Chapter 1

  • Derived from the Latin word ‘tekton’ which means the builder
  • Refers to construction and designing of buildings
  • Depends primarily on engineering and measurements
  • a mixture of various types of materials
  • Derived from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root ‘kel’ which means ‘to cut or cleave
  • Refers to smaller 3 dimensional works of art
  • Focuses more  on imagination and aesthetics
  • a single type of material
Classification of Indian Architecture
  • Ancient                        B. Medieval                      C. Modern                                                                                           India                                       India                                          India
  • Harappan Art             – Delhi Sultanate               – Indo-Gothic style
  • Mauryan Art                          – Mughal Art                    – Neo-Roman style
  • Post-Mauryan Art
  • Gupta Age Art
  • South Indian Art

Harappan Art


  • On the banks of river Indus 
  • In second half of the 3rd millennium BCE
  • North-western and western India
  • Harappa and Mohenjo daro are the finest and earliest examples of urban civic planning
Important sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation 
  • Harappa – Pakistan — River Ravi Mother Goddess figure, a sculpture of dog chasing a deer in bronze metal, mirror, copper scale, etc.
  • Mohenjo-Daro — Pakistan — River Indus The great bath, a bronze statue of the Dancing Girl, the citadel, the great granary, a sculpture of a bearded priest, Pashupati seal, etc.
  • Mehrgarh – Pakistan Copper tools and pottery ( considered forerunner of IVC)
  • Dholavira – Gujarat Unique water harnessing system, dams and embankments, giant water reservoir etc.
  • Lothal – Gujarat Had a Dockyard, the practice of burial of cremated remains found, fire altars, modern-day chess, the terracotta figure of horse and ship, instruments for measuring 45, 90 and 180-degree angles, etc. (Lothal was an important site for naval trade)
  • Rakhigarhi – Haryana   Granary, drains, terracotta bricks, etc. (Rakhigarhi is the largest site of IVC)
  • Ropar – Punjab – Sutlej  Copper axe and dog buried with human oval pit  burials
  • Balathal and Kalibangan – Rajasthan Bones of camel, toy factory, decorated bricks, bangle factory etc.
  • Surkatoda – Gujarat First actual remains of horse bone
  • Banawali – Haryana—Saraswati (dried-up) Lapis lazuli, barley grains et (only city with radial streets)
  • Alamgirpur – UP — Yamuna Impression of a cloth on a trough, ceramic items  (easternmost site of IVC)
Harappan Architecture
  • Towns were → rectangular grid pattern.
  • Roads ran in north-south and east-west direction and cut each other at right angles.
  • 3 types of building: dwelling houses, public buildings and public baths
  • Use of burnt mud bricks of standardized dimensions
  • The city was divided into two parts: 
    • An upraised citadel – In the western part was used for constructing larger buildings like granaries
    • Lower-part for the working class
  • Advanced drainage systemDrains were covered loosely and had cesspits
Harappan Sculptures
  • Seals: 
  • Mostly square but triangular, rectangular and circular seals were also found. 
  • Steatite was commonly used but copper, faience, agate, terracotta seals have also been found.
  • Inscriptions in the pictographic script– animals impressions were also present
  • common animal motifs- tiger, unicorn, humped bull, rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, bison, ibex, crocodile etc.(No evidence of cow was found)
  • seals were extensively used for trade
  • Eg: Pashupati seal
  • Bronze figures:
  • Bronze statues made using lost wax technique” or “Cire Perdue” technique.
  • Eg: A bronze dancing girl of Mohenjo-daro
  • Terracotta (fire-baked clay):
  • Used pinching method
  • Mostly found in Gujarat and Kalibangan
  • Use: to make animal figures, miniature carts, toys, wheels etc.
  • Eg: Figurine of Mother Goddes
  • Pottery:
  • Classified into two kinds – plain pottery and painted pottery (Red and Black pottery).
  • Uses: for household, decorative, straining liquor (perforated pottery) 
  • Ornaments:
  • The material used – gemstones, precious metals, baked clay, bone
  • Both men and women wore ornaments
  • Produced in large scale- factories in Chanhu-daro and Lothal
  • Fabric: Wool and cotton
  • Examples: red sandstone figure of a male torso, bust of the bearded priest etc.
Mauryan Art and Architecture Classified into two:

