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WATER ARCHITECTURE IN INDIA
ARCHITECTURE RESPONSIVE TO WATERFRONTS AND WATERBODIES
RANI PADMINI PALACE
CHITTORGARH

1
CONTENTS
3. LOCATION, CLIMATE AND COMPLEX
4. SOURCE OF WATER, HISTORY AND EVOLUTION
5. REASON FOR SELECTION, BUILDING
6. G...
RANI PADMINI PALACE
CHITTORGARH FORT
CHITTORGARH
LOCATION
Chittorgarh is located in the
southern part of the state of
Raja...
River and is supported by ten
arches (one has a curved shape
while the balance has pointed
arches). Apart from the two tal...
Mewar. It is also said that the fort was gifted to Bappa Rawal as part of Solanki princess’s
dowry in the 8th century.. Th...
is primarily sourced from the Bhimlat sarovar, the most ancient of all the reservoirs.

Padmini Palace
Rani Padmini was th...
The very basic principles of planning and design of structures, in the Indus valley civilization
(earliest known civilizat...
The plan is oriented along the north-south axis with the main entrance on the northern side
accessed by flight of stairs.
...
PARAPET
CHHATRI

JHAROKHAS
ALLOWING
INGRESS OF
NORTH LIGHT
AND CROSS
VENTILATION
POL (entrance doorway)
BRACKETS

However,...
BANGALDAR ROOF

JHAROKHA
KALASHA
CHHAJJA
DOME
CHHATRI
JHAROKHA

The shayan kaksha or the bedroom of rani on the first floo...
Rani’s bedroom

OPENING
ON THE
EASTERN
SIDE TO
LET IN THE
RAYS OF
RISING
SUN, THE
OBJECT OF
WORSHIP

11

JAALIS
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES
The principal building material was stone, especially sandstone, marble and limeston...
prevent excessive heating of the topmost room in the building due to the glaring sun and high
temperature.
The main reason...
surface was articulated to make an octagon extending till 0.20 of the length and another 0.20
making a sixteen sided surfa...
Dome
KALASHA
A Kalasha was characteristically a highly ornamental
projection atop a dome or the Bangaldar roof forming the...
CHHATRI
A Chhatri may also be a called a pavilion as it was open on four sides with generally a dome
or flat slab supporte...
chiselled grooves imparted articulation to the plane surface.
CHHAJJA
The dripstone was a sloping shelf projecting out
of ...
state of equilibrium. This even applied to frictionless surfaces. However, one downside is that
an arch pushes outward at ...
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
The structure became significant amongst the various events of the history of India as it was
here...
BIBLIOGRAPHY
ARCHITECTURE OF THE INDIAN DESERT – KULBHUSHAN AND MINAKSHI JAIN
STONES IN THE SAND- THE ARCHITECTURE OF RAJA...
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Rani padmini palace

