MEDIEVAL CITIES OF INDIA
The medieval era in the
Indian history begins from
the decline of Vedic era in
the end of 6th century until
During the period, a large
number of kingdoms
flourished in the region.
Great cities were developed
Religion, military & politics
formed the basis of city
The Mauryan and Gupta
dynasty in the north,
Cholas and Pandyvas in the
south, Aghom dynasty of
The Indian peninsular region majorly followed Hinduism, until the
spread of Buddhism and Jainism and onset of Islam.
Under the patronage of kings, a lot of great temples were built which
lead to the development of very particular temple styles and other
architectural features in every region.
The temple and other religious building held an important place in
During this period, there was
constatnt threats from neighbouring
regions, this lead to extensive
measures for security.
It was during this time, that the
concept of fortification and defense
city walls was used widely.
Great scholar from vedic era and
kautilya has provided detailed guide
lines for designing.
The king and the royal court were
the seat of administration of
CITY PLANNING: SHILPASHASTRA
The vedic era bestowed the world with vastushastra which formed the
basis for design and construction for centuries. All the medivial cities
followed certain parts from it and kautilya later formulated detailed
regulations for defense purpose.
The roads were generally irregular and narrow in the residential
region, while the major roads used by kings were wider.
The cities were not made on a regular pattern to create a maze like
plan for defense purposes. Roads generally radiated from a religious
place or market place.
The RESIDENTIAL PATTERN observed strict hierarchy in terms of
distance from the royal fort situated on a mound. They developed
along side or along the contours.
The royal citadel must have a council hall in the center.
It must be surrounded by a number of secondary fortification
walls and moats.
The military should be stationed within the fortress as a
precaution against any invasion.
Residential quarters should be located towards the north, while
The Silpasasthras refer to four distinct categories of habitation
settlements within the forts and fortified cities
The earlier Silpasasthras do not put more emphasis upon the secular
large artificial tanks are also located in all directions. Some times the
step wells are provided in alignment with the fortification walls .
The palaces were provided with guard rooms at various strategic
points for guards, equipped with arms, weapons, and well–defended
Common residential houses, houses of Kings, special housesassembly halls and council chambers, animal- sheds and stables, for
cows, horses, and elephants.
Prasad's or temples may be classed as extra –ordinary houses as
residences for Gods together with their accessory building for
worship, ritual, shelter, and the ceremonies of a religious.
Samaranganasutradhara; literally means an ―architect of human
FORTS AND DEFENCE SYSTEM
Kautilya in his Arthasasthra has described a number of forts to
be raised on certain places in different localities namely
Sthaniya, Dronamukha, Kharvatika, Sangarahana etc.
On all the four cardinal directions of the boundaries of the
kingdom, defensive fortifications against an enemy in war was
constructed on grounds naturally best suited for the purpose.
• A water fortification , such as an island in the midst of a
river, or a plain surrounded by low ground.
• A mountainous fortification (parvata) such as a rocky tract or
• A desert fortification(dhanavana) such as a wild tract devoid
of water and overgrown with thicket growing in barren soil.
• Or a forest fortification (vanadurga) full of wagtail (khajana)
water and thickets.
These water and mountain fortifications are best suited to defend
populous centers and desert and forest fortifications are
habitations in wilderness (atavisthanam).
Ancient literary works prescribed the rules for laying foundations
of the forts and their different essential components and
Architecturally, the fortifications consist of five components as
propounded by the Silpasasthras
1. The Vapra, the built up artificial mound
2. The Parika or a moat with glacis
3. The Prakara or Sala or the fortification wall which is
encircled by a Parika
4. The Attalakas (the bastions) provided along the Prakaras.
5. The entrance gates, the Gopura or Pratoli.
Jodhpur was founded in
1459 by Rao Jodha, a
Rajput chief belonging to
the Rathore clan.
Rao Jodha succeeded in
surrounding territory and
thus founded a state
which came to be known
as Marwar, that initially
served as the capital of
however, Jodhpur soon
The land area which is called jodhpur
took over that role.
today was only a small portion of the
The city was located on
grand marwar state before independence.
the strategic road linking
Its borders touched
Delhi to Gujarat.
• Bikaner in the North
• Jaipur in the North-East
• Ajmer Mewara in the East
• Sirohi and Palampur in the South cutting across the Thar of
Sindh province and Rann of Kutch
• Jaisalmer State in North-West.
The foundation of this fort was
laid on 12 May 1459 by Jodha
himself on rocky
This city came to be known as
Jodhpur or Jodhana or Jodhaji
Ki Dhani and was the capital of
the Marwar state for five
Eventually Rao Jodha
decided to shift base to a
safer spot and moved from
Mandore to Jodhpur which
he founded in 1459.
