Master Pieces of Indian Heritage By: Dr. Prashant Mehta Assistant Professor National Law University Jodhpur Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
An Introductory Profile Indian architecture is majestically displayed through the length and breadth of India are mater pieces of technological achievements combined with unique aesthetics and beauty. No where in the world will you find such varied architectural styles. Architecture of the south is radically different from the north. Original Hindu styles got influenced by the Mughal invasion and later by western styles brought in master pieces of Indian architectural technology and aesthetics.
The Taj Mahal The Marble Masterpiece of India The magnificent Taj Mahal, the 7th wonder of the world is a master piece and the most flawless architectural creation, worldwide. Built by Shah jahan as a memorial to Mumtaz mahal, it took 20,000 skilled artisians and 17 years to be completed. Structured in white marble, the pristine purity of the Taj draws visitors from every corner of the globe. Its untouched beauty is manifestation of the creative principle honed to such refinement that I becomes ethereal
Mahabalipuram South India’s First Stone Temple There are 9 rock-cut temples and 5 monolithic temples. Each of the panch pandav rathas and four out of five raths are supposed to have been creatively carved our of a single rock. It houses some of the the worlds largest bass relief work .
Red Fort Delhi Largest Old Monument The largest of old Delhi monuments, the Red Fort built of thick red sandstone walls with bulging turrets and bastions is also one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. Built by Shah Jahan, and completed in 1648 AD, its walls extend up to 2 kms and vary in height from 18 meters to 33 meters on the city side
Konark Chariot of the Sun God Also known as “Arka Tirtha” it is the grandest achievement of Orissan school, dedicated to Lord Surya. The temple is therefore fashioned like a Ratha or Chariot with twenty-four giant wheels for the hours of the day and drawn by seven prancing horses symbolizing the days of week
Jantar Mantar Resolving Mysteries of Universe Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh’s interest in astronomy inspired the construction of Jantar Mantar in 1716 AD. It contains 15 instrument complexes that not only keep time of the celestial bodies, but also tells a lot about the innovative technological achievements under thr rajput kings and their attempt to resolve the mysteries regarding astronomy.
Ellora The Convergence of Religions 34 monasteries and temples, spread across over 3 kms, carved in the wall of a high basalt cliff. Dating back from 600 AD to 1000 AD, it is not only an artistic creation but a unique technological achievement, representing the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Qutub Minar The Giant Tower of India The tall and stately Qutub Minar stand 238 feet high, measures 47 feet in diameter at its base, 9 feet at its apex, which is reached via a flight of 238 steps. Initiated by Qutub Udding Aibak in 1200 AD, it was finally completed in 1220 AD by Shamsuddinn Attarmash. Qutub Minar is still the highest stone tower in India as well as one of the finest Islamic structures.
Nalanda A Blend of Art and Learning Founded in 5th century AD, Nalanda is well known as an ancient seat of learning. The excavations have uncovered nine levels of occupation, many Buddhist stupas, monasteries, hostels, staircases, meditation halls, lecture halls and many other structures, which speak of the splendour and grandeur this palace enjoyed, when the place was a center of serious study. During the 5th and 12th centuries, it was an international residential university with 2000 teachers and 10,000 students.
Sanchi Stupa The Buddhist Novel Architecture Built by Empreor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC it is one of the oldest stupa in India and contains the edicts of Ashoka. It has a singular distinction of having remarkable specimen of Buddhist art and architecture right from the early Maurayan period (3rd century BC to 12th century AD)
Minakshi Mandir The Combination of Art and Culture Minakshi temple is a large and impressive temple complex with towering architectural structures. Most of the structures date from the 17th and 18th centuries and were founded in Pandya times and completed by the Nayakas. The gigantic temple complex, and status, exploring the entire range of human emotions, everything here is a larger than-life exposition of the splendour of Indian art.
Gol Gumbaz The Massive Whispering Dome The enormous Gol Gumbaz, situated in Bijapur, is seconf in size only to St. Peter’s Basilica in rome. The world’s second largest dome, 124 feet in diameter, stands unsupported by pillars. The fantastic acoustical system in the dome carries the faintest whisper around the dome and returns it to the listner nine times. The gallery around the dome provides fabulous view of the town. The architecture of this building is unique with the four minarets being the four staircases leading to the top of the dome.
