concrete was invented, a mixture made from everyday items would be used. It would harden and act like glue. As time has told us, this mixture seems to be more enduring than concrete! The contents of this mixture, you’ll be surprised to know are-
—Sand+Mud+Calcium Calcite+Jaggery+Cottage Cheese+Husk
This mixture would be fermented for a week. The Jaggery, Cottage Cheese would make the mixture sticky, the husk would facilitate its binding power and Calcium made the mixture strong.
5. Let’s Make Our Castle Plan!
Hold Your horses! If you try to incorporate the above listed rooms into your house plan and say you’ve made a castle, you’d be wrong. There are rules to be followed.
These rules were laid down by Kautilya or Chanakya as he is commonly known. Chanakya played an instrumental role in building the Mauryan Empire. He was almost like Sherlock Holmes- direct, emotionless and strict, no fooling around! Chanakya didn’t like wasting time himself nor did he like other people doing so. Astonishingly Chanakya went on to live for 88 years!
In his lifetime, Chanakya wrote a book called Arthashastra (The Science of Politics). He talks about the King, human behaviour, legislation and many other topics including a set of rules to build a fort.
It comes as no surprise that this book is as curt and precise as its author. Arthasthastra has disappeared and reappeared multiple times throughout the centuries. But that’s a story for another day.
For our game, I shall site some rules according to the Arthashastra. Following these rules, you have to create a plan for your castle. However do know that my rules are no way as precise as stated in the original book.
Some rooms or areas in the palace have a specific location. Each of these specifications are listed below.
To the North:
King’s Palace. It should cover 1/9th of the entire fort. The other houses of individuals from all walks of life should surround the Palace. The castle should be on the north from the centre of the castle.
The Treasury should also be on the north
Water Reservoir. Chanakya goes on to state that every 10 houses should have a common well. (you may exclude the well from the plan)
Further from the castle, burial and cremation grounds (you may exclude it from the plan)
To the South
The Burial and Cremations for the Priests should be on the Southern side of the fort. Chanakya is very strict about the burial areas. In case of violation of these rules, a punishment of the 1st amercement (fine) is to be charged. (you may exclude it from the plan)
Royal Kitchen: The Kitchen and other jobs which require a burning fire are placed away form the main Palace. This is done to prevent huge losses in case of a fire. You’ll also find this safety measure in the Versailles Palace in Paris too.
Storeroom: Chanakya almost states an impossible rule- he says that the storehouses must house food which would be enough to feed the castle lavishly for years. He also makes it necessary to replace the food every few days/weeks/months. This would be handy in case of a siege although I find this expense extravagant.
Centre: A Place to house deities
Other Moats- Chanakya says that there should be three moats surrounding the main part of the kingdom, the fort. The innermost ditch should be lined with thorny and poisonous plants. The moats should also have crocodiles and water lotus. These moats have to be fed by perennial rivers so that they are always filled with water.
Phew, that’s the rule book for you. This list is quiet long. You may exclude some points but if you want to be historically accurate, follow them all nad add your own security measures.
What are you waiting for, plan your castles now! Make sure to click pictures of your plans and comment them below. I’d love to see your creativity.
The ideal plan of a fort according to Chanakya is such-
And my plan looked something like this (I’ve broken rules)
I hope you enjoyed this game because I enjoyed playing it with you. Do share this article ‘How To Build Your Own Castle’ with your friends and compare your castles!
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