It was a sage who suggested
that Jodha establish his
settlement on a craggy hill
known as the birds
nest, which is now called
Atop this eyrie, Jodha built
his stronghold called the
Chintamani fort, which was
later called Mehrangarh.
This fort was situated 6 miles
south of Mandore on a
mountain called Chidiyanath
EVOLUTION OF THE CITY
The story of Jodhpur begins with Cheeria Nathji, the
city's first citizen who had lived here in contemplative
isolation for many years when Jodha's masons
shattered his tranquil world. Irate, he cursed the
In 1459 there were no water bodies of consequence near
Bhakurcheeria, and with the fort under construction the settlement was
The water problem was successfully tackled by Jodha's queen Rani
Jasmade who constructed a tank at the base of Mehrangarh, today
called Rani Sar, The Queen's Lake.
A year later another of Jodha's six wives built a baori or step-well in the
Like other medieval cities of consequence, Jodhpur was originally a
walled city too.
Jodha's walled Jodhpur had four Pols or gates three of which still
stand, though not in very good condition.
Jodha's capital was small indeed, for these gates stand almost in the
shadow of Bhakurcheeria.
The city was located on the strategic road linking Delhi to Gujarat.
This enabled it to profit from a flourishing trade in
opium, copper, silk, sandals, date palms and coffee.
EXPANSION OF THE CITY
The Afghan when
announced his intentions
of invading Marwar, the
then Rathore ruler, Rao
Maldev, was compelled to
complete the city's
fortifications which once
again embraced Jodhpur.
The walls were twenty
four thousand feet
long, nine feet thick and
forty feet high.
He built six gates-Chand
Pol, which faced west in
The other five gates were named after the major Rathore forts they
honour of the Lunar
God's ascent, was the
first in that direction.
The gates and walls were simple and functional in design, the walls
punctuated with platforms and towers for keeping watch and shooting
and were ingeniously interrupted with projections so that no elephant
The settlement within the fortified city walls was random but the areas
were segregated according to the caste and the financial status of the
Wealthy Marwari merchants came and built opulent havelis.
Brahmins clumped together.
Artists, charans, ironmongers, masons, carpenters and people of every
other profession came in small bands to the new site.
As each category found their niche and built their residences, from the
sandy expanse slowly emerged a vibrant city.
Jodhpur’s oldest residential area, as old as the fort itself is
Brahmpuri, the settlement of the Brahmins. Their houses packed
together along narrow streets.
During 1638 the state
became a fief under
Empire, owing fealty
to them while
period, the state
Mughals with several
Jodhpur and its people benefited from this such as Maharaja
exposure to the
wider world with new styles of art and architecture made their
appearance and opportunities opened up for local tradesmen to
make their mark across northern India.
Maldev's walls, formidable as Sher Shah found them, were not
able to contain Jodhpur for long and except for the gate in the
east and in the west, all the other gates were shifted outwards
again in the reigns of the brothers, Maharajas Abhaya Singh and
Bakhta Singh (1724-1752).
JODHPUR UNDER THE
Maharaja Maan Singh
incursions for many
years but in 1839 they
and Jodhpur for five
months and left behind a
Resident Political Agent.
Jodhpur too outgrew her
walls under the influence
of British town-planners.
Jodhpur remained a
When under the influence of the British buildings sprang up
walled city till the
beyond the walls Notable amongst the buildings that sprang up
outside the walls were• Sir Swinton Jacob's splendid Jubilee Courts to celebrate
Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee
• Two new palaces for the Maharaja; the Raika Bagh Palace
with its own little railway station and the red sandstone
Ratanada Palace with its private race course, polo ground
PRESENT DAY JODHPUR
The walled city of old Jodhpur had eight gates, of which Jalori Gate
and Sojati Gate on the south are the most important – The busiest
commercial centres surround them.
Today these gates stand repaired and painted, but unused because the
walled section has merged with the expanded new town to make
Jodhpur Rajasthan's second largest city.
The new city expands to the south and east of the old city.
Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world, with a
continuous history dating back 3,000 to 5,000 years. It is often referred
as "the city of temples", "the holy city of India", "the religious capital
of India", "the city of lights", "the city of learning", and "the oldest
living city on earth.
It is a symbol of Hindu renaissance.
The name Varanasi names the two tributaries of the Ganga that lie on
the northern and southern ends of the town, the Varuna and the Asi.