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Rani padmini palace

  1. 1. WATER ARCHITECTURE IN INDIA ARCHITECTURE RESPONSIVE TO WATERFRONTS AND WATERBODIES RANI PADMINI PALACE CHITTORGARH 1
  2. 2. CONTENTS 3. LOCATION, CLIMATE AND COMPLEX 4. SOURCE OF WATER, HISTORY AND EVOLUTION 5. REASON FOR SELECTION, BUILDING 6. GENESIS OF RAJPUT ARCHITECTURAL STYLE 7. PHYSICAL FORM AND SPATIAL ORGANISATION 12. CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES 13. ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES 19. HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE 20. BIBLIOGRAPHY 2
  3. 3. RANI PADMINI PALACE CHITTORGARH FORT CHITTORGARH LOCATION Chittorgarh is located in the southern part of the state of Rajasthan, 112 km (69.6 mi) from Ajmer, midway between Delhi and Mumbai on the National Highway 8 (India) on the road network of Golden Quadrilateral. Chittorgarh is situated where National Highways No. 76 and 79 intersect at 24°53′11″N 74°38′49″E. It is situated at a height of 180m from the Gambhiri River which is a distributary of River Berach. CLIMATE The climate of Chittorgarh is arid. Summers are quite hot (April-June) and winters are cool (October-February). It experiences scanty rainfall between June and August. COMPLEX Chittorgarh fort is the oldest fort of India and the most splendid, located at a height of 180m and sprawling up to 700hectares of land .It is also known as a Water Fort as it had 84 water bodies, of which only about 20 exist today. These include talabs (ponds), kunds (wells), and baories (stepwells). All the talabs have a natural catchment. The kunds and baories are located below the talabs, so that even the seepage from the latter is not lost. The fort is roughly in the shape of a fish and has a circumference of 13 km (8.1 mi) with a maximum width of 3 km (1.9 mi). The fort The fort is approached through a zig zag and difficult ascent of more than1 km (0.6 mi) from the plains, after crossing over a bridge made in limestone. The bridge spans the Gambhiri 3
  4. 4. River and is supported by ten arches (one has a curved shape while the balance has pointed arches). Apart from the two tall towers, which dominate the majestic fortifications, the sprawling fort has a plethora of palaces and temples (many of them in ruins) within its precincts. SOURCE OF WATER 40 per cent of the 700 hectare wide sprawl of the fort comprises the water bodies. The average reservoir depth is about 2 m. taken together; this means these reservoirs can store about 4 billion litres of water. 84 odd large tanks and reservoirs situated at a considerably high level pitching in water from the river Berach by means of canals and deep bore wells or seepage of the rain water through soil hence the fort had a constant supply of water all-round the year. In a year of more than normal rainfall (average annual rainfall: 700 mm), enough water would be stored to last the next 12 months. Even after water loss due to seepage and evaporation and other causes, an army of 50,000 could live in the fort for four years without fear of thirst. HISTORY AND EVOLUTION The construction of the complex dates back to the age of Mahabharata, that is, 3rd century BC successive to the Vedic age and preceding the Mauryan dynasty. As cited in the Mahabharata epic, Bhīma, the second of the Pandavas, known for his mighty strength gave a powerful hit with his fist to the ground that resulted in water springing up to form a large reservoir. It is called Bhīmlat sarovar, an artificial tank named after Bhīma. Folk legend also mentions that Bhīma started building the fort. By the end of the 6th century, Mauryas came into possession of the fort and held their sway there for about two and a half centuries, the fort is believed to have derived its name also from one of the Mauryan rulers itself, known as Chitrangada Mori. Historical records show Chittorgarh fort as the capital of Mewar for 834 years. It was established in 734 AD by Bappa Rawal, founder ruler in the hierarchy of the Sisodia rulers of 4
  5. 5. Mewar. It is also said that the fort was gifted to Bappa Rawal as part of Solanki princess’s dowry in the 8th century.. Three important battles were fought for control of the fort; in 1303, Ala-ud-din Khilji besieged the fort; in 1535, Sultan of Gujarat Bahadur Shah besieged the fort; and in 1568, Mughal Emperor Akbar attacked the fort. Not that there were only defeats at the fort. Excluding the periods of siege, the fort had always remained in possession of the Sisodia of the Guhilot (or Gehlot/Guhila) clan of Rajputs, who descended from Bappa Rawal. There were also success stories of establishment of the fort and its reconstruction after every siege, before it was finally abandoned in 1568, all of which are narrated. Rawal Rattan Singh was the 36th ascendant of Bappa Rawal and the first adopted son of Rana Samar