  • Court art:  Kings commissioned architectural works for religious and political reasons. These are referred to as court art.
  • Palaces: Palace of Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka’s palace at Kumrahar
  • Pillars Inscriptions on pillars- to commemorate battle victories or propagate imperial sermons and symbolised the state- mainly made of chunar sandstone– eg: Sarnath pillar near Varanasi
  • Stupa (burial mounds): Art of stupa reached its zenith during the reign of Ashoka- Core of the stupa was made of unburnt brick Eg: Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh- Locations of the 9 stupas built after the death of Buddha are: Rajagriha, Kushinagar, Pippalivana, Vaishali, Kapilavastu, Allakappa, Ramagrama, Vethapida and Pava
  • Popular art (individual effort): Art and architecture developed by individual initiative
  • Caves: Emergence of rock-cut cave architectures- used as viharas- had decorative gateways- eg: Barabar and Nagarjuni caves in Bihar
  • Pottery: Referred to as Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW)– black paint, highly lustrous finish and used as a luxury good
  • Sculptures: Used to decorate stupas- Eg: Yaksha and Yakshi
Post Mauryan Art
    • Northern IndiaKushanas, Shungas, Shakas and Kanvas
    • Southern IndiaSatvahanas, Ikshavakus, Abhiras and Vakatakas
  • Sculpture reached its peak 
Post Mauryan Architecture
  • Rock-cut caves:
  • The emergence of two types of rock caves – Chaitya (prayer halls were developed during the post-Mauryan times) and Vihar (residential halls built during the Mauryan times)- Eg: Karle Chaitya hall, Udayagiri (Hathigumpha inscription) and Khandagiri Caves, Odisha
  • Stupas:
    • Use of stone increased
  • Shunga dynasty introduced the idea of torans (Hellenistic influence).
  • Eg: Bharhut stupa in Madhya Pradesh
  • Sculpture:

Development of 3 important schools of sculpture-  Gandhara, Mathura and Amaravati schools of sculpture

  • Gandhara School (Greco-Indian School of Art)
    • Western frontiers of Punjab (today’s Peshawar and Afghanistan)
    • Influenced by  Greek and Roman traditions
    • Sculptures were based on the Greco-Roman pantheon
    • Two stages (50 B.C. to 500 A.): a) Early-stage- use of bluish-grey sandstone b) Later period/stage- use of mud and stucco
    • Patronized by Kushanas
    • Focused on single images
  • Features of Buddha:

–  shown in a spiritual state

 –  wavy hair

–  fewer ornaments

–  seated in the position of a yogi

–  eyes  half-closed as in meditation

–  a protuberance on the head (signifies his omniscience)

  • Mathura School
  • Banks on river Yamuna (1 – 3 century BC)
  • Developed in and around Mathura, Kankalitila and Sonkh
  • Influenced by Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism
  • Images based on Yaksha images found during the Mauryan times
  • Use of symbolism in the images
  • Made with spotted red sandstone
  • Patronized by Kushanas
  • Focused on single images
  • Features of Buddha:

– Shown in delighted mood

– smiling face

– body symbolizes muscularity

– face and head shaven

– seated in padmasana with various mudras

– a protuberance on the head

  • Amaravati School
  • Banks of Krishna river
    • Around Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda
    • Patronized by Satvahana rulers
    • Use of dynamic (not single) images or narrative art
  • Increasingly used the Tribhanga pose
  • Made with white marbles
  • Show life stories of Buddha and the Jataka tales
  • Difference between Greek and Roman art:
  • Greek art:
  • Art is idealistic in nature (idealism) – muscular portrayal of Gods and other men to show strength and beauty
  • Many used marble
  • Roman art:
  • Romans art  is realistic in nature (realism)
  • Used concrete
  • Well-known for mural paintings
Mudras of Buddha
  • Bhumisparsha Mudra:
  • Portrays Buddha sitting in meditation with his left hand, palm upright, in his lap, and his right hand touching the earth.
  • Symbolizes ‘Calling the Earth to Witness the Truth’
  • Shows the moment when Buddha’s attained enlightenment.
  • Dhyana Mudra (Yoga mudra):
  • Shows Buddha in meditation
  • Buddha with both the hands in the lap, with the back of the right hand resting on the palm of the left hand with fingers extended- many statues show the thumbs of both hands touching at the tips, forming a mystic triangle – symbolizes the attainment of spiritual perfection
  • Vitarka Mudra
    • Indicates teaching and discussion
  • The right hand is positioned at shoulder level and the left

 the hand at the hip level, in the lap, with the palm facing upwards- tips of the thumb and index finger touch each other, forming a circle.

  • Abhaya Mudra
  • Shows fearlessness
  • The right hand is raised to shoulder height with arm bent – palm of the right-hand faces outwards and the fingers are upright and joined. The left-hand hangs downwards by the side of the body- shown by Buddha immediately after attaining enlightenment.
  • Symbolizes inner security and strength
  • Dharmachakra Mudra:
  • Turning the Wheel of the Dharma or Law’
  • Posture involves both hands
  • The right hand is held at chest level with the palm facing outwards. A mystic circle is formed by joining the tips of the index finger and the thumb. The left hand is turned inward and the index finger and thumb of this hand join to touch the right hand’s circle.
  • The gesture shown by Buddha while he preached the first sermon in the Deer Park of Sarnath
  • Anjali Mudra:
  • Symbolizes greetings, devotion, and adoration
  • Both hands close to the chest, palms, and fingers joined against each other vertically (Namaste).
  • This mudra is for Bodhisattvas (who aim to attain perfect knowledge) and this pose should not be shown in Buddha statues.
  • Uttarabodhi Mudra:
  • Implies supreme enlightenment– symbolizes perfection- charges one with energy
  • Holding both hands at the level of the chest, intertwining all the fingers except index fingers, extending index fingers straight up and touching each other.
  • Varada Mudra:
  • Shows charity, compassion or granting wishes
  • Signifies five perfections: generosity, morality, patience, effort and meditative concentration, through the five extended fingers.
  • The right arm is extended in a natural position all the way down, with the palm of the open hand facing outwards towards onlookers. If standing, the arm is held slightly extended to the front. Can be a left-hand gesture as well.
  • Karana Mudra:
  • Symbolizes warding off evil– helps to remove obstacles such as sickness or negative thoughts
  • Hand is stretched out, either horizontally or vertically, with the palm forward- thumb presses the folded two middle fingers but the index and little fingers are raised straight upwards.
  • Vajra Mudra
  • Implies knowledge
  • The erect forefinger of the left hand is held in the fist of the right hand
  • Gives importance to knowledge or supreme wisdom. 
  • Knowledge is represented by the forefinger and the fist of the right hand protects it.
Gupta Art and Architecture
    • Gupta age – “Golden period of Indian Architecture”
    • Worshipped 3 principal – Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti
  • Gupta Architecture:


