Sunday, April 12, 2009

The building art of Nepal

Durbar Square

Pashupati Nath Temple

Newars provided the artistic environment to the architecture and the stepping up undercurrent of Buddhism since Ashoka's pilgrimage to Nepal in third century B.C., thus setting up innumerable stupas. After passage of two thousand years two of the monuments namely temple of Shwayambhu Nath and othe known as Bodhanath came up as hall mark of the period. Main shape of these stupas was of the orthodox semispherical form, surmounted by a large finial of unprecidented design.

Pagoda form of the Far East was readily accepted as the architecture of the valley. Both shikhara form made out of stone and pagoda form chiefly constructed in wood was applied in the temple building. A closed structure forming cella for divinity, around which a courtyard generally provided space for congregation.

Kashmir: the Buddhist and Brahmanical remains ( A.D. 200 to 1300)

Temple of Sun, Martand

700 A.D. to the begining of 14th century had the classical form of buildings. Harwan site and Ushkar showed some traces of Buddhist settlement. And later period was entirely Brahmanical.

Stupa within its courtyard, accommodation for its monks, a chaitya hall. The stupa was square in plan, with its base in three tiers and flight of steps onits western side. This arrangement corresponded to the stupa court of Gandhara.

Lalitaditya Muktapida was the emperor of Kashmir from 724 to 760 under the Karkota dynasty. During his reign, he conquered most of Northern India and Central Asia.
According to the historian Mazumdar, Lalitaditya concentrated his attention on the areas in the north after important victories in the south. His empire reached the remote corner of the Karakoram mountain range.
In the beginning of the 8th century, the Arab invasion had started knocking at the door of the Kabul valley. During this period, the Muslim power in Sindh was trying to march towards the north.
While the empires of Kabul and Gandhar were occupied by these invasions, Lalitaditya used the opportunity to establish his foothold in the north, moving with his victorious army from Dardistan to Turkey. The entire area was rich in Kashmiri traditions and education, due to the efforts of monks and Kashmiri people in towns of Central Asia. Lalitaditya achieved an easy victory in this region.
After the end of Teng reign, those states that had come under the Chinese rule had disintegrated because of civil wars.
Kashmir, at that time, was the most powerful state. During the time of Lalitaditya, its boundaries covered an area from Tibet in the east to Iran and Turkey in the west and from Central Asia in the north to Orissa and the seashores of Dwarka in the south.
Lalitaditya expressed interest in other areas besides his army life. Art and trade gained importance during his reign, religious festivals were held, and special facilities and encouragement were provided to support painters and sculptors. He was a successful writer and a Veena player. Bamzai wrote that Lalitaditya's war victories have received special place among different accounts of his reign. He was later made a hero of Kashmiris. Lalitaditya is considered to be the greatest ruler of Kashmir due to his encouragement of art, great work in human welfare, love of education, protection of scholars, and kindness.

The ancient sites of Ushkar, built by the Kushan king Huvishka approximately in the 3rd century A.D., and Harwan, a typical Buddhist settlement of the type that flourished in Gandhara kingdom, provide the earliest glimpse of the building-art in Kashmir. During the reign of the great king Lalitaditya, who ascended to the throne in 724 A.D., temples constructed using stone masonry sprang up in large numbers all over Kashmir. This building activity continued with the wave of religious emotion which swept over India about the same time, and resulted in a fever of temple building – Lalitaditya's triumphs in the realm of territorial expansion created a cultural climate, of which grandeur was an important ideal. The monumental Buddhist shrine at Parihasapura, now a mass of sculptured stones, and the temple of the Sun at Martand show this quality, not only in their stupendous size but also by the bold confidence with which they were built.
The Martand temple has been often called "the materialized-spirit of a transcendent vision". Built on a plateau encircled by a range of eternal stones this temple represents an architectural expressiveness of the highest order, and forms the supreme model of a style to which a great number of later temples are subscribed. Instead of the Buddhist assembly hall, where congregational worship was held, the central structure here is a sanctuary for the divine symbol. This perhaps signifies a departure from the Buddhist influence and the acceptance of the Brahmanical creed by the people. The shrine stands within a big courtyard surrounded by a pillared arcade and a series of cells. Certain features in the surface decoration of the Martand temple are of unique interest. The regularly spaced medallions, the frequent use of pilasters (cantilevers), and the pediment motif, all recall the architecture of the antique classical west (see also: the parts of a temple). The capitals of the pillars that support cornices have something Doric about them, and their molded bases are of attic type. The encircling colonnade is also reminiscent of the Greek style. However, experts are of the view that these influences are not deep-rooted and that the main composition is of indigenous inspiration, the product of the genius of Kashmir.

