The Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Epics and other religious text – the precursors to a mighty religion, culture, a way of life for many……. “ HINDUISM ” A belief These scriptures seemingly hold the potential of affecting many a lives in a myriad forms and the Indian sub-continent is a living example of the same. Each and every occasion is followed by some or the other ‘PUJAN’, be it birth of a child, writing of an examination or…….
Religion and the holy texts can influence people and their social lives & thus to imagine that it effects living and dwelling patterns is not a mere fantasy…. “The Settlements, Their built environment, built forms, etc.” small or great have some influence … some of the constructions and refurbishments of the modern day also help us conclude the same, or what else would explain…… AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE ORISSAN TEMPLES PILGRIMAGES
The influence was obvious because the architectural undertakings all through ancient India & especially the VEDIC PERIOD are looked upon as ideal examples of creativity, conquest, faith and protection. Even though clues to most of those examples are again the TEXTS, nevertheless, an integral part of HINDU CULTURE, are some constructions and settlements…… <ul><li>The hierarchy of the villages mentioned in the Rig-Veda </li></ul><ul><li>Details on the construction methods and other details </li></ul><ul><li>The Shastras dedicated to art & architecture </li></ul><ul><li>The townships mentioned in the epics – Indraprastha, Hastinapur, Karna, Kuru, Mathura, Ayodhya, Dwarka and many more. </li></ul><ul><li>The palaces – lakhgrihya, Mayasabha’s palace </li></ul><ul><li>Others – Ramsetu (the bridge ) </li></ul>All Of That Is Contained In The Vedas And The Holy Books Could Well Be Only Fiction But A Lot Of The Things Mentioned Actually Are The Truths Of Present Architectural Advancements…
Ancient India broadly is studied under 2 heads - <ul><li>Early Vedic or Rig Vedic </li></ul><ul><li>Later Vedic or Epic Vedic </li></ul><ul><li>The categorization is so considered probably because whatever information we have of these periods comes from the scriptures. Namely the vedas, brahmnaykas, epics, and other text containing the Hinduist beliefs and tales. </li></ul><ul><li>The vedas had sub heads as well: </li></ul><ul><li>Ayur Veda (the art of medicine) </li></ul><ul><li>Dhanur Veda (the art of war) </li></ul><ul><li>Ghandarva Veda (the art of music) </li></ul><ul><li>SHILPA VEDA (the art of architecture) </li></ul><ul><li>The mention of such art form in the Hindu religion is so significant that , for instance, for architecture there is believed to have been a god, ‘VISHWAKARMA - the deity of architecture and engineering’ . </li></ul><ul><li>Who is thought to have created the swarg lok for the gods, apart that </li></ul><ul><li>Dwarka for lord krishna in the dwapar yug </li></ul><ul><li>Sone ki lanka in the treta yug </li></ul><ul><li>Indraprastha in the kal yug </li></ul>
The Mention About political life ……. The Early Vedic Age: The Vedic age is divided into two. The Early Vedic period from B.C. 2000 to B.C. 1000. There was a set hierarchy - the kingdom was tribal in character. Each tribe formed a separate kingdom. The basic unit of the political organisation was family (kula). A number of families formed a Village (Grama). Its head was the Gramani. A group of villages constituted a large unit called clan (vis). Several clans formed the tribe (Jana). Their leader was Rajan, the Vedic king. He protected his people from enemies. He was assisted by the purohita or priest, the senani or commandant, the Sabha and the Samithi in administration. The Later Vedic Age: The Gangetic Valley or Aryavartha became the centre of political activity. Kingdoms like Kosala, Videha, Kuru, Magadha, Kasi, Avanti and Panchala came into existence. Kingship became hereditary. The kings were incharge of defence and maintaining law and order of their kingdoms and tried to extend their territories. Therefore frequent wars were fought. Rituals and sacrifices such as Rajasuya Ashvamedha, Vajapeya and Yagas were performed by the kings. Village administration was looked after by the village councils. Taxes like Pali, Sulk and Bhaga were collected from the people. The revenue was spent for the masses. Ref : http://www.textbooksonline.tn.nic.in/Books/09/SocSci-EM/chapter-2.pdf
Settlements…. The Vedic village had certain distinct characteristics that influenced subsequent architectural production. The Vedic grama could have a pur, or a fort-like structure within it. The Vedic hymns speak of "purs" made of stone and metal. The Vedas have many words for houses. It appears that the main distinction was between chhardis ( house with a thatched roof), harmyam (a house of brick and stone that had a courtyard in the middle), and gotra (a multi-dwelling complex with sheds for animals). The Rig-Veda speaks once of a palace with 1000 doors, and twice of a palace with 1000 columns. Ref : http://www.crystalinks.com/indiarchitecture.html Whereas in the later Vedic times it is said there were multistoried building of up to 7 floors , especially for the kings and wherever the family grew in order to accommodate the elder members (the brothers) each a separate floor. True or not - This system prevented the horizontal stretches to spread and did not amount to the pressure on land.