– Use of mural paintings on walls of  caves became an added characteristic

– Eg: Ajanta and Ellora caves

Ajanta caves:

–  between 200 B.C. to 650 A.D

– series of rock-cut caves on river Waghora near   Aurangabad

–  29 caves – 25 Viharas and 4 Chaityas

–  patronage of the Vakataka kings

  inscribed by Buddhist monks

–  figures done using fresco painting – outlines done in red     colour – absence of blue colour

– generally themed around Buddhism

– Eg: Mahaparinirvana of Buddha

Ellora caves:

Between 5th and 11th centuries A.D.

In the Sahyadri ranges of Maharashtra

– Group of 34 caves – 17 Brahmanical, 12 Buddhist and 5 Jain

– Developed by guilds from Vidarbha, Tamil Nadu and  Karnataka

– Eg: Vishwakarma Cave or carpenter’s cave, Kailash temple “Raavan ki khai

Bagh caves:

6th Century A.D

bank of river Bagh river in Madhya Pradesh

– group of 9 Buddhist caves

Junagadh Caves (Gujarat):

 – Presence of three different sites namely Khapra Kodiya, Baba Pyare and Uparko – Unique feature: 30-50 ft high citadel known as “Upar Kot” in front of the prayer hall.  

 Nasik Caves:                                                                                                                                 

1st century AD 

24 Buddhist caves (Pandav Leni)

– an excellent system of water management

Mandapeshwar Caves (Montperir caves):

Developed as a Brahmanical cave but later converted into a Christian cave

Udayagiri caves (Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh)

5th century AD

– Under the patronage of Chandragupta II

– sculptures on hill walls – one of the earliest Hindu sculptures can be found


– The decline in the development of stupas in this period

– Eg: Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath


– Development of a new school of sculpture around Sarnath.

– use of cream-colored sandstone and metal- sculptures perfectly dressed- halo was decorated

– Eg: Sultanganj Buddha

Ancient  Edicts and Inscriptions
  • Sohgaura Copper Plate:
  • Earliest known copper-plate a Mauryan record that mentions famine relief efforts
  • One of the rare pre-Ashoka Brahmi inscriptions in India
  • Ashokan Edicts:
    • Collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, cave walls and boulders
    • Represents the first tangible evidence of Buddhism- represent Ashoka’s view on dharma
  • Division of edicts into Pillar edicts, major rock edicts and major rock inscriptions
  • focuses on social and moral principles rather than specific religious practices or the philosophical dimension of Buddhism
  • Ashoka refers to himself as Devanampiyadasi (“Beloved servant of the God”)
  • Rummindei Pillar Edicts (Lumbini):
  • Minor Pillar Inscriptions – written in Brahmi script
  • Inscriptions mention Ashoka’s visit to Lumbini (Rummindei) in Nepal
  • Prayag-Prashasti:
  • Name given to the Allahabad Pillar
  • An Ashokan Stambh but has 4 different inscriptions i.e.
    • Ashokan inscriptions in Brahmi script
  • Queen’s edict
  • Samudragupta’s inscriptions written by Harisena
  • Jahangir’s inscriptions (Persian)
  • Mehrauli Inscription:
  • Mehrauli Iron Pillar (rust-resistant) is located in Delhi
  • Chandragupta-II– in the honor of Lord Vishnu
  • credits Chandragupta with the conquest of the Vanga countries
  • Kalsi Inscription:
  • Kalsi a town on the banks of river Yamuna
  • Only place in North India where Ashoka has inscribed a set of the fourteen rock edicts
  • Portray Asoka’s human approach in his internal administration  after converting to Buddhism- a commitment to non-violence
  • Maski Inscription (Karnataka):
  • First edict of Emperor Ashoka that contained the name Ashoka
  • Tells people to follow the principles of Buddhism
  • Kalinga Edicts (Odisha):
  • Comprise eleven out of the well known fourteen Rock Edicts of Ashoka
  • Magadhi Prakrita and early Brahmi script
  • Kalinga Edicts have been incorporated to pacify the people of Kalinga after its conquest.
  • Aihole Inscription (Karnataka):
  • An inscription found at Meguti Temple is known as Aihole inscription
  • Written in Sanskrit (Kannada script)
  • Mentions the shifting of  capital from Aihole to Badami– defeat of Harshavardhana by Pulakeshin II
  • Hathigumpha Inscription:
  • Known as Elephant Cave Inscription from Udayagiri- Khandagiri caves in Odisha
  • inscribed by King Kharavela– gives information about King Kharavela, as a patron of culture, conqueror etc
Temple Architecture
  • Progression from the flat-roofed, monolithic temples in the initial stages to the sculptured ‘shikhara’ in the later years
  • Five stages of development
  • Stage 1

