You are on page 1of 177

January 4, 2001 The Evolution of the Temple The Gupta Age (AD 350 - 650) by Ashish Nangia

After the reign of Ashoka the Great, there was an interregnum of relative anarchy, with the collapse of two powerful dynasties, the Kushanas (236 AD) in the north, and the Andhras (225 AD) in the south. As pointed out in our previous article, Buddhism too suffered from a lack of political patronage during this period, leading to its slow decline, despite the valiant efforts of its monks. Also notable was a corresponding slowdown in the arts and literature. Thus, in its effects, this period in Indian history may be said to be analogous to the end of the Greek empire in Europe (which coincidentally was almost contemporaneous). However, the cyclic nature of history demands a renaissance after every Dark Age. It was no different in India - the age that followed has been described as the greatest intellectual awakening in the sub-continent. A large part of the country came under the political control of the Gupta dynasty, which reached its zenith around 400 AD. The culture of the Guptas and their innate Brahmanism gave a fillip to the arts, and in the field of architecture fundamental progress was made. Architecturally, we may discern a new sensibility, a break from the mere copying of forms carrying over from wood construction, to a new sensitivity in the handling and use of stone. This is the first time that the use of dressed stone masonry is made, a major step in the evolution of building construction. With this, a radically different type of architecture began to evolve. Hitherto, it seems that all Brahminical shrines were impermanent. Stone reliefs on the Stupas in Bharhut and Sanchi depict non-Buddhist rituals being held in the open, with merely a shed for shelter, 'formed of posts and beams covered with reeds and mats'.1 However, with time, Indian deities gradually became anthropomorphic and needed to be housed in some more permanent abode. Thus we see the Indian temple passing through various stages, corresponding to the need - clearings in forests, a reed hut, and finally a sanctuary of first wood and then of brick. Eventually, by the Gupta period, a garba-griha2 of stone evolved. Although the final form of the temple itself is small and unimpressive compared to the juggernauts that followed in the mediaeval age, yet they contained the nucleus of the architecture to follow. We can best illustrate the point by discussing a few seminal examples. From Modest Hut to Mighty Sculpture - The Beginnings of Poetry in Stone The first example is that of a modest structure at Tigawa, near modern Jabalpur. This has all the

main characteristics of early Hindu temples - an inner garba-griha surrounded by an ambulatory path or cella, an outer portico with columns in the front, and above all, a flat roof of stone. This temple is notable for the vitality of the carving on its outer columns. There is indeed a certain crudeness in its construction, an over-use of stone, far more than structurally necessary. This may be attributed to the mason's unfamiliarity with the new material. However, there is no concealing the vitality and sheer exuberance of the sculpture, nor the signs that this was done in an age of plenty, with optimism and security writ large. Of the numerous similar examples, this is undoubtedly the finest. The early Gupta Age reached its zenith with the construction of a superb little Shiva Temple at Deogarh, in Jhansi district. This temple is remarkable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, an effort is seen to augment the grandeur of the shrine by a raised structure above the garba-griha, discarding the hitherto-used flat roof. Thus the upper part of the sanctum assumes a pyramidal shape, which when built would have been at least 40 feet (unfortunately, not much of the temple survives). Placing the whole structure on a pedestal, thus adding five feet more, further increases the appearance of height. The second noteworthy point is the portico - which does not face only in one direction. Instead there are four, one in each direction. There is also the usual carved exuberance on the pillars. Developments in the South Almost contemporaneously, another similar movement was taking place in the south under the vigorous direction of the Chalukyas (AD 450 to 650). The main effort of this dynasty was at Aihole, in Bijapur district. Here we find almost 70 Brahminical shrines and temples, all in stone. Similar to the Gupta examples, the temples at Aihole for the most part are flat-roofed (we will discuss the noteworthy exception). The chief difference from the Gupta temples is in the presence of a pillared hall or mandapa in front of the temple - this represents a noteworthy step forward in temple design. We shall discuss two chief examples. The Ladh Khan temple is noteworthy, as it does not seem to have been originally intended for use as a shrine, but instead was probably the village assembly hall. This is borne out by the fact that it fulfils very few of the conditions necessary for a ritualistic Brahminical temple. To convert it into a temple, the openings between the external columns were filled in with masonry, and a place for the shrine created by the addition of a closed chamber at the far end of the hall. The roof was created of massive blocks of masonry, grooved at the edges. The whole structure gives an appearance of ponderous strength and elemental beauty, part of which again may be attributed to the unfamiliarity of the mason with stone. In stark contrast, but illustrating yet another architectural principle in its formative stage, is the Durga temple, also at Aihole. This is an example of the form of a Buddhist Chaitya hall, adapted to suit the Brahminical ritual. The apsidal hall has a small tower over its end to give the appearance of height. It is interesting to note that in both cases, the temples at Aihole were adapted from existing communal buildings. However, in the process, the shrines became forerunners to the mighty temples to follow by providing, as a precedent, the early forms of the mandapa or Hall of Worship.