The Shastras…… <ul><li>There were vedas which contained hymns and knowledge of various kind recorded for the man kind to follow and prosper. These, as mentioned earlier, had sub heads under which were studied for the various art forms, one of them being ‘sculpting and architecture’. </li></ul><ul><li>The vedas do mention about materials such as timber, brick (sun – dried) and the flooring patterns etc. These texts also are said to be containing particular measurements for various calculations like those of temples or even residences to tap the resources to the best and hence, keep the mind and body balanced and joyful. </li></ul><ul><li>As a matter of fact the 6th century text is still followed – the vastu shastra . </li></ul><ul><li>But all of this has stemmed from “ Shilpa Shastra – Manasara ” </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : </li></ul><ul><li>The Hindu temple, Alian Deneilou, Ken Hurry </li></ul><ul><li>Early history of India, V.D. Mahajan </li></ul>
The Shastras…… <ul><li>The settlements patterns of the western Gujarat region (including Kutch) resembles saurashtrian settlements pattern. </li></ul><ul><li>The ancient texts also speak of the quadrangular house, amidst myriad other houses named on the basis of the shape the plan acquires, of “CHATUHSHALA ”. These are simple plans in order to ease the laying out of a roofing slope. </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : A Social History Of Indian Architecture, V.S.Pramar </li></ul><ul><li>Though it is a well established fact that a well designed place of residence, with an optimum natural light and ventilation makes a lot of impact on the behavioral and thinking patterns. </li></ul><ul><li>As any human inhabited structure not properly lit and ventilated might result in depressed and sluggish individuals. </li></ul><ul><li>They are said to have made impact on the neurotic and psychotic conditions of a man. </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : Abnormal Psychology, Neale & Davidson </li></ul><ul><li>Also….. </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous texts describe architecture of temples – their dimensions and their proportions... </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : A Social History Of Indian Architecture, V.S.Pramar </li></ul>
The Shastras…… <ul><li>Also….. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a mention about the ornamental treatment of the columns of the temples , much like in the other civilizations, - “the height of the column above the base may be twice, one and one- fourth, one and half, or three- fourth the length of the base. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a mention about the corbelling technique adopted for the shrine construction, though nothing gives you the rules on ‘ how corbelling is done’…. </li></ul><ul><li>From this it can b concluded that these texts were meant probably to be just the theological manuals, not the technical ones. </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : A Social History Of Indian Architecture, V.S.Pramar </li></ul>The shrines – adopted the corbelling technique but how…..
<ul><li>The first purpose of every Hindu Temple, from the humble roadside shrines to the grandest work of royal patronage , is to be a house for a god whose image or symbol is installed & whose presence concentrated at the heart & focus of the building. </li></ul><ul><li>The focal , the sanctuary where the god resides – GARBHAGRIHA – meaning – ‘womb chamber’ , normally with a single door facing east. </li></ul><ul><li>Over the garbha griha rises a superstructure – where not, it is has been lost or something prevented its construction – found basically in two forms – </li></ul><ul><li>curved spire (shikhara), or </li></ul><ul><li>tiered pyramid form & dome like crowning member </li></ul><ul><li>The superstructure as a whole, or else its uppermost part may be raised above the earthly one below. </li></ul><ul><li>The Sanctuary and this superstructure together form , what is called the “vimana”. </li></ul><ul><li>SANCTUARY + SUPERSTRUCTURE = VIMANA </li></ul><ul><li>This may, indeed, constitute the entire temple, being the 1 essential part, “ the shrine itself.” </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : Temple Architecture – Adam Hardy </li></ul>Temple Architecture….