Temples had flat roof

square in shape

– portico on shallow pillars

– the structure on low platforms

  • Stage 2

Platforms were higher or upraised

– Some were two-storied temples

– A covered ambulatory passageway around the sanctum sanctorum or garbhagriha was an addition in this phase.

  • Stage 3

Emergence of shikharas in place of a flat roof

Introducion of Panchayatan style of temple making i.e. presence of four   subsidiary shrines along with the temple of the principal deity

Eg: Durga temple at Aihole

  • Stage 4

The main shrine became more rectangular

  • Stage 5

Circular temples with shallow rectangular projections were introduced

Styles of temple architecture
  • Different styles of temple architecture emerged in different parts of the country. They are:
  • Nagara style
  • Dravidian style
  • Nayaka style
  • Vesara style
  • Hoysala style
  • Vijayanagara style
  • Pala and Sena school
  • Basic characteristics of a Hindu temple include:
  • Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagriha):

Houses the principal deity of the temple

  • Mandapa:

Entrance to the temple- may be a portico/hall to accommodate a large number of worshippers.

  • Shikhara:

Mountain like spire-pyramidal to curvilinear.

  • Vahana:

Mount or vehicle of the main deity-placed just before the sanctum sanctorum

  • Nagara School of Architecture
  • 5th century A D- Northern India
  • Features of Nagara style are:
    • Generally followed the Panchayatan style
  • Presence of assembly halls or mandaps
  • Outside the garbhagriha, images of the river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna, were placed.
  • No water tanks or reservoirs present in the temple premises.
  • Generally built on upraised platforms
  • Porticos had a pillared approach
  • Shikharas were generally of three types:
  • Latina or Rekha-prasad: square at the base and the walls curve inward a point on the top.
  • Phamsana: broader base and were shorter in height than the Latina ones
  • Valabhi: rectangular base with the roof rising into vaulted chambers
    • Vertical end of the shikhara ended in a horizontal fluted disc, known as the Amalak- a spherical shape known as kalash was placed on top of the Amalak
  • the wall inside the temple was divided into three vertical planes called rathas known as triratha temples
    • The ambulatory passageway or the pradakshina path around the sanctum sanctorum was covered.
    • Generally, no elaborate boundary walls or gateways in the temple premises
  • Three sub-schools under Nagara school:
  • Odisha School:

Developed in the Kalinga empire


  • Exterior walls lavishly decorated but interior walls were plain.
  • No use of pillars in the porch.
  • Shikharas is known as rekhadeuls (almost vertical roofs which
  • suddenly curved inwards sharply)
  • Mandap known as Jagmohan
  • The ground plan of the main temple was square.
  • Surrounded by a boundary wall similar to Dravidian style
  • Eg: Sun Temple at Konark (Black Pagoda)
  • Khajuraho School (Chandel school):

Developed by the Channels rulers in the central part of India


    • Both the interior and exterior walls were lavishly decorated with carvings.
    • Sculptures generally erotic- drew inspiration from Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra
    • Made of sandstone
    • 3 chambers – garbhagriha, mandapa and ardha-mandapa
    • Generally north or east facing
  • Used Panchayatan style- even subsidiary shrines had rekha- prasad shikharas
    • built on relatively high platform belong to Hindu as well as Jain religion
  • Eg: Lakshman temple at Khajuraho
  • Solanki School (Maru-Gurjara style):

Patronage of the Solanki rulers – developed in the north-western parts of India including Gujarat and Rajasthan


  • No carvings on temple walls
  • Garbhagriha is connected with the mandapa both internally and externally
  • Porticos have decorative arched gateways known as torans.
  • Unique feature- presence of step-tank, known as surya-kund
  • Steps of the tank are full of small temples- wooden carvings present in these temples
  • Variety of material used- sandstone, black basalt and soft marble
  • Most temples are east-facing
  • Eg: Modhera Sun temple in Gujarat
  • Temple Architecture in South India

            Emerged in peninsular India began under the Pallava ruler Mahendravarman

            Classified into four stages chronologically:

  • Mahendra group:
  • First stage of Pallava temple architecture
  • Temples were basically rock-cut temples
  • Temples were known as mandapas
  • Narasimha group:
  • Second stage – rock-cut temples were decorated by intricate sculptures
  • Mandapas divided into separate rathas- Dharmaraja ratha (biggest) and  Draupadi ratha(smallest)
  • Design of a temple in the Dravidian style of architecture is a successor of the Dharmaraja ratha.
  • Rajsimha group:
  • Third stage- Rajsimhavarman
  • Development of real structural temples started in place of rock-cut temples- Eg: Shore temple at Mahabalipuram
  • Nandivarman group:
  • Fourth stage – under Pallavas
  • Temples were smaller in size – similar to the Dravidian style of temple architecture

Temple architecture acquired a new style under the Chola kingdom, known as the Dravidian style. In the later periods, three other styles emerged– Vesara style, Nayaka style and Vijaynagar style.