Singh. REASON FOR SELECTION The palace was the first of its kind that is, characteristically a lake palace which then inspired the construction of larger lake palaces of Jaipur, Jodhpur etc. throughout Rajasthan. The palace was the first to implement science in its most raw form. Although it didn’t show much of a technical advancement, the selection of materials was done carefully so as to make the structure as rigid as possible. Last but not the least the palace is one of the oldest, built with the perspective of regulating the microclimate and temperature to create comfortable environment for the inhabitants. This feature corresponded with the directions given to us for choosing a site that was responsive to the natural or man-made water bodies surrounding them. BUILDING The palace is a white, three storied structure (a 19th century reconstruction of the original) with Chhatris (pavilions) crowning the palace’s roof, cradle like projected balconies at the openings called jharokhas and a water moat surrounding the palace. The 84 niches containing idols of the chaurasi deva This little abode of the then known Indian version of Cleopatra, measures an approximate 200sqm in area and faces north. It appears as a structure floating in lake, guarded by a massive fortified wall to its north running from west to east and embankments on the other three sides which have now disappeared due to lack of maintenance. The palace is located to the southern side of the Chittorgarh fort amidst the chaurasi deva sarovar, the water in which 5
  6. 6. is primarily sourced from the Bhimlat sarovar, the most ancient of all the reservoirs. Padmini Palace Rani Padmini was the second wife of Maharana Rawal Rattan Singh and originally belonged to Sri Lanka, then known as Singhaldweep. Since Sri Lanka was abundant with greenery and water bodies, she was not accustomed to the scorching summer of the arid region and hence was given a summer retreat in this palace which was surrounded by water on all sides and was so constructed as to receive minimum glare and have a regulated temperature with the breeze blowing along the water flowing in, making it as comfortable for the princess as possible. THE GENESIS OF RAJPUT ARCHITECTURAL STYLE The architectural style of the palace shall be described as an abstraction of the Hindu temple architecture of medieval India which was basically devised by many generations of the Vishwakarma clan, commonly known as Sthapatis and Shilpis, implying the artists, sculptors, architects, planners etc. while Vishwakarman, himself is the Hindu presiding deity of all craftsmen and architects. He is believed by Hindus to be the "Principal Universal Architect", the architect who fabricated and designed the divine architecture of the Universe, the Lord of Creation. 6
  7. 7. The very basic principles of planning and design of structures, in the Indus valley civilization (earliest known civilization on Indian land) were taken from the vastu shastra belonging to the Rig Veda. They resulted in well planned cities as well as the supplementary services, geometrical symmetry in both planning and their elevations while the later Rajput architectural practice saw a relaxation in the same and hence resulted in irregularity in planning and asymmetry turned out to be exploited for its own potential. Irregularity, as said earlier, dominated the planning to a large extent. The various apartments in the complex typically were joined in a loose, meandering fashion, creating an overall form with irregular geometry and boundary while no axes predominated. The parts connected in ways which are logical in function but geometrically casual. The palaces were built in stages over very long periods of time and so it seemed reasonable to regard their irregularity as a consequence of their piecemeal construction. PHYSICAL FORM AND SPATIAL ORGANISATION Arising directly from the meandering plan, the walls and elevations are similarly irregular. Fixed in no singular plane, they establish varied rhythms of advance and recess. The outer walls are often contiguous with the fortifications, which enclose part of the hillside on which the fort is built, creating the sometimes false impression of a multi-storeyed structure. The appearance from the exterior is of airy pavilions supported by grim embattled walls. Unlike the preceding temple architecture and succeeding typical Rajput architecture, which was highly ostentatious, the architectural features of Chittorgarh fort were far simpler in form and ornamentation. Rani Padmini Palace also depicted the same in its physical form. It may be compared to a boat house in function but appeared to be a simple double storeyed house with plane white walls adorned by Chajjas, jaalis and jharokhas at the openings and Chhatris making up pavilions while domes and arches marked the places of worship, spaces for reception and walkways respectively. 7