Char Minar Arc de triomphe of the East A splendid piece of architecture in the heart of Hyderabad city, built by Quli Qutub Shah in 1591. Its four graceful minarets soar to height of 48.7 meters. It is often called the “Arc de triomphe of the East”. It depicts the unique Indi-Saracenic tradition – a symbiosis of the Hindu and Muslim traditions, which has woven the magic of rich deccan culture.
Gateway of India Reflecting the Hues of the Day Built to commemorate the visit of the first ever British Monarch, King George V and Queen Mary in 1911, was a white plaster arch, which was later changed to the carved yellow basalt Gateway. The changing light of the rising and setting sun gives varied hues of gold, russet and pink to the imposing arch.
Sheesh Mahal The Magnificent Play of Mirrors Sheesh Mahal or the magnificent galss palace is just below Diwan-E-Khas. It is believed to have been the harem dressing room and its walls are inlaid with tiny mirrors, the best spcimen of glass mosaic decoration in India.
Diwan-E-Khas The House of Peacock Throne Entirely unique in its concept is a tall vaulted room with an intricately carved central pillar and capital supporting a platform that once held the emperor’s peacock throne. A masterpiece in Architecture, it’s divided into 2 rooms connected by 3 arches and was the hall for private audiences.
Hawa Mahal The Palace of Wind Its unique beehive like structure is executed in pink and red stone, painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. This kind of ingenious arrangement of screens keeps interiors cool and at the same time ensured purdah for the ladies. It’s a multileveled palace built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 AD.
Jama Masjid An Architectural Triumph Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India and final architectural extravagance of Mughal empreror Shah Jahan. It is also known as ‘Masjid-i-Jahan Numa’, ‘Jahan’ means ‘World’ and Numa means ‘Visible’. Situated in Fatehpur Sikri, it was built in 1572 AD. It was originally built in red stone and later faced with marble. Its lattice screens are intricate and stunning with serpentine brackets suporting the eaves.
Fatehpur Sikhri The Mammoth Gate of Victory Like the cactus flower that adorns the desert. Fatehpur Sikri is a magnificent desert town and once the capital of the Mughal Empire. Abandoned after 15 years of construction due to shortage of water, it still stands majestically, untouched by the passage of time. A masterpiece of architecture, the city is unique in India as a nearly intact mughal city. The buland darwaza [gate of victory], flanked by colossal statues of elephants, was the principal entrance. Carvings and murals cover many of the buildings.
Umaid Bhawan Palace Sand Stone Marvel The Umaid Bhawan palace was founded in 1929 AD, construction was not completed until 1943 and the royal family has occupied the palace since 1944. The architecture is by Lanchester, of the Lutyens School of Architecture. Dominated by European style, but with some Indo-Saracenic touches and a few features that kept in mind Rajput traditions like having a separate zanana wing for women and complete privacy for the royal family.
Lotus Temple In the heart of New Delhi, the bustling capital of India, a lotus-shaped outline has etched itself on the consciousness of the city's inhabitants, capturing their imagination, fuelling their curiosity, and revolutionising the concept of worship. This is the Bahá'í Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, better known as the "Lotus Temple". With the dawning of every new day, an ever-rising tide of visitors surges to its doorsteps to savour its beauty and bask in its serenely spiritual atmosphere
Kumbhalgarh Fort Located 64 kms north of Udaipur in the wilderness, Kum bhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. Cradled in the Aravali Ranges the fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Because of its inaccessibility and hostile topography the fort had remained un-conquered. The fort also offer s a superb birds view of the surroundings. The fort's thick wall stretches some 36 kms and is wide enough to take eight horses abreast.
Golden Temple Holy Shrine for Sikhs The Golden Temple is a place of both stupendous beauty and sublime peacefulness. Two thousand years after Buddha's time, another philosopher-saint came to live and meditate by the peaceful lake. This was Guru Nanak (1469-1539), the founder of the Sikh religion. The temple's architecture draws on both Hindu and Moslem artistic styles yet represents a unique coevolution of the two. Within the sanctuary, on a jewel-studded platform, lies the Adi Grantha, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs. The temple is surrounded with serene lake.