  • Architecture at Mahabalipuram
  • 7th century- Pallavas- declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984
  • Sites include: Ratha temples or Pancha Ratha, Rock-cut caves, Open Air Rock Reliefs and Shore Temple complex
  • Chola Art
  • Dravidian Style of Temple Architecture

Continuation of the previous Pallava architecture- known as the

Dravidian or Chola style of temple architecture


  • Surrounded by high boundary walls
  • Front wall had a high entrance gateway known as the gopuram
  • Premise laid out in the panchayatan style with a principal temple and four subsidiary shrines.
  • The spire is in the form of a stepped pyramid that rises up linearly rather than curved– known as vimana
  • Crowning element shaped in the form of an octagon, known as shikhara- similar to the kalash of the Nagara temple, but not spherical.
  • Only one vimana top of the main temple– subsidiary shrines do not have vimanas
  • Assembly hall connected with the garbhagriha by a vestibular tunnel known as antarala
  • Entrance of the garbhagriha had sculptures of Dwaarpal, mithun and yakshas.
  • Unique feature- presence of a water tank inside the temple enclosure
  • Eg: Brihadeswara temple at Tanjore (Raja Raja I in 1011 A.D.)
  • Chola Sculpture

An important piece of Chola sculpture was the sculpture of Nataraja in the Tandava dance posture