Architectural Function…. As a house of god, the architectural function of the vimana, more than simply to shelter, is to manifest the presence within, to be a concrete realization, a coming into the world of the divinity. Ref : Temple Architecture – Adam Hardy If we abide to what, “ Giles Henry Rupert Tillotson ” writes following Adam Hardy in his book “ Paradigms Of Indian Architecture ” – “ if truth is sight, the Indian temples do follow a ‘grand scheme’… there’s a kind of pattern underlying the complex rhythmic compositions…pattern which is congruent with archetypal ideas in the Indian thought, to the extent that the architecture can be said to have an intrinsic meaning. Formal structures and meaning are both rooted in a world- view, which the temples, almost by definition, must reflect, being conceived as microcosms or images of the universe. The pattern….is a dynamic one of centrifugal growth…represented through architectural means. Hindu temple is invested with a sense of movement that appears to originate at the infinitesimal point above its, continuing downwards and outwards from the vertical axis of the shrine, radiating all around, but especially in four cardinal directions. Temple Architecture….
Temple Architecture…. The axis along which the temple construction is said to have been concentrated.
Temple Architecture…. As per those definitions even the road side shrines, like the ones shown in these pictures, are also adobe of god, no less than the mighty and gigantic architectural constructions. Why then is there a need, to undertake even in present times, massive architectural undertakings to establish the identity of the DIVINE ….?
Temple Architecture…. Laxmi narayan temple, Delhi temple of ISKON, Delhi temple of ISKON, Vrindavan … Is religion actually the basis of these constructions…. temple of ISKON, Bangalore
<ul><li>Architectural Expression…. </li></ul><ul><li>Movement and transformation is expressed through architecture…. </li></ul><ul><li>There are patterns of movement, that are conveyed through a number of architectural means, two or more of which are often used together reinforcing one another. Which are: </li></ul><ul><li>Projection </li></ul><ul><li>Staggering </li></ul><ul><li>Splitting </li></ul><ul><li>Bursting of Boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Progressive Multiplication </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding Repetition </li></ul><ul><li>Pictorial Representation </li></ul><ul><li>Gyration </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : Temple Architecture – Adam Hardy </li></ul>Temple Architecture….
Temple Architecture…. The proportional harmonization of design, is of utmost importance in the construction of a temple. It is believed that the power and purity of the structure radiates from its exact proportions and measures as specified in the texts. It is also believed that a meticulously well constructed temple radiates peace and joy. The standard text Mayamata mentions “Only if the temple is constructed correctly according to a mathematical system can it be expected to function in harmony with the universe. Only if the measurement of the temple is in every way perfect, there will be perfection in the universe as well. “ <ul><li>Measures to avoid all distractions….. </li></ul><ul><li>The lighting: orchestrated such that the mukha mantapa (i.e. entrance porch) is semi-open with maximum light, the sun rays should fall into the mantapa for at least six hours. </li></ul><ul><li>The Sabha Mantapa (for worshippers) has moderate light with few openings. </li></ul><ul><li>Garbhagirha with a single opening allows light only on deity; is also illumined by natural oil lamps. </li></ul><ul><li>The Details: the surroundings of the Garbhagriha are modest in sculptural details. </li></ul><ul><li>Acoustics: Echoes are avoided by a clever manipulation of open spaces and designs in the structured areas. The Shilpis, in some cases (Meenkshi temple & Sundareshwara temple, Tirchendur) displayed remarkable ingenuity in sculpting “musical” pillars, which when struck at precise parts, produce the seven swaras (octaves). </li></ul>
The ancient shilpis used a great degree of precision in their measurements. The anu was employed for extremely delicate or intricate or the most vital aspects of a sculpture; for instance, the eyes and facial features of the image of presiding deity. Eight anus (particles) = one nulu (breadth of a fine cotton or silk fiber), Eight nulu = one hair (breadth of horse hair), Eight hairs = one grain of sand, etc. The Material… The Building materials like stone, brick, mortar, wood, etc., are selected for the main body of the temple, whereas elements like gold and silver are be used for final ornamentation. The traditional Indian temples of stone, it is said, are designed to last for 800 years unlike RCC structures which are guaranteed for 80 years. Vedic architecture – the power of life-giving principles The Bleeping Herald Temple Architecture….
Temple Architecture…. <ul><li>Adhering practically to no grounds. Neither completely based on what the religion says nor to the demands and needs of the country. </li></ul><ul><li>Are these places in any way even investing in the growth and better understanding of the religion they are built to support? </li></ul><ul><li>The temples house the poor and needy, believe in charity for the helpless? </li></ul><ul><li>What part of the religion is being appreciated and praised through these constructions? </li></ul><ul><li>… are the “road – side shrines”, then an encroachment…..?? </li></ul>
Though the historians like S.K. Saraswati, observed, “the descriptions….are vague and inadequate ….” and thus it is difficult to relate any temple to the written texts on the same. Though the reason behind this lack of clarity has never been questioned. The Shatras owing to this reason are considered more as “theoretical writings of the theologians, the learned Brahmans, than the manuals of architectural and artistic practice complied by builders and craftsmen. According the architect, George Michell, “the lack of technical information in the shastras reveals their true function as a collection of rules which attempt to facilitate the translation of theological concepts into architectural forms” Ref : A Social History Of Indian Architecture, V.S.Pramar Temple Architecture….