These humble shrines were the beginnings of the movement which would result in the rise of magnificent structures all over the country. It can be safely said that the lineage of the mighty cathedrals at Khajuraho, Dilwara and Lingaraja can be traced to these tentative experiments with the magic of stone. February 1, 2001

The Satpatha Brahmana, in Brown, Percy, Indian Architecture - Buddhist and Hindu, Taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd., Bombay, 1971. 2 Or Sanctum-Sanctorum, literally the 'house of the womb' Poetry in Stone: Crystallization of The Hindu Temple by Ashish Nangia In the previous article, we saw how the form of the modern temple gradually started emerging, from a leafy shelter in the woods, to the first hesitant experiments with stone, and the adaptation of existing communal buildings in villages. Gradually, as the masons gained greater confidence, temple forms all over the country started crystallizing. Just as in a church, a temple too has its distinctive elements. The Temple in its Final Form The principal architectural features of a temple are as follows: The sanctuary as a whole is called a vimana, and the pyramidal or tapering roof above this is called the shikhara. Inside the vimana is a dark chamber, the cella, called the garbha-griha (literally the 'womb-house'), and this is entered by a doorway on one side. In front of the doorway is a pillared hall, or mandapa, which serves as an assembly for devotees. In some examples the mandapa is detached from the vimana by an open space. Leading up to the mandapa is a porch or ardhmandapa. In some parts of the country it was common to enclose the temple complex by a boundary wall made of rectangular cells facing inward, thus forming a courtyard. With this, the onwards) saw thousands of unparalleled India every and in every rose singly remains the present Architectural Middle Ages in India (A.D. 800 the proliferation of hundreds and temples. This was an age of construction activity. " so in hamlet had its cluster of shrines, town the tall spires of temples and in groups, as proved by the observable all over the country to day."1 Details, Decoration and Sculpture

A detailed analysis of temple architecture reveals that much of its character was the result of repetition of motifs. Thus looking at the Shikhara we see that it is made up of many miniature ones repeating themselves time and again. In fact these repeating motifs in themselves were miniature shrines. Two main types of motifs/mini shrines exist, depending on the geographical location of

the temple. These two types make up the Indian temple 'orders', and are called the Dravida, found mostly in the south, and the Indo-Aryan, in the north. The origin of the Shikhara is the subject of intense debate, due to its prominence and characteristic form. Some theories on its derivation: from the sphere of the Buddhist stupa, from the domed huts of central India, and also from the pyramidal covering on a ceremonial chariot of the Aryans. It is fairly clear that some of the architectural character of the temple was a direct influence from Buddhist architecture. For example, the introduction of the chaitya arch (kudu), and the unmistakable vaulted roof as survives in the Telika-Mandir at Gwalior. However, in spite of all these distinctions, there were certain fundamental principles throughout which guided and controlled the art of building in all its phases. This fact becomes even more amazing when we see that "a similar stylistic content reveals itself in the distant Indo-Buddhist monuments of Java and Cambodia." Guilds and the Vastushastra Two institutions that greatly influenced temple construction brought about this close coordination. The first was the seni, or guilds. Initially a system of apprenticeship, the guilds slowly became hereditary and knowledge of temple construction and sculpture was passed down through the generations from father to son. A large project necessitated a guild being obliged to settle on the site for a long period, sometimes a generation or more. Thus "a large architectural undertaking became an art center from which a local school and style were derived." The second influence was that of the silpas, treatises codifying rules for Art, Sculpture and Architecture and the Vastushastra in particular, a book setting down the rules of architecture. The silpas were committed to memory and passed down the generations simply by learning them by heart. Thus the workmen had infallible rules, by following which they could be assured of success. Materials and Construction Indian temple architecture has often been called sculpture on a mass scale rather than true architecture. This is because there was little structural inventiveness or technical ingenuity. No attempts were made to solve the problems of spanning large distances by the use of the arch, vault or dome, which were by this time common in other parts of the world. Instead the Indian mason relied on gravity and mass for his structure to stand, and the piling of massive blocks one on top of the other ensured stability without using mortar. However, the finished structure showed a fine appreciation of mass and the value and effects of shadow to a marked degree. Every part of the building was the result of generations of conscious and sub-conscious knowledge. This has made Indian temples poetry in stone, mute sentinels to the skill of their unnamed builders. February 15, 2001

