September 17th, 2006
Apartments and Vastu Shastra
When I started looking for a house to purchase in Bangalore, my only intention was to purchase it for myself for living in and not for investment reasons. Initially I had thought of looking for a plot of land and constructing a house there. I had thought that I would take part in each and every aspect of planning, design and construction – but slowly I realized that I had none of the three things required for undertaking such a project – time, energy or patience. I then decided to do what most Bangaloreans are doing - purchase a flat in one of the up and coming areas of Bangalore. And like most Bangaloreans, I paid a lot of attention to Vastu.
While making a decision to purchase any property, it has become necessary for both the builder and purchaser to consider Vastu. For the builder because he/she has to sell the property for the first time and for the purchaser because he/she would like to live in the apartment without getting spooked if someone mentions that the house is not Vastu compliant and because they would like to have an option to sell it sometime in the future.
This article is not about Vastu Shastra and why I think it is relevant in our times. That is not a topic of discussion. I will also not try to explain every last principle of Vastu here. A lot of books are already written on this subject which explain nothing more than what portion of building should be built in a given direction. I am sorry to say that they do not do justice to the science of Vastu and are far from ground realities and problems that plague our cities. Consider a house with good open space towards east. Someone else purchases the plot towards the east and a building comes up there. It effectively blocks all the incoming sunlight and the morning fresh air. Although the neighbouring building and plot has a different ownership, would this affect the Vastu of our building in question? And how?
How do we then purchase an apartment given all the constraints? This decision becomes complicated since we cannot make any big changes to the layout and the plan. Even if the builder allows making some changes, we still cannot make the entire apartment Vastu friendly. We go for an east facing apartment, and find that the kitchen is in North-East where it is most inappropriate.
In case of apartments, we need to give importance to factors beyond this one unit. Even from ownership perspective, it makes sense as all the owners of the apartments jointly own the common areas of the entire apartment complex. The walls between the apartments are shared anyway. It is as if the residents of a building are all part of one big family.
Therefore, the entire plot area of the complex is important and rules of Vastu should be applied more strictly here. The plot should be more or less rectangular. North-east should be developed and more prominent than the other three corners. If there is only one bore or tank for water supply within the apartment complex, it should be towards this north-east corner. Large water bodies, e.g. swimming pools, artificial ponds or lakes should be in appropriate area, i.e. away from the fiery portion of south-east. The plot in its entirety should be sloping upwards from north-east to south-west. Main entrance to the complex should be in north, east or north-east. The amount of open area towards the north or north-east of the plot should be more than south or south-west.
If there are multiple buildings in the apartment complex, the central area of the complex should be relatively construction free. This seems to be the case with most of the projects as a garden or play area for children is always planned for in the middle.
To choose a particular building, a building towards north east portion of the complex should be given preference. The entrance of the building should be looked at properly. Again, the plan of the building should be more or less rectangular. A building should be avoided if the main entrance is towards south or west. An apartment in the middle of a building should be avoided all costs – but that is just common sense since it would be difficult to get sunlight and air circulation in the apartment if it is planned in such a way.