The Brahmanical Buildings of Bengal (8th to 17th Centuries)

Jor Bangla Temple is located at Bishnupur in West Bengal. It was built by Raghunath Singha II in 1655. The temple is an exquisite specimen of Bengali architecture. The roof of the temple is made in ‘Chala’ style and there is a small tower which adds strength to the twin-sloped roofs. The walls of the temple have terracotta carvings.

The later Chalukyan Style ( cir. A.D. 1050 to 1300)

With the 10th century, the Karnatic idiom begins to show an increasing individuality that culminates in the distinctive style of the 12th century and later. The Kalleśvara temple at Kukkanūr (late 10th century) and a large Jaina temple at Lakkundi (c. 1050–1100) clearly demonstrate the transition.

The Later Chalukyan or Hoysala style ( A. D. 1050 to 1300)

The Keshava temple in Somnathpur, near the city of Mysore in the Indian state of Karnataka, is the last major temple of the Hoysala dynasty. Somnathpur is around 38 kilometers from Mysore, Karnataka state. The Keshava temple is the best-preserved most complete monument of Hoysala architecture. The temple is believed to have been built (around AD 1268) under Somnatha, a general in the army of Narasimha III.

[edit] Description
The entire temple was built on a broad platform to enable devotees to perform a pradakshina of the temple and to view the wonderful carvings on the outer wall surface. The platform on which the temple stands is guarded by seated lions. The actual temple base rises straight out of the platform and is composed of a series of bands that wind around the star form of the building. The shrines sit at the center of a courtyard bounded by a rectangular perimeter of cloisters and subsidiary shrines. An entrance pavilion is set into the east side of the courtyard.
In Hindu cosmology the universe is carried on the shoulders of powerful celestial guardian elephants. In these temples there are several elephants holding up the temple, which is symbolically a miniature universe. Each elephant is different in stance and poise and is beautifully bejeweled and decorated with chains and bells.
Every corner and angular projection of the central wall space of the temples is inhabited by familiar deities. They appear in all their glory, adorned with heavy jewels, towering crowns, bangles on every arm and chunky anklets on their feet.

The Temple-cities of the Jains

Girnar is one of the holiest places in Gujarat, situated near Junagadh at a distance of 327 from Ahmedabad. It is a holy place and an important pilgrimage for both Hindus and Jains. There are a number of temples located here, which have converted it into a township of temples. Amidst the lush green Gir Forest, the mountain range serves as the hub of religious activity. Apart from this, there is a mosque attracting many Muslim pilgrims to the place. This has made Girnar a perfect example of unity in diversity in India.
The summit has been an important religious place since the 3rd century. Girnar temples present a true blend of art, religion and devotion. The sculptural art used in these temples is outstanding. They have stood the test the time and the cruelty of various invaders. Despite that, the art forms of the temples still retain their magnificence. The Jain temples at Girnar attract devotees of both Shwetambar and Digambar sects of Jainism. The Neminath Temple at first peak is one of the main attraction of Girnar. It was built during 1128 AD to 1159 AD.
According to Jain religious beliefs, Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankar became an ascetic after he saw the slaughter of animals for food on his wedding. He renounced all worldly pleasures and came to Mount Girnar to attain salvation. Here, Bhagwan Neminath reached the highest state of enlightenment, Keval Gyan and Moksha, after great austerities. His bride-to-be also followed his path and founded the 'Sandhvi Sangh', the organization of women ascetics. The rectangular Neminath temple is the greatest temple here.
It has an idol of Lord Neminath in black granite with jeweled eyes. There are quadrangle courtyards, corridors and other shrines. The pillars are adorned with intricate carvings of Jain Tirthankars. The ceilings bear carvings and sculptures of Dancing Goddesses. Apart from this, there is the Mallinath temple, which is dedicated to the 19th Tirthankar. It was constructed by Vastupal and Tejpal. Neminath in 1231 AD. The Lord is shown in blue color here. The
Rishabhadev Temple, situated nearby, is in golden color.
It is dedicated to 24 Tirthankars of Jain religion. Another Jain temple in the region is the Parshwanath Temple. It was built in the 15th century and is also known as Meravasi. Besides this, there is a Goddess Ambe Temple at Grinar. The temple is visited by the newly married couples for good fortune and prosperous married life. A mosque nearby is thronged by childless women for blessings. The Dattatreya hill also houses a number of other temples worth seeing.