  • Upper right hand holds the drum– signifies the sound of creation
  • Upper left hand holds the eternal fire, which represents destruction
  • Lower right hand is raised in the gesture of abhay mudrasignifies benediction  reassures the devotee to not be afraid
  • Lower left hand points towards the upraised foot – indicates the path of salvation
  • Shiva is dancing on the figure of a small dwarfdwarf symbolises ignorance and the ego of an individual
  • Matted and flowing locks of Shiva represent the flow of river Ganges
  • One ear of Shiva has a male earring while the other has female– represents fusion of male and female and is often referred to as ardhanarishwar
  • Snake twisted around the arm of Shiva-snake symbolises the kundalini power, which resides in the human spine in dormant stage- if aroused, one can attain true consciousness
  • Nataraja surrounded by a nimbus of glowing lights which symbolises the vast unending cycles of time
  • Other Schools of Art
  • Nayaka School (Madurai school):
    • Flourished under the Nayaka rulers– between 16th – 18th century A.D.
  • Similar to the Dravidian style- also influenced by Islamic style
  • Features:
  • Presence of Prakarms or huge corridors in the portico, around the garbhagriha, along with roofed ambulatory passageways.
  • gopurams built under the Nayaka rulers were
    • built some of the largest gopurams
  • Eg: Meenakshi temple, Madurai
  • Vesara School (Karnataka school):
  • Conceptualized by later Chalukya rulers – mid-seventh century A.D.
  • Combined features of Nagara and Dravidian school (hybridised style)
  • 3 important  prominent dynasties who made Vesara style temples are: 
  • Chalukyas of Badami and Kalyani
  • Rashtrakutas (750-983AD)
  • Hoysala Dynasty (1050-1300 AD)
  • Eg: Doddabasappa temple at Dambal
  • Vijayanagara School:
    • Rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire (1335-1565)
  • Combined  features of Chola, Hoysalas, Pandyas, Chalukyas architectural styles
  • Influenced by the Indo-Islamic style of Bijapur
  • Features:
    • Walls of the temples were highly decorated with carvings and geometrical pattern
    • Gopurams were now built on all the sides
  • Monolithic rock pillars
  • Temple pillars have a mythical creature- Yali (Horse) engraved
  • Larger enclosing walls
  • More than one mandap
  • Central mandap known as kalyan mandap
  • Introduction of the concept of secular buildings inside the temple
  • Temple complex enclosed by boundaries
  • Eg: Vittalsami temple, Virupaksha temple in Hampi, Raghunatha Temple in Hampi etc.
  • Hoysala Art:
  • 1050-1300 A.D – important seats being Belur, Halebid and Sringeri
  • Features:
  • Multiple shrines built around a central pillared hall
  • Shrines led out in the shape of an intricately designed star known as the Stellate plan
  • The material used: Soft sope stone (Chorite schist)
  • Immense importance on decoration of the temple through sculptures
    • All the chambers had Shikharas
    • Built on an upraised platform known as Jagati
    • Walls and stairs followed a zigzag pattern
  • Eg: Hoyasaleswara temple at Halebid
  • Pala and Sena School ( Bengal region):
    • between 8th and 12th century A.D.
    • Influence of both Hinduism and Buddhism- Palas ( Buddhist rulers) and Senas (Hindus)
    • Monuments under Pala rulers: Universities of Nalanda, Vikramshila etc.
  • Monuments under Sena rulers: Dhakeshwari temple in Bangladesh
  • Features:
    • Buildings had a curve or sloping roof (“Bangla roof”) – later adopted by Mughal architects
  • Burnt bricks and clay known as terracotta bricks used
    • had a tall, curving shikhara crowned by a large amalaka, similar to the Odisha School
    • Stone (major component) and metal used
  • Figures had high lustrous finish
  • Eg: Siddhesvara Mahadeva temple in Barakar
  • Famous Universities of Ancient India
  • Vikramshila:
  • Present-day Bhagalpur, Bihar
  • Established primarily as a Buddhist learning centre by King Dharampala of Pala dynasty- to spread Buddhist teachings- taught Tantric teachings, logic, Vedas, astronomy, urban development, law, grammar, philosophy etc
  • Valabhi:
  • Saurashtra, Gujarat- Centre of learning for the Hinayana Buddhism
  • Administration and statecraft, laws, philosophy etc were taught
  • Nalanda:
  • Was in existence during Gupta period- gained eminence under Harshavardhana’s reign and Pala kings
  • Major site for Mahayana Buddhist teachings
    • All three Buddhist doctrines taught – Vedas, fine arts, grammar, philosophy, logic, medicine, etc were also taught
    • Had 8  separate compounds and even had dormitories for students
  • Deeply influenced Tibetan Buddhism
  • Scholars – Nagarjuna (Madhyamika Shunyavad) and Aryabhatta 
  • Hsuan Tsang and I-Tsing
  • Takshashila:
  • Modern-day Pakistan-existed around 5th century
  • Believed that Chanakya composed the Arthashastra here
  • Buddhist and Hindu theologies, Political Science, Hunting, medicine, law, military tactics were taught
  • Eminent teachers and students: Chanakya, Charaka, Panini, Jivaka, Prasenajit etc
  • Sharada Peeth:
    • Present-day Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir- has a Sharda Devi temple
  • An important place for Sanskrit scholars
  • List of prominent temples in India
  • Venkateswara Temple (Temple of Seven Hills)- Andhra Pradesh
  • Sri Bramarambha Mallikarjuna Temple Andhra Pradesh
  • Sri Ranganthaswami Temple – Andhra Pradesh
  • Kamakhya Temple (Kamrup Kamakhya) – Assam
  • Somnath Temple– Gujarat
  • Dwarkadheesh Temple– Gujarat
  • Nageshvara Jyotirlinga– Gujarat
  • Modhera Sun Temple– Gujarat
  • Durga Temple– Aihole, Karnataka
  • Virupaksha Temple – Hampi, Karnataka
  • Vittala Temple – Hampi, Karnataka
  • Padmanabhaswamy Temple – Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • Sabarimala Temple – Kerala (Periyar Tiger Reserve)
  • Omkareshwar Temple – Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh
  • Mahakaleshwar Temple – Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
  • Vitthal Temple (Vithoba temple) – Maharashtra
  • Trimbakeshwar Temple – Nashik, Maharashtra
  • Konark Sun Temple – Odisha
  • Lingaraja Temple – Odisha
  • Thousand Pillar Temple – Hanamakonda, Telangana
  • Shore Temple – Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
  • Meenakshi Temple – Madurai, Tamil nadu
  • Murugan Temple – Palani Tamil Nadu
  • Brihadeeswarar temple – Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
  • Ranganathaswamy Temple – Srirangam, Tamil Nadu
  • Vishvanath Temple – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
  • Dakshineswar Temple – Kolkata, West Bengal
Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India
  • Mahabodhi temple, Bodh Gaya (Bihar)
    • Mahaviharas at Nalanda, Vikramshila, Jagaddala, Odantapuri, Pushpagiri etc.
    • Lalitagiri, Vajragiri and Ratnagiri in Odisha
  • Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh
    • Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh
  • Sanchi and Bharhut in Madhya Pradesh
    • Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu
  • Bhaja & Karla caves, Pune
  • Ajanta, Ellora and Pithalkora caves, Maharashtra
  • Kanheri caves, Pandavleni caves, Maharashtra 
    • Ghum monastery, West Bengal
    • Rumtek, Pemayangtse and Enchay Monastery, Sikkim
    • Alchi Monastery, Spituk Monastery, Shey Monastery etc, Ladakh
    • Dhankar Monastery, Nako Monastery (Kinnaur), Kye Monastery, Tabo Monastery(Spiti valley) etc, Himachal Pradesh
  • Tawang Monastery, Bomdila Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh
  • Namdroling Monastery, Bylakuppe, Karnataka
  • Rock-cut elephant and Ashokan edicts at Dhauli, Odisha
Jain pilgrimage sites in India
    • Palitana temples, Shatrunjay hills in Kathiawar, Gujarat (considered the holiest site, especially by Svetambara sect)
    • Shikarji, Parasnath in Jharkhand.
    • Girnar temples, Junagadh in Gujarat
  • Pawapuri, Nalanda in Bihar (Mahavira was cremated here after attaining Moksha)
  • Dilwara temples, Mount Abu in Rajasthan: 5 marvellous temples built of marble with intricate carvings-  Vimal Vasahi temple (oldest) built by Vimal Shah (11th century AD)- other temples are Luna Vasahi, Pittalhar, Parshvanath and Mahavir Swami (13th-17th century AD)
  • Shravanabelagola in Karnataka: Gomateswara statute is of Lord Bahubali, (son of the first Jain Tirthankar)- built by Chamundaraya, a minister in Ganga dynasty empire (10th century AD)
  • Shantinath temple complex in Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh
  • Bawangaja, Barwani in Madhya Pradesh
  • Kankali Tila, near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh
  • Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves in Odisha:
  • Nasiyan Temple in Ajmer (Soniji Ki Nasiyan)- dedicated to Lord Rishabhdev
  • Sittanavasal Caves in Tamil Nadu
  • Mangi-Tungi located near Tahrabad in Maharashtra (considered as a gateway to the state of enlightenment)
Architecture in Medieval India
  • The confluence of Persian style with the Indian style, also known as Indo-Islamic architecture or Indo-Saracenic architecture.
  • Features:
  • Use of arch and domes, known as arcuade’ style of architecture gained importance and replaced the traditional Trabeat style of architecture
  • Use of minars around the mosques and the mausoleums began
  • Mortar used as a cementing agent in constructions.
  • Avoided the use of human and animal figures- introduced spaciousness, and breadth to architecture- used calligraphy as means of decoration
  • Arabesque method also used for decoration i.e. use of geometrical vegetal ornamentation.
  • Used the principles of geometry – from decorative pattern to imbibing sense of symmetry
  • Had intricate jaali workssignifies the importance of light in Islamic religion
  • use of water in the premises– in the form of courtyard pools, fountains and small drains – water used primarily for 3 purposes: religious, cooling the premises and decorative purpose
  • Introduced the Charbagh style of gardening, where a square block was divided into four adjacent identical gardens
  • Use of  the pietra-dura technique for the inlay of precious stones and gems into the stone walls
  • Use of foreshortening technique in the buildings, such that the inscriptions appear to be closer than it really is.
Difference between Arcuade Style and Trabeat Style
  • Trabeat Style:
  • Entrance: Use of Lintel
  • Use of shikhara on top of the temples- generally conical or curvilinear
  • Minars are absent
  • Material: Stone was the primary component
  • Arcade Style:
    • Entrance: Use of arches and domes
  • Use of domes on top of mosques – generally hemispherical
  • Minars are present on four corners of mosques
  • Material: Brick, lime plaster and mortar
Architecture during Delhi Sultanate Period
  • Delhi Sultanate period1206-1526 A.D.
  • Architecture classified into two: 
  • Imperial Style: 

