The historic cities had got a classical architectural tradition which was not seen in other places of the land. It was very much advanced than what was seen in our villages. The plan and construction of houses throughout the cities and towns has been better than the village houses.
The earliest mention of that graceful architectural heritage is not only mentioned in our indigenous historic literature, but in foreign travelogues as well. Mirza Haider Daughlat, a 16th century central Asian researcher, while describing the olden urban architecture buildings of Kashmir writes in Tarikh Rasheedi, “ in the town there are many lofty buildings constructed of fresh cut pine.
Most of these are, at least, five storey high; each storey contains apartments, halls, galleries and towers. The beauty of their exterior defies description, and all who behold them for the first time, bite the finger of astonishment with the teeth of admiration (translated script).”
Usually the old urban houses had been multistory and with almost the same plan that of village houses. Although there was difference of material but in style and in plan there was hardly any difference. The houses were commonly kept rectangular in plan and rarely square.
Surprising, almost all houses built in 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th century have their faces towards south and sometimes towards east, but never towards west and north, while the mosques and khanqahs usually faced to east and never to west.
The Muslim Sufi shrines also strictly faced towards south. Contrary to Muslim mosques and shrines, the Hindu temples faced towards west. Interestingly, the main structures whether religious or secular had got low entrances of wooden gates, and to enter into the main structure one has to down his head towards down words.