Temples with gabled or multiple roofs

Mahadeva Kovil
Nepal & Kashmir: some development in Kathiawar( at Gop, Kadvar, and Bilesvara, Visavada and in the temple of Surya at Sutrapada, of the Kashmir type, and the Malabar( Siva temple, the Mahadeva Kovil, more to the double roofed Nepal temple style of the late mediaeval period.
One theory is presumed anthropological connection existed between the Nayars of Malabar and the Newars of Nepal, while another accounts for the pagoda-like attribution by a contact with China by sea as proved by the Chinese type of fishing nets used on this coast.
Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple : One of the oldest Siva temples in south India where Lord Siva is said to live along with his whole family. The temple lies at Methala village, south of Kodungalloor, 30 kms from Thrissur town. There is a namaskara mandapam in front of the sri kovil with 16 pillars where it is depicted that the temple was renovated in 1801. In this temple, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Uma Maheswara, in contrast to other temples where the Lord's consort has a separate sanctum. This temple has another rare event called "Anayottam" (Elephant race) which is part of the annual festival. Shivaratri is also celebrated in a grand way. The western entrance of the temple is on the Kodungalloor - Ernakulam highway.(NH 17)

Jain temples at Mudabidri near Mangalore. Chandranatha built in early in the 15th centuray.
Some examples are also found in Bhatkal (Kanara)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Indo-Aryan, the temples at Gwalior and Brindaban

The temples at Gwalior (11th century) and Brindaban (16th century)
The sacred buildings in the fort of Gwalior differ little from others around and so do the buildings at Brindaban. But the two examples need different category for their description.
Temple of Sas-bahu among eleven structures of religious significance in the fort, forms the largest, was finished in A.D. 1093. Externally this maha-mandapa is in three stories, which take form of open galleries on all sides. Each story is defined by a massive architrave.

The Teli-ka-mandir , a tall commanding structure 80 fet in height and of a distinctively unusual appearance. It is more of shrine than a temple, as it consists of a sanctuary only, comprising a tower together with a substantial porch and doorway leading to an inner cella. It repersents a rare type of Brahmanical sanctuary, for probably the only other example in the Indo-Aryan style with a shikhara of this order, a relic of their distant Buddhist heritage.

At Brindaban the temple style is variant with the rest of the buildings around the area, notably the five temples are Govind Devi, Radha Ballabh, Gopi Nath, Jugal Kishore and Madan Mohan.
The mode is completely local, relatively late in date, as they were all produced at the end of 16th century and beginningof 17th century corresponding to the period of Akbar(1556-1605) and the revival of the Krishna cult by preachings of Chatanya (1486-1534).
The largest of the temples, Govind Devi, built in 1590, its maha-mandapa takes the shape of a spacious cruciform structure. The temple is well defined structurally, almost absence of figure carving, a combination of balconies and loggias, of bracketed archways and moulded buttresses, wide eaves and ornamental parapets. Somehow it lacks the supreme spiritual content of more orthodox type temple. Its mandapa consists of high vaulted dome formed of intersecting arches.

Jugal Kishore temple's shrine is externally octagonal in plan of 35 feet in diameter. The cella in its interior is a square of only 17 feet side. It is attached to a rectangular mandapa, whose interior is also a square, leaving therefore a great thickness of wall around both compartments.

But the most distinctive portions of several of temples are the shikharas, bear little or no resemblance to any other kind of Indian temple spire. They rise from an octagonal plan and taper into a tall conical tower( that of Madan Mohan being as much as sixty-five feet in height)with a broad band of mouldings outlining each angle.