1 Brown Percy, Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindi), P.62, DB Taraporevala Sons and Co Pvt Ltd, Bombay, 1971 ibid., p.64 ibid., p.63 Rock Cut Architecture by Ashish Nangia

Rock-cut architecture occupies a very important place in the history of Indian Architecture. This differs from 'building up' in many important ways. Firstly, the art is more akin to sculpture than architecture, in that a solid body of material (rock) is taken, the final product visualized and cutting/carving starts. Secondly, the mason is not overly concerned with spans, forces, beams, columns, and all the other architectural features - these can be carved, but are seldom playing any structural role. In this article, we shall cover a wide chronological range, from the earliest primitive caves of Buddhist monks, to the crowning glory of the art, namely the Kailash temple at Ellora. All of these have some common features, yet it can be clearly seen that the rock-cutter improved all the time, gaining confidence and mastery over the material, until the final culmination at the 'White Temple' of Ellora. Buddhist Caves and Chaityas The ascetic nature of early Buddhism and Jainism was well suited to living a life away from the cities, in natural caves and grottoes in the hillsides. In a circle of two hundred miles around modern Nasik, the rugged hills of the Western Ghats are naturally suited to the creation of living space in the hillside - with steep cliffs providing an ideal surface for carving in.

The architecture here is divided into distinct groups - each having its own version of the prayerhall, or chaitya and a monastery, or a vihara. The most significant of these are the examples at Karle, with magnificent chaityas cut deep into the hillside. The most remarkable aspect of the rock cut architecture at Karle and other sites is its close similarity to wood construction. This went as far as imitating every detail of wood, down to the joints and fastenings, in rock. This is by itself an impressive feat, but betrays the fact that as far as the physical properties and potential of stone was concerned, the masons had much to learn. The Rathas of Mahabalipuram The next notable development occurs much later chronologically (c.600 - 900 AD), as well as much further south, at Mahabalipuram, under the reign of the Pallavas. They were the founders of what later became known as the Dravidian Style, which became the style prevalent all over South India during mediaeval times. The town of Mahabalipuram is home to a curious experiment: to determine which form of temple is best. This led to the sculpting, out of monolithic rock, scaled-down replicas of actual temples, which are now known as the Rathas of Mahabalipuram or the 'Seven Pagodas'. The rathas are not very large, the biggest measuring 42 feet by 35 feet, and the tallest is 40 feet high. With one exception, all the rathas are modeled on two types of structure: the Buddhist vihara and chaitya.

The rathas are today half-buried in the sand, silent monuments to the age of kings gone by, their silhouettes and graceful surface sculpture exact, in every detail, to the great temples of the south that would follow. Kailash Nath Temple, Ellora

The final example of this type is the Kailash Nath Temple, also at Ellora. This is indeed unique. Instead of carving down into the face of a cliff and creating underground halls which had been the practice, the sculptors/architects set aside all convention and created a full temple, identical in every detail to a structural, 'built-up' example, by carving vertically down into the living rock. When we consider that the plan of the Kailash temple is fully equal in area to the Parthenon at Athens, and that it is one and a half times as high, some idea of the magnitude of the achievement comes through. The scheme of the Kailash temple is basically divided into four main parts: the body of the temple itself, the entrance gateway, an intermediate nandi shrine and the cloisters surrounding the courtyard. Much of the imposing character of the main shrine is due to its substantial plinth, which on first examination seems to be a floor by itself. Above and below this, the sub-structure is heavily molded, while the central space is occupied by a frieze of elephants and lions. The Kailash temple is not only the single largest work of art executed in India, but as an example of rock-cut architecture it stands unrivalled. One gradually becomes aware of the stupendous labor that it involved (over a hundred years), and finally, the sculpture that adorns it. Standing within its walls, one cannot help but be aware of the spiritual energy that went into its creation - a jewel hewn out of the rock itself. March 1, 2001 See Also : Elephanta Caves - Rock Cut Architecture