  8. 8. The plan is oriented along the north-south axis with the main entrance on the northern side accessed by flight of stairs. The structure stands over a 5m high plinth constructed entirely in random rubble masonry of limestone with the same mortar as described under the heading of construction materials. On reaching the plinth level, to the left, there is a balcony; while if you enter straight by the doorway which is basically a lintel laid over a 2.1m high parapet wall, you reach a courtyard. To the left of this courtyard, is a room which may be described as the vanity room of rani Padmini called the shringaar kaksha; while on the right is her dance room called the nritya kaksha. Since it was where the princess used to dress up, it demanded for utmost privacy and only had one little jaalidaar opening towards the north to let in the cool air breezing along the lake and was accessed through a verandah facing the south. This made for a cool interior of the room. The dance room has its access from north while an opening each on east and south so as to let the light of rising sun and the light through the day in as sun was the main god of obeisance and again no opening on the west so no glare was received and apart from that, the rays of setting sun were considered inauspicious. Looking straight, towards east is a Chhatri (or pavilion) and to its left is the stairway to access the room on the upper floor which was right above the vanity room and was princess’s bedroom. Further above is the terrace, where, to the north is a highly ostentatious jharokha in the middle of the wall and three simpler ones, one on each of the adjacent and opposite walls. There is only one small opening on the wall facing the west on the upper floor to minimise the glare while facilitate cross ventilation and large openings on all other walls, placed diametrically flanked by jharokhas and the one on south was accessed through a verandah. 8
  9. 9. PARAPET CHHATRI JHAROKHAS ALLOWING INGRESS OF NORTH LIGHT AND CROSS VENTILATION POL (entrance doorway) BRACKETS However, large openings are provided on the northern side to receive maximum natural diffused light and on south (along with projections and jaalis) to receive the winter sun which is desirable even though the palace isn’t used then. 9
  10. 10. BANGALDAR ROOF JHAROKHA KALASHA CHHAJJA DOME CHHATRI JHAROKHA The shayan kaksha or the bedroom of rani on the first floor had one opening on each wall with the one to the west being small and the ones on the other three walls being considerably large. The roof had beams running from east to west at an interval of 1.5m each. The beams supported overlapping joints of the stone slabs which made up the roof. The openings were highly ostentatious on the outer side and were called the jharokhas. 10
  11. 11. Rani’s bedroom OPENING ON THE EASTERN SIDE TO LET IN THE RAYS OF RISING SUN, THE OBJECT OF WORSHIP 11 JAALIS
  12. 12. CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES The principal building material was stone, especially sandstone, marble and limestone quarried from the Aravalis. They were usually roughly cut blocks or rubble, faced with plaster and paint on the main walls while intricate carving was done to articulate the surfaces of columns, brackets and jaalis. In this region, masonry work is in limestone in random rubble or dressed stone with mortar. Stone spans up to 3.6m to 4.5m are achievable in this region by corbelling with stone beams which was mainly employed for laying the roof and floor slabs. Stone walls in random rubble are thicker at the base about 0.6m to 1.05m and gradually decrease on the ground floor to 0.45m Columns and lintels are also made of dressed stone and stone beams are used in the roof. Stone walls are on an average 0.45m thick and plastered with lime. Roof is also 0.45m thick, double layered with a layer of stone veneer with lime kada on it. Lime, jaggery, thatch and lentils are mixed together in the mortar for masonry and plaster. This mixture is applied on stone slabs. The stone slabs had an overlap at an interval of 1.5m approximately supported over beams in the same direction as the overlap. A layer of Khora or clay pots is then placed on it with stone slabs on top followed by damp earth. Then the final flooring is done. Floors were finished with lime plaster or marble plaster called Arraish. This provided a layer of insulation in the roof to 12