Indo- Aryan Style at Deccan

The temples of the Deccan ( 11th to 13th centuries)
In a tract, portion of Deccan, middle-west of the peninsula contained between river Tapti on the north and the upper branch of the Kistna on the south.
Includes rock-cut mode such as Ajanta and Ellora as source of inspiration.
The region's architecture was in easy reach by Solanki dynasty on one hand and later Chalukyan on the other. Still notable features of an independent and original order entitling to separate treatment emerged.
The design of the shikhara in Deccani type of temple
The shikhara has a prounced vertical band carried up each of its angles, taking the form of
"spine" or quoin. This feature extends from the lower cornice right up to the finial. The spaces between theses quoins are filled in with rows of small reproductions of the shikhara itself.
Plans of these temples are laid out on a diagonal arrangement with the walls having projections and recesses.
The temple of Jagadambadevi at Kokamthan; the exterior is so ruggedly patterned as to resemble a form of eroded rock.
The pillars are of original order, at times with use of kani moulding.

Phases of Deccani style development.
11 th century.. Temple of Ambarnatha, Thana District. Triple-shrined temple at Balsane, and temple of Mahaeswara, both in Khandesh.
12th century.. Gondeswara Temple at Sinnar, and the Mahadeva Temple at Jhogda, both Nasik District. Temple of Lakshmi-Narayana at Pedgaon, Ahemdanagar District.
13th century.. Temple of Naganatha at Aundh, Andhra Pradesh,
13th century.. "Hemandpanti" type. Temple of Daitya-Sundana at Lonar; Vishnu Temple at Satgaon; Temple at Mahkar, all in the Deccan.

Indo-Aryan style in Gujrat

(The present temple is the seventh temple reconstructed on the original site. The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the common era. The second temple, built by the Yadava kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649.
In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple. The Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone.
In 1024, Mahmud Ghazni raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. The ruins were pulled down in 1950. The Somnath temple signified that the power of reconstruction as the present temple was built by the Shree Somnath Trust which looks after the entire complex of Shree Somnath and its environs. The Present temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasada, is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the skill of the Sompuras, Gujarat's master masons)
Gujrat and the west (A.D. 941 to 1311)
majority of it came up in the interim of over two and a half centuries between Mohmud of Ghazni's expeditions to Somnath in Kaithiawar in A.D. 1025-26 and the conquest of this part by the Sultans of Delhi in 1298.
SOLANKI DYNASTY; centering around Gujrat including Kathiawar, Kach, Rajputana with capital Anahilavada-Pattana.
most of it is non-exist on account of spoilation of by the conquerors and an earthquake in the beginning of 19th cent.

Buildings inspired by Solanki rulers, patronage of their ministers and governors who were prominent members of Jain faith.
The brothers Vastupala and Tejapala.

The temple style had same structural scheme of a shrine with its cella and a pillared hall or mandapa.
resolved into two kinds
1)the two compartments to unite within a parallelogram
2) the two are attached diagonally

The former one applied to earlier period that of Modhera ( 11 th cent.); its detached hypostyle hall or sabha-mandapa
The temple of Somnath(12 th cent.) had the diagonal arrangement in the latter.

Some temple angles were straight sided and other being rounded or foliated, some examples had two or even three stories.

The elevation gets divided into three parts:
1) basement or pitha
2) the mandovara or wall-face up to the entablature or cornice
3) superstructure, vimana, the spire or the shikhara
Somehow it was here that scuplted interiors got into practice, too.
Orissan temple interiors were bare absolutely. Khajuraho temples also had profusely exterior carvings only. The relatively dark interiors temple had little scope of carvings there.
Jain temples on the contrary had also switched over to the interior carving practice.

Solanki dynasty; the principal buildings are below-

10th century... Temples at Sunak, Kanoda, Delmal, and Kasara, in Gujrat

11th century... The Navalakha temple at Ghumli and Sejakpur in Kathiawar: Surya temples at Modhera in Gujrat: Vimala temple at Mount Abu, Rajputana and the group at Karadu in Mewar.

12th century... The Rudra Mala( fragments only)at Siddhapur, Gujrat: Somnath( several times restored) Kathiawar.

13th century... Tejpala at Mount Abu, Rajputana

Indo-Aryan Style, Rajputana and Central India

Rajputana and Central India (8th to 11 th centuries)
Inspired by the Gupta dynasty in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries....
The succeeding phase of the Gupta style flourished from about eighth to the eleventh centuries, shortly after which demolition of many of the temples in northern India by the followers of conquerors not only removed the existing examples, but brought to an end any further building of this kind.