North Indian Style Evolves The North Indian or Indo-Aryan Style (A.D. 800 onwards) by Ashish Nangia Temple building in India, by the Mediaeval Age, had gradually crystallized into two main streams the north Indian or Indo-Aryan, and the Dravidian in south India. The north Indian style was manifested over a large geographical area, from Gujarat in the west to Orissa in the East. These disparate developments often were the basis of regional schools of art and architecture, and were the intermediate steps in the continuing process of the evolution of the Hindu Temple. We shall discuss some representative examples. Osian Descendant of the Guptas

The picturesque village of Osian, near modern Jodhpur in Rajasthan, was the capital of the Pratiharas in the eighth century. The only remnants now of its former glory are a handful of small stone temples. The shikhara, which was the main feature of the Gupta temple at Deogarh, was now the logical culmination of a plan that included all the basic features of the later temples at Khajuraho and Bhubhaneswar. Two are raised on high plinth, like the temples at Khajuraho, but their shikharas are like the early Orissan examples. The builders at Osian added a mandapa or open assembly hall for devotees to congregate. Another feature was a rectangular wall around the temple, at each corner of which was a subsidiary shrine. Teli-ka-Mandir at Gwalior

This temple in the fort at Gwalior is unique. The name, of course, literally means Oil-mans temple. In its conception it resembles more a shrine than a temple, as it consists of a sanctuary only there is neither mandapa nor pillared pavilions that make up the composition of a full temple. But it is distinguished by the fact that it was the last attempt to cap a Hindu temple by a barrel-vaulted roof of Buddhist origin. This gives the temple a silhouette which is quite original, to say the least. Though this form was subsequently discarded by the north Indian architect, echoes of this, as we shall see later, were the basis for the formal composition of South Indian temple gateways. More orthodox than this are the other temples in Gwalior Fort, namely the Sas-Bahu group.

This consists of two temples, one much smaller than the other, but with the same architectural style. The larger temple is but a portion of the original conception, as only the main hall remains, the shikhara that was about 150 feet in height, having disappeared. Examples at Bhubhaneswar The state of Kalinga (modern Orissa) was becoming, in mediaeval times, one of the richest havens of temple building activity. History tells us that Kalinga was ruled by a succession of kings who sought temporal freedom by building whole cities of temples. These cities are marked by their lack of secular buildings, and as was common throughout India, are more known for their temple architecture than any city or town planning. Over a period of seven hundred years, the city of Bhubhaneswar itself had more than seven thousand temples. The seventh-century Vaital Deul at Bhubhaneswar is in fact a later version of the Teli-ka-Mandir described above, as it too is roofed by a barrel vault. However, the Orissan craftsmen went further as they capped the vault by three kalasa finials. The incongruity of the barrel vault as a finial for the temple, however, soon asserted itself, and the Orissan craftsmen reverted to the familiar shikhara, albeit with a change in profile. Ignoring the elliptic curve of the Gupta temples, the Orissan shikhara was endowed with a more shoulder like profile, or spire. Simple shrines consisting of a small Sri Mandir, or deul as the main cella is called, crowned by the shikhara, are grouped all over Orissa.

