In Rohingya culture, usually, there are these types of traditional houses : Wooden house (Totta ghor), Mud house (Maitta ghor), Clay house (Gudam ghor), and Ghoror Oora which is a cowshed.
A Totta ghor is a wooden house which is usually two storied. In Rohingya, “totta” means “wood” and “ghor” means “house”. Totta ghors come in four shapes – U-pong, T-pong, L-pong and I-pong.
An outer or inner staircase connects the two floors and the second floor is where the living quarters are. The ground level is used for storage, where tools and crops are kept. The fence and frame of the house is made of wood, but the roof is made of corrugated iron sheets.
A highly skilled carpenter is required to make these houses. The top floor features a balcony, used as common space to relax and take in the breeze.
Both the urban and rural architecture of Arakan feature totta ghors, which are common and are used by Rohingya and Rakhine families alike. It costs between 10 and 15 million Kyat to make one.
Another type of house known as- Maitta ghor is a mud house, even though it is made of cane or bamboo and palm leaf. It is called a mud house because the floor is made of clay. Clay floors keep the houses cool and are comfortable to sleep on.
Maitta ghors are the smallest and least expensive form of housing in Rohingya villages. It costs around 600,000 Kyat to make, and is 18 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 9 feet high.
A carpenter makes the frame of the house and the bamboo craftsmen make the walls with nipa palm leaves and bamboo or cane which are attached using ropes, wire or nails. There are two or three rooms with an attached kitchen in a house like this. A majority of villagers lived in houses like these.
Gudam ghor is a house which is made almost entirely out of clay. It can be built according to a number of shapes or pongs such as – I-pong, L-pong, U-pong and T-pong.
Gudam ghors are generally built on higher ground and not on low-lying terrain. The walls are made of clay with cane, bamboo or wood being used for the frames and fences. Om fata (nipa palm leaf) and bamboo thatch are used to make the roofs, though nowadays corrugated iron is a more common roofing material. Floors are made of wooden floorboards.
This kind of building is generally single story but wealthy people often make their gudam ghors with two levels. A kitchen is attached to the back of the house on the ground floor but in a two storeyed gudam ghor it can also be on the second floor. There is often a balcony in the front of the house. Gudam ghors are expensive and cost between 10 and 15 million Kyat to make. The clay walls keep the interior cool in the summers and insulate it from fires as well.
Ghoror oora is a cowshed made from wood, used to keep cattle and sometimes store firewood, agricultural products, and farming tools. Ghoror oora has walls made of bamboo and a roof made with om fata (nipa palm leaf).