  13. 13. prevent excessive heating of the topmost room in the building due to the glaring sun and high temperature. The main reason for using jaggery was that it was a raw form of saccharin making for an adhesive and also rich in iron and on mixing with the protein rich lentils, lime and thatch made up a reinforced mixture which didn’t readily dissolve in water and hence was suitable for construction amidst a water body. Jaggery along with the pulp of Bael fruit also made for a natural water proofing solution which wasn’t required here due to the presence of jaggery in the plastering mortar. Arraish work as floor finish and on walls was a common feature. Since the availability of timber in this region was limited, the same principles of jointing were used in stone, which was found in abundance. The columns were either assembled with laterite stone or were monolithic with timber type joints. Since wood was scarce, doorframes and window frames were also of stone. There are a common set of rules for construction of the typical forms. These were explained in the local languages 'Jaag Sawaya, Kothi Puni' meaning in construction of a dwelling, the length of a court shall always be about1/4th the whole number ('sawaya') of the width. The openings were defined by erecting one stone slab on each edge while one made for the base and one for lintel. Stone slabs of large spans were also used for making the floor and roof slabs. ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES COLUMNS The columns were characteristically simplified and reduced version of the standard temple columns, less richly carved, they had the same essential form, with a square base, an octagonal or sixteen sided shaft and a capital composed of a cluster of corbels. The entire column was divided into three parts, beginning from the base as the bottom most part, square in plan articulating at different intervals to reduce the cross section to 0.8 of the base and extending to a height of 0.15 of the entire height, where the shaft began and extended till 0.30 of the total length; beyond this the 13
  14. 14. surface was articulated to make an octagon extending till 0.20 of the length and another 0.20 making a sixteen sided surface and finally the capital which was again 0.15 of the total length of the column and circular in shape with the top cross section equal to that of the base which then supported the entablature. The same formal fashion was followed in the articulation of the dome. DOME The domes were usually of an elliptical shape with a low rise but covering a large span laterally. The one used in the dance room of Padmini Palace was initially supported over a hexadecagon, preceding an octagon (both approximately 10cm thick, forming a lintel like supporting system for the dome which was circular in plan).the octagon was then supported over the rectangular plot of beams, ultimately transferring the load to columns at the four corners of the room. In addition to this, the circular form was reticulated by corbelling dressed stone pieces in a circular fashion with each course successively reducing in diameter to reach the top and form the base for the domical form of a semi-circle which was then finally finished with the same plaster of mortar. One of such unfinished structure from the same premises shows the construction. This circular form was supported over an entablature which was composed of the rectangular beams. When the base of the dome does not match the plan of the supporting walls beneath it (for example, a circular dome on a square bay), techniques were employed to transition between the two. The simplest technique is to use diagonal lintels across the corners of the walls to create an octagonal base which had been employed here. 14
  15. 15. Dome KALASHA A Kalasha was characteristically a highly ornamental projection atop a dome or the Bangaldar roof forming the pinnacle. 15
  16. 16. CHHATRI A Chhatri may also be a called a pavilion as it was open on four sides with generally a dome or flat slab supported over a beam and subsequently by columns, one at each corner of the plan or placed diametrically in case of a circular or elliptical plans. Chhatris are elevated, dome-shaped pavilions. Chhatris are commonly used to depict the elements of pride and honour in the Rajput architecture of Rajasthan. They are widely used, in palaces, in forts, or to demarcate funerary sites. JHAROKHA A jharokha shall be defined as a cradle like balcony projecting from the main wall of a façade. It usually marked an opening on a wall and may either be left hollow for a person to stand or be covered by a jaali to create a visual barrier and facilitate ventilation and ingress of filtered light. The floor was usually supported over brackets like a chajja while it was covered either with a flat slab supported over stubs or a Bangaldar roof like covering. A Bangaldar roof may formally be explained as an elliptical parabloid. A parabola with downward curvature slid along another parabola, also with a downward curvature but larger in magnitude and perpendicular to the direction of the former. The more commonly seen form in the fort was a result of articulation of rectangular planned network of beams subsequently decreasing in size on reaching the pinnacle (each with a thickness of 7.5cm to 10cm). BRACKETS These were the L-shaped or right angled supporting elements, also known as corbels. It was usually a piece of stone jutting out of a wall to carry any super incumbent weight. They also had an ornamental value associated to them as they had chiselled grooves along their length to provide an aesthetic appeal in addition to the structural value. The 16