Patronized by the rulers of the Delhi- from 1191 to 1557 A.D under various dynasties:

  • Slave dynasty (Ilbari dynasty):
  • 1206 to 1290
  • Style of architecture was known as the Mameluke style of architecture
  • Most of the constructions were remodelings of the existing Hindu structures
  • Eg: Quwat-ul-Islam mosque in the Qutub Minar premises
  • Khilji dynasty (1290 A.D. to 1320 A.D.):
    • Established the Seljuk style of architecture- use of red sandstoneprominence of Arcuade style beganmortar used as a cementing agent
  • Eg: Alai Darwaza by Ala-ud-din Khilji
  • Tughlaq dynasty:
    • Crisis period for architecture- some construction works  undertaken- used grey sandstone
    • focus more on strength of the building and less emphasis on decoration
    • Introduced a style of construction called “batter” – characterised by sloping walls to give more strength to the building
    • Eg: Cities of Tughlaqabaad, Jahaanpanah and Ferozabad
  • Lodi dynasty:
  • Only tombs were commissioned
  • Introduction of double domes– consisted of a hollow dome inside the top dome- double domes built to give strength to the structure and lower the inner height of the dome
  • No lavish decorations on tombs
  • Eg: Lodi gardens
  • Provincial Style: Patronised by local rulers and fiefs

