A veranda or verandah is a roofed, open-air gallery 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 an "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.
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.
In regions with heavy snowfall, especially Aomori and Niigata prefectures, structures called Gangi-Zukuri (ja:) have been developed since the Edo period. For example, the total length of Gangi in old Takada city is over 16 Kilometers.
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.
Being a warm, tropical country, porches were a natural idea in India. In Northern India, where Central Asian influence was strong, walled courtyards were used instead.
However, in South India, veranda style porches are very common, especially in states like Kerala and Konkan. Kerala was influenced by the Dutch, and Goa by the Portuguese. 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 height 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 time.
The origin of word veranda in English language owes a lot to this region. The Portuguese word varanda got into the local language as verandah especially in Malayalam and Marathi. This later migrated into other languages including English as a loan word.
Given its Portuguese, Dutch and British rule, many colonial Sri Lankan bungalows feature verandas. In the Sri Lankan Walauwa (a house once used by headmen under colonial rule) it is used as a space for leisure where families will spend time or read newspapers. Given the rarity of the architectural style in contemporary Sri Lanka houses with verandas are often featured in local films and dramas and symbolise a wealthy household.