The Epics….. Even the epics mention about people who constructed palaces for gods and those who were considered incarnations of god himself.
The Epics….. <ul><li>For instance, the palace after the burning of khandava forest was built by ‘maya’ which probably marked the beginning of the town of Indraprastha. </li></ul><ul><li>The Palace for Pandavas… </li></ul><ul><li>Considered to have been built on columns of gold and the superstructure in marble set with pearls. </li></ul><ul><li>Landscaped with trees, scarlet and pink flowers and lights at the entrance. </li></ul><ul><li>The interiors are believed to have been lit by the lamps of gems, furnished and carpeted. </li></ul><ul><li>The windows thought to be covered with woven gold nets. </li></ul><ul><li>It had gardens with full grown trees, ponds with flowers and fishes. </li></ul><ul><li>It was made cool in the heat and warm in the cold. </li></ul><ul><li>It had staircases, beautiful doors and floors. </li></ul><ul><li>The place also had the illusionary effects like those of mirages and vice versa… </li></ul><ul><li>Ref: pg 86-87, Mahabharata, William Buck, Shirley Triest </li></ul>Though the method of construction, time taken, cost of the project, the details are not talked about but these ‘not practical aspects’ also are a very important part of the practical “ARCHITECTURE”.
<ul><li>The Town Of Indraprastha.... </li></ul><ul><li>Around 1450 B.C., the Khandava-prastha forest on the right of Yamuna with a culminating spur of a branch of the Aravali mountains, now called the ridge, was chosen as the site for the new capital city for the pandavas. </li></ul><ul><li>The nigambod cremation ground & the Nillichattri temple also have been thought to have built by yudhishtra. </li></ul><ul><li>All of this , though, could be a myth but archaeological excavations confirm the existence of city life around the 1 st millennia B.C. and the area of the Dinpannah, set up by Humayun is the probable site. </li></ul><ul><li>Though the archaeological surveys also suggest that it must not have been a very big city but importance can be anticipated by the presence of Asokan edicts. </li></ul><ul><li>Ref : H.K. Kaul, Historic Delhi. </li></ul>The Epics…..
The Epics….. Karna.... It is believe that Karnal city was founded by Kauravas at the time of Mahabharata epic, for the King Karn. Bearing proximity to the then Indraprastha (Delhi), only some 123 kms away. Hastinapur….. Believed to have been the the capital of Kauravas and Pandavas, around 80 kms north- east of Indraprastha, the warring families of the Mahabharata. The maximum period of the reign well thought-out to have been enjoyed by Raja Bharat, eight of his successors also bestowed with the same privilege until Raja Kuru. Kuru…. Raja Kuru …from whom Kurukshetra received its appellation. His descendants were kings like Vichitravirya, who had sons Dhritrashta and Pandu.
The Epics….. The Lakhgrihya.... The city of Varnavatra chosen, by the blind king in Mahabharata, for the Pandavas, was to have a palace for the princes by some skilled craftsmen but their enemy had infact thought of debauch. He secretly got a hidden chamber constructed while their residences were being built. This chamber was of lack, so that in a fitting opportunity the Pandavas might be destroyed in a flame. Ref : H.K.Kaul – Historic Delhi
The Epics….. Ramsetu, the bridge.... “ ANOTHER STORY”…..? The bridge that supposedly was built by lord ram to get to the Ravan’s Lanka where he had kept Sita arrested. The bridge was constructed for the vanar sena, to pass by on from the Indian continent to the Lanka where Ravan resided. ‘ The Catch’ - Even the satellite images show some connection between the Indian continent and Srilanka, which supposedly has been the Lanka mentioned in the mythological epic. Could This Bear Any Relation With The Bridge Of The Ramayana?
The Epics….. Historical value of the epics…. The Ramayana illustrates the story of the aryanisation of the country. The rakshas were probably the non- Aryans who did not like the expansion of the Aryans. The Deccan was inhabited by the non- Aryans Though by the time of the Mahabharata, the whole of the Deccan, is believed to have been, Aryanised.