  17. 17. chiselled grooves imparted articulation to the plane surface. CHHAJJA The dripstone was a sloping shelf projecting out of the wall to shelter an opening and sometimes the entire wall as well.it is usually supported on a carved bracket or just suspended as a cantilever. JAALI Jaali is the term for a perforated stone or latticed screen, usually with an ornamental pattern constructed through the use of calligraphy and geometry. Early work was performed by carving into stone. However, unlike the jaalis of Mughal character; these jaalis had comparatively simpler patterns and used simple geometrical shapes congregated together to form a composition. Three basic rules were followed for the design of jaalis, they were: Start at the centre. Keep equal borders. Stick to odd numbers in the design. FOLIATED ARCHES The usual pointed arch ornamented by foliage like elements as the leaves covering the entire thickness of the arch (intrados). The cusped arch was divided in five parts and had the proportions in ¾ and ¼ of a whole. The arch is significant because, in theory at least, it provides a structure which eliminates tensile stresses in spanning a great amount of open space. All the forces are resolved into compressive stresses. This is useful because several of the available building materials such as stone can strongly resist compression but is very weak when tension, shear or torsional stress is applied to it. By using the arch configuration, significant spans could be achieved. This is because all the compressive forces held it together in a 17
  18. 18. state of equilibrium. This even applied to frictionless surfaces. However, one downside is that an arch pushes outward at the base, and this needs to be restrained in some way, either with heavy sides and friction or angled cuts into bedrock or similar. In addition to these, mouldings, cornices and miniature columns adorned the interiors, particularly at junctions of wall to wall, wall to ceiling, or a window opening. INSCRIPTIONS There were inscriptions adorning the walls depicting floral patterns, dancing human figures, fish and snakes that existed in the sarovar and geometrical patterns which were an integral part of all the craft works including the jaalis. All these inscriptions were descriptive of the general practices of the region. KHURRAS Openings along the junction of the roof slab and parapet wall to suspend of the rain water collected overhead and let into the sarovar itself. 18
  19. 19. HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE The structure became significant amongst the various events of the history of India as it was here that the practice of JAUHAR began in India. Jauhar refers to the ancient Indian tradition of self-immolation of women whose husbands had gone to war and were either killed or were taken prisoner. This was done by the women to safe guard their honour. Such painful method was preferred over other painless and easy ways like poisoning or hanging as these were considered against the self-respect of any human in Hindu mythology. Legend has it that Rani Padmini was famous for her beauty. Alla-ud-din Khilji was besotted by her beauty and wanted to possess her. Deceitfully he took the Rani’s husband prisoner. The Raja decided to fight for his and his wife’s honour. Rani Padmini was certain of the Raja’s defeat, so to save her honour and dignity she along with the other women of the palace self- immolated herself. And thereon started the practice of Jauhar. 19
  20. 20. BIBLIOGRAPHY ARCHITECTURE OF THE INDIAN DESERT – KULBHUSHAN AND MINAKSHI JAIN STONES IN THE SAND- THE ARCHITECTURE OF RAJASTHAN-GILES TILLOTSON ANTIQUITIES OF CHITTORGARH – R.NATH STRUCTURE SYSTEMS FOR ARCHITECTURE – PROF. HARBHAJAN SINGH VISUAL SERIES FROM RANI PADMINI KA JAUHAR WWW.WIKIPEDIA.COM WWW.CHITTORGARH.COM/TOURISM MAPS FROM GOOGLE EARTH RAJPUT ARCHITECTURE – SHIKHA JAIN THE ILLUSTRATIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHS BELONG TO THE TEAM ITSELF EXCEPT FOR THE FIRST THREE WHICH HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THE ABOVE MENTIONED WEBSITES. ERRATA The proper nouns used across the report may vary from context to context as the pronunciations remain the same but the spellings are perceived differently due to the actual linguistic script being devanagari and all these words been written here in English. 20

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