They guard the city against the entry of evil: Asi = the sword; Varuna =
The city of Varanasi has grown
along the arc of the Ganges, with the
river as a focal point in one direction
and growth of the city taking place in
a semi-circular direction.
From the nature of the bend of the
ganga it is obvious that the minimum
river erosion would be in the northern
zone of the Dasaswamedh and as
such, the first settlement must have
been in that area.
However, as the settlements grew
larger in size and number, the
expansion of the city proceeded
southwards at first and then west
The city has a radialtaking
and south-westwards, development pattern with areas like Benaras
Hindu University, Manduadih, Sheopur and Sarnath emerging as new
advantage of tanks and
growth centers drained sites which
relatively better in all directions. Varanasi comprises the old city
area, central area and new area.
Architecture in the old city area dates
back to just after the Afghan invasion.
During the Gupta period (3rd to 6th
century), the Ghats became the centre of
economic and cultural activities.
By the 17th century the riverfront
landscape (Ghats) became prominent in
the overall arena of Varanasi.
The palatial buildings along
the Ghats were built under the patronage
of the Marathas during the 18th-19th
Even in 19th-20th
centuries, many Ghats were
reconstructed, renamed and reshaped.
THE MEDIVIAL TIMES
The height of Varanasi’s splendor
was in the 11 th century AD.
The main density lay to the north of
the city’s present location, which was
stately parkland full of hermitages
Two great temples pierced the
skyline: Bindu Madhava atop
Panchganga Ghat and Vishveshvara
set back from the river.
The ancient Raj Ghat ford was a
busy port with lots of cargo being
loaded and unloaded.
During the period surrounded late
Camel caravans between the the 18th and 20th
edges of the city.the riverfront many monasteries (ashrams), Sanskrit
schools, temples, and pilgrim rest house were built by the Peshvas of
Pune, Holkar of Indore, and Scindias of Gwalior (Madhya
Pradesh), the Bhonshalas of Nagpur (Maharashtra), the
Sursand, Bhabhua and Darbhanga estates of Bihar, the Rani Bhavani
The old city of Varanasi
extends about two kilometers
back from the river and is a
maze of alleyways and streets.
The Muslim quarter, most of
temples, mosques, ashrams, t
he vegetable shops and
budget accommodation can
be found here.
The riverfront of Ganga
comprises of a series of 84
Ghats as a special chain of
sacred places. Ghats bear
testimony to the uniqueness
of Ghat architecture which is a
The central and new area is home to mosaic of different cultures.
banks, cinemas, administration, train station and thedensely
The old city is world famous
Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya
populated and lacks open
founded BHU in 1916 on 1,300 acres. It attracted a ghat area offers
spaces. The major migrating
population during that period and the relief to high densities all the
city started to grow in of
The British stayed in an
area, which is now
called the Cantonment.
Over a period of
time, with the inclusion
of a large number of
villages and urban
settlements, the city's
resulted in irregularly
shaped built-up areas
along peripheries of the
central areas of the city.
As a result the
municipal city limits
have been extended as
and when the need was
CHANGE OF LAND
• Godavari stream was filled up, acts
as the main approach road to
• Dasaswamedh provides a beautiful
and colorful riverfront view and
• Today in that area there lies an
incomplete commercial complex and
the area is used for parking of
• The vegetable market is still there
and it has now taken the place on the
road. The skyline of the ghat area has
• Sewerage pumping stations have
•Manikarnika Ghat is the main cremation Ghat of Varanasi.
•It is one of the oldest and most sacred Ghats here.
•It symbolizes both creation and destruction.
•Situated at the confluence of Ganga and Assi rivers, Assi Ghat
is where people bathe before paying their homage to Lord
•Asi Ghat also constitutes the southern end of conventional
The green spaces are reduced
considerately because of:
• New construction over them
• The trees have fallen due to
aging and no new plantation has
• Built open spaces.
• Due to high economic pressures
the city’s open spaces are
Permeability to the city has
reduced, either the street is closed or
the street width has reduced which
has led to:
• Lack of open space
• Unhygienic condition
• Improper drainage
• Increase of pressure on primary
The streets have a hierarchy of
movement pattern with the ones
leading to the Ghats and the main
vehicular street being the most
important ones with the maximum
The streets are therefore of varying
widths, the most important ones
being the widest and straighter and
the less important ones being for
lesser width and more zigzag in
During early period Varanasi was
typical of an oriental city.
The streets were not wide enough for
wheeled carriage particularly in the
densely settled residential areas.
The streets were also generally at a
About one-third of the houses were pakka either built of
chunar stone or bricks.
Majority of the pakka houses were lofty with two or three
stories and several of them were as high as five or six stories.