Indo-Islamic style influenced local architectural styles

  • Bengal School:
  • use of bricks and black marble
  • Mosques continued to use of sloping ‘Bangla roofs’( previously used for temples)
  • Eg: Adina mosque in Pandua
  • Malwa School (Pathan School):
    • Cities of Dhar and Mandu became prominent seats of architecture
  • Use of different coloured stones and marbles
  • Large windows (could be as result of European influence)- decorated by a stylised use of arches and pillars- minars not used
  • one of the finest specimens of environmental adaptation– had large windows, lightly arched, artificial reservoirs (baulis), use of locally available materials and use of batter system
  • Eg: Raani Roopmati pavilion
  • Jaunpur School (Sharqi style):
  • Patronised by the Sharqi rulersavoided the use of minars
  • Unique feature- use of bold and forceful characters painted on huge screens in the centre and side bays of the prayer hall
  • Bijapur School:
  • Patronage of Adil Shah- Deccan style of architecture
  • use of 3-arched facade and bulbous dome– use of cornices
  • Unique feature: treatment of its ceilings i.e. without any apparent support- use of Iron clamps and a strong plaster of mortar to give strength- walls decorated by rich carvings – Eg: Gol Gumbaj
Mughal Architecture
  • Babur
  • Constructed mosques in Panipat and Rohilkhand– 1526 A.D.
  • Humayun
  • Laid the foundation of a city named Dinpanah
  • Persian style became prominent
  • Sher Shah
  • Built Qila-e-Quhunah (Mosque of the Old Fort) mosque in Delhi, Sher Shah Suri Masjid in Patna in Afghan-style
  • re-construction and extension of an old Mauryan route – renamed it as Sadak-e-Azam (Grand Trunk Road)
  • Akbar
  • Introduced the use of ‘Tudor arch’ (four-centered arch)
  • Use of red sandstone
  • Important construction works include:
  • Agra Fort: Started by Akbar most of the structures inside the fort were done during the reign of Shah Jahan– important buildings here include: Diwan-i-aam (Hall of Public audience) and Diwan-i-khas (Hall of Private audience) by Shah Jahan, Sheesh Mahal (Turkish Bath) etc- gardens inside the fort built using the Charbagh style
  • Fatehpur Sikri: Called a “frozen moment in history” as the buildings here represent a unique blend of Hindu and Persian styles
  • Important buildings inside the city incude: Buland Darwaza, Salim Chisti’s tomb, Panch Mahal, Jodha Bai’s palace or Mariam-uz-Zamani’s palace, Ibadat Khana, Pachisi Court and Hiran Minar
  • Akbar built temple of Govind Dev in Vrindavan 
  • Jahangir:
  • Focused more on paintings and other forms of art rather than architecture- built Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir, oversaw the construction of Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra-  tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah (work undertaken by wife Noor Jahan)
  • Shah Jahan
  • Taj Mahal:
  • Bulit in the memory of Arzuman Bano Begum (Mumtaz Mahal) – use of calligraphy, pietra dura works, foresightening technique, Charbagh style gardens and the use of water in the premises- extremely fine jaali work- carvings on the marble were low relief
  • Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Shalimar Bagh in Lahore, City of Shahjahanabad and construction of Peacock Throne
  • Aurangzeb: Mughal architecture declined
  • Muhammad Azam Shah:
  • Built Biwi-ka-Maqbara (Begum Rabia Durani) in Aurangabad,  Zinat Mahal in Delhi
  • Two other styles of architecture developed in the region of Rajasthan and Punjab in the Mughal period
  • Sikh Style (in modern day)Punjab:

Heavily influenced by the Mughal style of architecture


  • Use of multiple Chhatris or kiosks on the top of the construction
  • Use of shallow cornices
  • Had fluted domes, were generally covered by brass and copper guilds for decoration and support
  • Arches decorated by the use of numerous foliations
  • Eg: Harmandir Sahib or Golden temple
  • Rajput Style:

     Influenced by the Mughal style


  • Introduction of the concept of hanging balcony
  • Cornices were built in the shape of an arch
Architecture in Kashmir Kashmiri architecture can be broadly divided into: Early medieval Hindu phase and 14th century onwards Muslim rule

  • Temples in Kashmir
  • Reached its peak under the rulers of Karakota dynasty and Utpala dynasty
  • Features:
  • Trefoil arches (Gandhara influence) – Cellular layout and enclosed courtyard- Straight-edged pyramidal roof- Column walls (Greek influence)- Triangular pediments (Greek influence) – Relatively more number of steps
  • Martand Sun Temple: Anantnag, Kashmir
    •  8th century AD – Karkota Dynasty ruler Lalitaditya Muktapida
  • Synthesis of various schools of architecture i.e. Gandhara, Chinese and Gupta 
  • Carvings of gods like Vishnu, goddess Ganga and Yamuna, and Sun God
  • Temples at Awantipora:
  • Two temples namely Avantisvamin for Lord Vishnu and Avantisvara dedicated to Lord Shiva
  • built by king Awantivarman of Utpala dynasty– 9th century AD
  • Influenced by Roman and Gandharan styles
  • Pandrethan Temple (Meru Vardha Swami):
  • Early 10th century-Srinagar
  • Dedicated to Vishnu, but Shiva images also exist
  • Mamleshwara Shiva temple:
  • Built in around 400 AD-located in Pahalgam
  • Monuments in Paraspore
  • Built by Lalitaditya Muktapida– dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Parihaskesana had few Buddhist monastries
  • Architectural development under Islamic rule
  • Blend of existing Kashmiri style and Islamic style
  • Made of wood, brick and stone masonry- Multi levelled sloping roofs and tall spires can be seen instead of domes
  • Eg: Jama Masjid, Srinagar, Aali Masjid, Srinagar, Pari Mahal etc.
  • Gardens in Kashmir
  • Inspired by the Persian designs- Char Bagh style– includes water streams, fountains and trees
  • Eg: Chasm-e-Shahi, Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Badamwari Garden in Srinagar, Verinag, Kokernag and Achabal Garden in Anantnag etc.
Temples of Parsi community in India Atash Behram

Eight Atash Behrams (Fire Temples) in India are:

Sun Temples in India



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