Saugor in Central India, at Eran structures represent a period of 6 centuries, from 5th to 11 th cent. It chose affinity to Chandella group at Khajuraho.
All records of this series showed more compact group of structures at the temples of OSIA near Jodhpur. The abandoned village of Osia had 16 Brahmanical and Jain Temples. Dedicated to Harihara, two were falling under panchayatna class.
All were raised upon plinths like at Khajuraho.
However their shikharas were of early Orissan style.
Three early temples at Osia.
In one Mandapa is open pillared hall. The lower part supporting the sloping seat back or asana and every part of it was heavily carved.
The jain temple dedicated to Mahavira, having sanctum, a closed hall, open porch fronted by torana, example pertaining to the end of 8th cent.

Most graceful of the entire group is the temple dedicated to the sun-god Surya; of the panchayatana, it's four subsidiary shrines being connected by a cloister(sal), it's elegant proportion to shikhara and fine ornamentation of 'vase and foliage' in order of its columns.
Temple of Mata De at Gyaspur
The triple-shrined Vaishnava temple near Amvan in Kota state.
Temple of Kalika Mata at Chitorgarh
all evidently of equal date.

Temple of Pipla Devi at Osia
Temple of Jageswara at Saladi in Godvad
The final phase in temple development is dedicated to that of Sachiya Mata

Thursday, April 9, 2009

course content

1. Ashoka and Buddhist Architecture. Stupas, Chaitya halls, Viharas, (examples from each geographical context, form, construction methods and ornmentation).

2. Hindu Temple Architecture. Role of Hinduism and decline of Buddhism-Geographical/political states and kind of movements.Evolution of temple form: rock-cut and structive. Comparison of temple forms in various regions of India.

3. Various styles of temples: Dravidian, Indo-Aryan( Orissa, Khajuraho, Gujrat, Western India). Jain Temples in Gujrat and Rajasthan. Osian, Mt.Abu . Temple towns of South India (Madurai, Srirangam).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The wooden origins.
The Greek ambassodor Magasthenes' account in the court of Chadragupta in about 300 B C

WORLD HERITAGE SITES pertaining to Buddhist, Indo-Aryan, Dravadian and allied temple styles in India:
Ellora Caves · Ajanta Caves · Mahabalipuram Monuments · Sun Temple, Konark · Khajuraho Monuments · Hampi Monuments · Brihadisvara Temple Tanjore · Pattadakal Monuments · Elephanta Caves · Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi · Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya · Rock Shelters at Bhimbetka

Ashoka, and the beginnings of the Buddhist adventure

Bhaje Caves situated at Malavali near lonavala; a group of 18 Buddhist caves of first century BC located at the foothills of Lohgad fort. The Bhaje caves are amongst the oldest monasteries excavated by monks of the Hinayana order carved around 200 BC.
Buddha during Gupta period

barrel vaulting at Karli

chaitya hall at Bhaja

barrel vaulting at Bhaja

chaitaya arch motif at Gandhara

The East Gate, Sanchi stupa

Stupa with its East Gate. The architraves are involuted at the ends. The motif is an indication that the legends represented could be continued 'ad infinitum'

The Budhist chaitya-hall at Karli

1. stupa( focus)

2.nave( congregational)

3.aisles (next to the cave sides)

4. vestibule ( entry)

STUPAS and monastries at Sanchi in the early centuries of the christian era.

The pillar of Ashoka at Sarnath is famous for its edict. It bears one of the edicts of Ashoka. The edict has an inscription that is said to target schism within the Buddhist community. It reads, "No one shall cause division in the order of monks". The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is actually a column surmounted by a capital. Among others, it consists of a canopy representing an inverted bell-shaped lotus flower. A short cylindrical abacus assists it where four 24-spoked Dharma wheels with four animals (an elephant, a bull, a horse, a lion in this order), and four lions face the four cardinal directions. The four animals are believed to symbolize different steps of the Gautam Buddha's life.

Buddhas of Bamyan: The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which was worn away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors. The lower parts of the statues' arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. The rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs which served to stabilize the outer stucco.
They were intentionally destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban.