In a country like india, we have places like haridwar, trichy, vaishno – devi, allahbad, benaras, varanasi and many more, which are living examples of the faith and belief people bestow in their culture. These cities emphasize the importance of hindutv and everything that has association with the hindu culture. The skyline of these cities have one thing in common - the temple form. These are the cities which have come up because of the temples themselves and are still existing because of the people’s faith in religion. The tell- tale cities…..
Points to ponder on……. RELIGION… … based on epics…. EPICS… … .fictitious…. What are the “ENIGMATIC CITIES” thriving on…..?
Points to ponder on……. <ul><li>Even if……fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Is fiction ultimately not derived and influenced from the social and cultural set – up of the times it is written in? is it not a reflection of the way people think in the given period? </li></ul><ul><li>Or is it the chicken – and – egg situation? </li></ul><ul><li>Whole of the world, we have seen is shifting towards the west, adopting its culture and fashioning all it’s giving, but….we have the westerners turning towards India…appreciating the rich culture and heritage, trying to decipher the background of the huge spellbinding attractions…..why then do we have such explorations? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we have more of westerners appreciating and trying to read Indian contexts than our own countrymen? </li></ul><ul><li>Is a feeling of pride generation of our achievements too tough a task? </li></ul>
Points to ponder on……. Sketches By Bill Dewson, of The South Indian Temples <ul><li>There are a numerous points which lay hidden to make any work complete in the literal sense of the word… </li></ul><ul><li>Is architecture the solidified, materialistic forms & blocks or is it the vision, the thought, the view & purpose worked on to suit a given content & reflect the ideology of the society. </li></ul>
COINCIDENCES……or is it something other that that? <ul><li>Timber and brick construction are still prevalent. </li></ul><ul><li>The dimensions of not only the religious places but of almost every activity space is set and when adhered to gives the best results. </li></ul><ul><li>The prescriptions in the Vedas for creating better homes, worship halls, etc. are all accepted today in one form or the other to make our buildings more efficient and work in tandem with the nature. </li></ul><ul><li>The temples conceived, then, have not changed over the times. </li></ul><ul><li>The concepts of comfort against the environment have made the lives easier. </li></ul><ul><li>The artistic elements be it of interiors or landscape or using fancy materials for the building facades do hold a very important place. </li></ul><ul><li>There are ways to create hallucinations through medium of art, the concept of illusion paintings is well known. </li></ul><ul><li>Townships being made, are constructed in a particular hierarchy. </li></ul><ul><li>There are multi storied buildings to prevent the horizontal pressure on land. </li></ul><ul><li>The light effects on human minds are being studied everywhere. </li></ul>
MY VIEW…. <ul><li>Fiction or reality these texts sure are pieces which can really stimulate the creativity within us. </li></ul><ul><li>Even if we can not give credit to these texts for having inspired us, </li></ul><ul><li>even if not all of the architectural achievements today have been stirred from these scriptures, there must have been some instances where inspirations have materialized. </li></ul><ul><li>Further, there are still held a numerous things we can be inspired from and contribute to the architectural developments. </li></ul><ul><li>Or at least not consider the places of worship/religion significant contributors to the riots & chaos faced today but try & improvise on their patterns & may be even think of measures to re – infuse the values they were associated with. </li></ul><ul><li>And….Not let the temple cities just be means of minting money or turning the black to white or just a mere showcase of machines & technological support or wealth without any real meaning. </li></ul>
<ul><li>But….Realize that after all, the aesthetics and immeasurable possessions do play a very important part. </li></ul><ul><li>It is not just the tangible aspects which need to be thought about & calculated as per the user needs. </li></ul><ul><li>But, also, The Intangibles which need to be adjusted, calculated & dealt as per each individual, each architectural creation, as per the social & cultural back drop & the economic status not only of the individual but the likes of him/her in the society he or she is living in. </li></ul><ul><li>At the end, all of this put together would form the context , which should be the prior most thing to be understood and absorbed before undertaking the construction of any new temple, re- -erection of a holy building or the ‘namesake’ maintenance of pilgrimages. </li></ul><ul><li>REF: More than 21 years of living in the country considered to be the originator of </li></ul><ul><li>“ HINDUISM” </li></ul>MY VIEW….
A THOUGHT …. Provoked by…. Dr. Jyoti P. Sharma A Student’s Bewilderment…. Expressed…through the hues of vermillion to the funerary grey… Sonam Gupta