Scott Evans of First Texas Homes designed two communities on either side of the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Hindu temple, a glittering monument that opened between Independence and Custer in Frisco in 2015 and drew national attention. Before that, he knew little about vastu shastra, the Hindu science of architecture that establishes building principles for spatial arrangements, directional alignments, and symmetry. He’s learned a lot, and he’s learned fast.
Much of the growing Indian population in North Texas is concentrated in Collin County, where schools are strong, homes new, and companies headquartered. And many of these Indian homebuyers are looking for vastu compliance.
Laxmi Tummala, who has worked in the North Texas real estate market for 14 years, focuses her business on Frisco. She says that roughly three quarters of her predominantly Indian clientele adhere to the principles of vastu, to varying degrees, when choosing a home.
Which direction the front of the house faces is the primary concern. North, east, and northeast are generally considered the most auspicious for the positive forces vastu seeks to harness, whereas west is passable and south-facing is the least desirable. However, vastu also takes into account the astrological signs of the owners, so that the optimum direction of the home will depend on the individual.
Secondary considerations include where the master bedroom lies. The southwest corner is preferred, but the northeast corner, which ideally houses a puja or prayer room, is off limits. The kitchen’s placement is also important and, within the kitchen, which direction the cooktop faces. Though this level of detail is only for the most stringent, sales have foundered on the stove’s positioning.
That’s where builders like Evans step in. He wants nothing in his designs to seem inexplicable to a non-vastu eye. A light, bright room with tile, perfect for a puja’s candles, is also a sunroom. And yet those with an eye for vastu, he says, “would know exactly why I did what I did.”
In general, builders have become far more cognizant of how and where to build on a lot, even organizing communities so that street layouts favor the appropriate plot orientations—based on the understanding that north- or east-facing homes in most cases will fetch a premium and sell faster. Evans has closed out four communities and is opening a fifth, and, typically, the last 10 to 20 homesites that lingered were all south-facing.
Site orientation has become such a concern that Tummala has been asked for advice on how to salvage undesirable lots. “I’ve even had builders call me and say, ‘Listen, I have a south-facing lot. Which way should I flip it? Which is the lesser of the evils?’ ” she says.
In turn, she warns non-Hindu buyers of the temptation to buy a south-facing house at a reduced price considering the growing Indian market. “You’ll probably get a better deal now,” she says, “but you’ll have to give a better deal later.”