The monastic complex of Ajanta consists of several viharas (monastic halls of residence) and chaitya-grihas (stupa monument halls) cut into the mountain scarp in two phases. The first phase is mistakenly called the Hinayana phase (referring to the Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism, when the Buddha was revered symbolically). Actually, Hinayana – a derogative term for Sthaviravada – does not object to Buddha statues. At Ajanta, cave numbers 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15A (the last one was re-discovered in 1956, and is still not officially numbered) were excavated during this phase. These excavations have enshrined the Buddha in the form of the stupa, or mound.
The second phase of excavation at the site began after a lull of over three centuries. This phase is often inappropriately called the Mahayana phase (referring to the Greater Vehicle tradition of Buddhism, which is less strict and encourages direct cow depiction of the Buddha through paintings and carvings). Some prefer to call this phase the Vakataka phase after the ruling dynasty of the house of the Vakatakas of the Vatsagulma branch. The dating of the second phase has been debated among scholars. In recent years a consensus seems to be converging on 5th-century dates for all the Mahayana or Vakataka phase caves. According to Walter M. Spink, a leading Ajantologist, all the Mahayana excavations were carried out from 462 to 480 CE. The caves created during the Mahayana phase are the ones numbered 1-8, 11, and 14-29. Cave 8 was long thought to be a Hinayāna cave, however current research shows that it is in fact a Mahayana cave.
There were two chaitya-grihas excavated in the Hinayana phase that are caves 9 and 10. Caves 12, 13, and 15A of this phase are vihāras. There were three chaitya-grihas excavated in the Vakataka or Mahayana phase that are caves 19, 26, and 29. The last cave was abandoned soon after its beginning. The rest of the excavations are viharas: caves 1-3, 5-8, 11, 14-18, 20-25, and 27-28.

The porosity in the rock terrain achieved for the monks at the Ajanta.

The rough horse-shoe profile in terrain forms the Ajanta arc.

The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) of Ancient India originally formed in Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus River or Syr Darya in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
At its cultural zenith, circa 105–250 CE, it extended from what is now Afghanistan to Pakistan and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan branch of the Yuezhi confederation, believed to have been an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin, China, possibly related to the Tocharians. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China, and for several centuries were at the center of exchange between the East and the West.
Kanishka worshipped many Gods before he embraced Buddhism. Ashvagosha, the Buddhist scholar, probably influenced Kanishka to become a Buddhist. Like Asoka Kanishka also worked for the spread of Buddhism. He took steps to repair many old monasteries. New ones were also built. During his time Buddhism spread to China, Japan, Central Asia and Tibet. Kanishka had convened the Fourth Buddhist Council at Kundalvana in Kashmir. Many Buddhist monks like Vasumitra, Nagarjuna and Parsva attended it. Ashwagosha presided over the council. He wrote Buddha Charita. Vasumitra wrote the great Mahavibhasha. Nagarjuna wrote the book titled, Madhyamika Sutra. Kanishka patronized most of them. He took every step to spread Buddhism. Because of this, he is considered as the Second Asoka.

The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 272 to 231 BC. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Pakistan and India, and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail the first wide expansion of Buddhism through the sponsorship of one of the most powerful kings of Indian history. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created.

These caves date from 1st century BCE to 9th century CE The earliest are 109 tiny rock-cut cells, carved into the side of a hill. Unlike the elegant splendor of Elephanta Caves nearby, these are spartan and unadorned. Each cave has a stone plinth for a bed. A congregation hall with huge stone pillars contains the stupa, a Buddhist shrine. Farther up the hill are the remains of an ancient water system, canals and cisterns that collected and channeled the rainwater into huge tanks. Once the caves became permanent monasteries, they began to be carved out of the rock with intricate reliefs of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas carved into the walls. Kanheri had become an important Buddhist settlement on the Konkan coast by the 3rd century.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The finest example in composite design in the Indo-Aryan Temple style

The Kendariya Mahadeo temple is the finest example in Indo-Aryan temple style because of its attainment of unity in design of its components such as mandapas. It becomes a composite design in plan and exterior profile. It results into overall jagged profile of mostly revered Kailash. The raised platform on which the temples stands in itself becomes dominant feature of the composition. The great flight of steps gives one a sense of arrival in higher ritualistic sense also.

The Pallava's Bhim ratha and Dharamraja rath had subsequent followers in the Dravadian Temple forms in South India

The topmost picture shows Bhim-ratha (having barrel roof top) and Dharamraja-rath (truncated pyramidial form). The gopuram connection with Bhima ratha in following the barrel roof form( chaitya hall) was budhist generative/ derivative, that did not happen in Indo-Aryan temple examples on account of many factors.

The main shrine gets imprinted from Dharamraja rath example. The motifs of barrel form are repeated all round the main shrine, sitting one over other in tiers. The idea was of having houses of gods (portable wooden temples in early Budhist period) all around the sides of the main shrine.