Understanding Vastu Shastra

India’s ancient system of architecture offers a unique set of design and planning principles for healthier and wealthier living.

Based on the principles of harmony with the natural world, Vastu Shastra is an ancient Indian system of architecture. It takes into account factors such as layout, design and spatial arrangement, and integrates geometric patterns, symmetry and directional alignments, when constructing or decorating spaces. Applying Vastu Shastra principles is believed to bring about peace, wellness, prosperity and positive energies for inhabitants.

The practice is based on five essential elements — earth, fire, light, wind and ether. These elements are believed to radiate energies that can be harnessed positively at home using a range of considerations, from the direction of furniture arrangements to installing such simple features as plants and wind-chimes.

For example, vastu-compliant homes feature a centre that is clutter-free and well-lit, so that light and positive energy emanates to the rest of the house. Similarly, bedroom walls should be painted in earthy tones rather than colours like black, to promote a sense of calm associated with nature.

On the other hand, water and fire features — such as fountains or fireplaces — hold opposing energies and so are not recommended to be placed together. The main entrance of any home, meanwhile, should face north, east or northeast to attract positive energies — a suggestion borne out of an examination of Earth’s magnetic axes. If a house’s directional placement is not favourably inclined as per vastu shastra, changes in the arrangement of furniture can serve as a counter.

Many of India’s ancient towns and cities were built in strict adherence to vastu shastra, but the practice has carried into the modern age. Rajasthan’s famous Pink City, Jaipur, was conceptualised and established in 1727 by its ruler, Jai Singh II, in accordance with vastu shastra principles. More recently, many of the country’s most celebrated architects, like Charles Correa, designed their projects according to the principles, while the iconic Le Corbusier incorporated a heavy dose of them when designing the city of Chandigarh in the 1950s.

Vastu shastra is also a wildly popular design trend in Dubai, a city already well-known for luxury living infused with carefree well-being and calm.

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