A veranda or verandah is a roofed, open-air hallway or porch, attached to the outside of a building. A veranda is often partly enclosed by a railing and frequently extends across the front and sides of the structure.
Although the form verandah is correct and very common, some authorities prefer the version without a "h" (the Concise Oxford English Dictionary gives the "h" version as a variant and The Guardian Style Guide says "veranda not verandah"). Australia's Macquarie Dictionary prefers verandah.
Veranda, as used in the United Kingdom and France, was brought by the British from India (Hindi: बरामदा). While the exact origin of the word is unknown, scholars suggest that the word originated in India and may have first been adopted by Portugal's relations with India and spread the word from there. Ancient and medieval Indian texts on domestic architecture like Vastu shastra uses the word "Alinda" for this architectural feature.
The veranda has featured quite prominently in Australian vernacular architecture and first became widespread in colonial buildings during the 1850s. The Victorian Filigree architecture style is used by residential (particularly terraced houses in Australia and New Zealand) and commercial buildings (particularly hotels) across Australia and features decorative screens of wrought iron, cast iron "lace" or wood fretwork. The Queenslander is a style of residential construction in Queensland, Australia, which is adapted to subtropical climates and characterized in part by its large verandas, which sometimes encircle the entire house.
The bandeirista style house from Brazil typically has a veranda positioned to face the sunrise.
In regions with heavy snowfall, especially Aomori and Niigata prefectures, structures called Gangi-Zukuri (ja:雁木造) have been developed since the Edo period. For example, the total length of Gangi in old Takada city is over 16 Kilometers.
In Poland, the word "weranda" is commonly used for the unheated roofed annex to a house, without walls or with glass walls.
The Creole townhouse in New Orleans, Louisiana, is also noted for its prominent use of verandas. In fact, most houses constructed in the Southern United States before the advent of air conditioning were built with a covered front porch or veranda.
Spanish Colonial architecture (as well as the "Mission style" revivalist version that became popular in the Western United States in the early 1900s) commonly incorporates verandas, both on the exterior of buildings and, in cases of buildings with courtyards, along the interior walls of courtyards. In some cases, homes were constructed with every room opening into a courtyard veranda, rather than interior corridors or direct connections to other rooms.
Early known examples of verandah in domestic architecture comes from Vastu shastra texts which lays out plans and describes methods to build houses, where "Alinda" (veranda) is common feature of domestic buildings.
Porches were a natural idea in India, a mostly warm, tropical country. In Gujarat the porch area is called the otala and in Hindi belt it is known as alinda. These structures are not only used to cool off, but also as a center of social life where neighbors can talk and kids play, and as a religious center where rituals and worship of the Gods can take place.
In Southern India, the term thinnai is used, and these structures are very common. This area serves a religious purpose in addition to a social one, and is the center of everyday life for many. Konkan's architecture is influenced by nature. It is sustainable and cost-effective. In Konkan traditional architecture, the veranda is called otti, a semi-open space with low seating covered with a permanent roof. It serves as a transition space leading to an enclosed environment. Sometimes the sides are covered by wooden jali walls. It offers temporary resting space to house members during the afternoon and evening.
In Sri Lanka, verandahs original derivation was from traditional vernacular architecture and are known as "Pila" in Sinhalese, both front and rear veranda examples are also known and common feature in local vernacular architecture. Traditionally, domestic vernacular architecture layouts were also influenced by Sri Lankan Buddhist Manjusri Vasthu Vidya Sastra text, which in turn was influenced by Indian Vastu Shastra texts.
In Hong Kong, verandas often appear on the upper floor of the first to third generations of Tong Lau (shophouses) due to a lack of space since the 19th century.