A massive four-storey house on a 80-year-old mango tree has become the cynosure of the local tourists who are queuing up to get a glimpse of it.
The unique house is standing 39 feet above the ground in Chitrakoot in Udaipur in Rajasthan, India.
Built on a carpet area of 3000 square feet, this haven has two bedrooms, a sprawling hall cum dining space, a library, kitchen, two combined toilets and an airy balcony.
Conceptualised in June 1991, the house designed by civil engineer Kul Pradeep Singh was built within six months.
Mr Singh, 73, said: “We partied here on the New Year’s eve.”
The former government employee and an environmental conservationist, Singh was drawn to the idea of building a tree house after inspired from his favourite Indian comic character Betaal.
And when he was thrown the challenge to build one to convince a coloniser to not cut trees, the engineer quickly jumped on to the idea.
Mr Singh said: “This place was filled with around 4000 trees. There were mangoes, guavas, blackberry trees. But due to low profit the farmers sold off their land to a coloniser.
“But cutting off the trees was a huge task for the coloniser. Since I was engaged with a local NGO, I suggested replantation but that would alone cost the coloniser a whopping 22000 pounds.
“A lot of discussion took place. We suggested him to make tree houses but he wasn’t convinced. He then asked me if I can build one?
“I have always believed in the importance of the trees. They are not only the source of oxygen and fruits but also important for regulating ground water.
“In Hinduism, trees play an important part. It is our duty
“This was my time to prove the importance of the trees.”
Without disturbing and damaging any branch of the tree, Mr Singh built the house on two principals-aerodynamics and synchronisation of the movement of the branch.
He explained: “The house is built of only steel and cellulose sheets. The design is such that when a branch moves with wind, the walls also move.
“We have made extra efforts to not disturb the growth of the branches.
“In fact, I have already restructured the house once since building it.”
Singh and his wife Karan Lata Singh, 65, have lived in the house for five years. The couple had to move out of the house for work in a different city.
But the Singh’s say they always look for an opportunity to stay at the house.
“I now enjoy retreat at the tree house with my extended family and friends.”