They were richly embellished with
verandahs, galleries, projecting oriel windows and very broad
and overhanging eaves supported by carved brackets.
The walls of the houses were
richly painted in deep red colour
with designs of flower-pots, men
and women, bulls, elephants, and
gods and goddesses in various
Taxila lies 30 km north-west of Rawalpindi on the Grand
Trunk Road. Situated strategically on a branch of the Silk Road
that linked China to the West,
The city flourished both economically and culturally. Taxila
reached its apogee between the 1st and 5th centuries AD.
Taxila is a vast
ruins, some 30 km
(Khanpur cave) and
The city of
takshila is indo
The city developed and
flourished due to the presence of
•Rivers and their tributaries
•The intersection of major
Broadly the city can be
classified into four mounds•Bhir – the earliest residential
•Sirkap- the fortified city
•Sirsukh- military base
The Bhir mound
formed the residential
blocks of the city .
It was surrounded by
river tamra nala and
further tributary. The
river was a source of
living as well as defense
Adjacent to the
mound was the city of
Sirkap. It was the
cultural centre of
Takshila. Here the great
university of Takshila
Situated towards the
•The layout of the city was established by the Bactrian Greeks
sometime around 180 BC and takes the form of a wide and open
•The city is encompassed by a mighty wall over 5 km long and up
to 6 m thick. There may well have been an entrance on each of the
four sides originally.
WALLS: private houses, stupas and temples are laid out on the
Hellenistic grid system.
•Irregular rectangle of walls
in ashlar masonry with
•This wall attests to the early
influence of Central Asian
architectural forms on those
of the subcontinent. It must
•House foundations and
have looked like represent
winding streets a large
the earliest forms of
urbanization on the
initiated from a
Buddhist stupa, was
situated in the city of
sirkap. As monks and
pilgrims frequented in
stupa, chaytiyas and
•Over the time the
area developed into a
•The site was built according to the "Hippodamian" grid-plan
characteristic of Greek cities.
areas for education
•It is organized around one main avenue and fifteen perpendicular
streets, covering a surface of around 1200x400 meters, with a
surrounding wall 5–7 meters wide south and a monastery in theruins
•The site has two parts: the stupa and 4.8 kilometers long. The north.
are Greek in character, similar to those of Olynthus in Macedonia.
•The school consisted of several monasteries without large
dormitories or lecture halls where the religious instruction was most
likely still provided on an individualistic basis.
To the north of Sirkap
are four temples, all
standing on earlier
mounds and overlooking
the city. They are all in the
style of Greek temples.
King) stupa was
established by the Maurya
emperor Ashoka in the
Takshashila is perhaps best known because century BC around
3rd of its association
with Chanakya. The famous treatise Arthashastra the Buddha.
relics of (Sanskrit for
The knowledge of Economics) by Chanakya, is said to have been
composed in Takshashila itself.
The name Nalanda
means ―the place that
confers the lotus‖.
Nalanda is traditionally
believed to be the seat of
Brahmanic learning till the
beginning of the 5th
It was however, the most
renowned center of
Buddhist learning in India
Historians believe the history of Nalanda university "falls into
two main divisions—
• first, one of growth, development and fruition from the sixth
century to the ninth.
• the second, one of gradual decline and final dissolution
from the ninth century to the.‖
Under the patronage of the
Gupta rulers, a number of high
rise viharas changed the
skyline of the place.
These five great Maha
Viharas stood out:
The five monasteries formed a
network; "all of them were under state
supervision" and there existed
"a system of co-ordination among
The University covered an area of
about one mile long and half a mile
Nalanda had eight separate
compounds and ten temples, along
with many other meditation halls and
classrooms. On the grounds were
lakes and parks.
The central college had 7 large
halls and 300 rooms presumably for
holding of classes.
The university was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was
marked by a lofty wall and gates. The gates were of three storeys rising
to a height of thirty six feet, outside the great hall of the temple there
was a large stupa and various chaityas.
A fine library was built comprising three buildings in a special
quarter, designated as the Dharma ganja. The library was located in a
nine storied building where meticulous copies of texts were produced.
Nalanda was one of the world's first residential universities, i.e., it
had dormitories for students. In its heyday, it accommodated over
Nalanda, along with many other Buddhist monasteries and
temples, was sacked by Turko-Afghan Muslim invaders led by
Bakhtiyar Khalji in the 12th century.
This invasion marked the virtual end of Buddhist culture in India
until the 1950s.
Many historians also believe that destruction of Buddhist
centers of higher learning at this time caused the abrupt demise of
ancient Indian scientific thought in areas such as mathematics and