The need was soon felt for attaching a mandapa or covered hall to single room shrines where worshippers could congregate. In the 8th century temple of Parasurameshwar, the earliest known example of such a modification was found. Rarely did the Orissan architect get a chance to visualize his temple as a single entity. This is the reason why Orissan temples seem incomplete, not realizing their full potential. For such crystallization, we must look to the temple of Khajuraho, in our next article. March 15, 2001 Theories and Principles of Indian Temple Construction by Ashish Nangia Before we go any further, it will be worthwhile to examine the principles that guided the Hindu Temple architect and mason. How was there a proliferation of high-quality work in throughout the country? Was it a spontaneous expression of creative energy or were there some basic rules follow, some essential unity underlying the apparent diversity? We shall examine briefly the social, religious, metaphysical and material factors that led to the production of Indian temples. Supremacy of the Brahmins Since the decline of the Gupta dynasty to the age of the Mughals, there was no central political authority through most of India. This political vacuum was filled by the priestly class, who gradually assumed power as the sole arbiters of almost every aspect of life - birth, death, puberty, marriage, business and personal. All these 'favors', of course, had a price and those on whose behalf they 'generously' interceded with the gods would pay the priests by cash or in kind. Obviously the serious business of construction was too important to be overlooked either. While the basic concepts of construction and decoration had already been evolved, it was the Brahmins who began erecting a complex edifice of rules and layouts for different classes of building. These were purposely couched in hideously complicated mumbo-jumbo - the better to be well beyond the ken of the common man or even an ordinary craftsman. A lifetime was required to study the rules and more, if possible. These rules sometimes assumed ridiculous dimensions. The most basic acts of building were no longer to be based on technical considerations but rather on mythological ones. Thus the Vastushastra was sometimes more of a hindrance than a help to the craftsmen.


It is in this situation that the genius of the Indian Craftsman came to the fore. In a situation that could easily have been stifling, the mason and stonecutters came forth and created beauty simply by the plasticity of their sculpture and the sheer brute force of their forms. A large part of this was due to the institution of Senis or guilds, about which a brief mention has been made in a previous article. Senis - Protectors of Heritage As early as the 7th century B.C., Indian craftsmen had organized themselves into guilds, the better to protect their special knowledge, and to gain for themselves better working conditions, and finally to ensure a minimum standard of quality of workmanship. In the senis, heredity was the route by which traditional knowledge was passed on through the generations. As soon as a boy was old enough to hold tools, he was set to work on a rough block of stone and so commenced his long apprenticeship. This was the father's sole gift and heirloom to his sons who in turn ensured that his name and style would live on. A temple project would often be of such magnitude that more than one generation of master cutters and masons would be required to finish it. So a clan of stonecutters would settle around the building site for years. The temple site attracted young men hoping to learn as well as find work. Thus it became the focus of activity for miles around. Over the years, regional variations introduced for the building of a particular temple led to the evolution of a new style or 'school' of temple building, much like the gharanas that exist in Indian classical music even today. Hence we find distinct schools of art and architecture even within North Indian temple construction - the Orissan, Chalukyan, Gujarati, Kashmiri, and of course, the same situation in the temples of the south, which were further divided into many regional variations and schools of construction. In all these the Vastushastra was the giver of cohesiveness, which ensured overall similarity of form and function, but also, as we have seen, was responsible for fettering the imagination of the craftsmen. The Magic of the VastuPurushaMandala

Looking at Hindu temples, it is not very easy to discern that they are composed of one repeating unit - the square. For God's own abode, the form had to be perfect and this limited the choice of shapes to the circle - a form without beginning and end, and the square - perfect for its symmetry. The circle had already been extensively used by the Buddhists in their Stupas and moreover, was perceived to be too dynamic a form for the resting place of the gods. For the Hindus, their gods had to be installed in buildings symbolizing unity, inertia and permanence. The square, thus, was chosen for these qualities.

This was the origin of the square Mandala (the best translation of this in English is 'divine chart'). The mandala was further subdivided into smaller squares in a grid, those containing 64 or 81 being the most common. Each of these smaller squares was then invested with a resident deity, each with his own special attributes and powers. The distance of the deities from the center was according to their power and perceived importance. Thus Brahma, the creator, occupied pride of place in the center and lesser gods were relegated to the edges. A humanistic faade was given to the square by showing it to be able to accommodate a figure in a convoluted yogic posture.

It is interesting to note that this idea, that of the human figure being the basis of a system of proportion, was also used in the European Renaissance by Leonardo de Vinci, and later by Le Corbusier, planner of Chandigarh in India, in his Modular system of measurement. Thus, having acquired magical and theological properties, the VastuPurushaMandala was fit to be the basis of temple construction, with many permutations and combinations being used to achieve the final form. Very simply, the central square could be used for the garba-griha, while the surrounding grid formed the pradakshina-path and outer wall, and so on

By increasing in complexity this system of proportion could spawn the most complex of forms with their basic unit remaining the square. It was by manipulation of this basic grid that the Indian architect created the greatest temples of India. The best examples, the glorious days of Hindu architecture, shall form the basis of our next article.

March 29, 2001 Hindu Temple Architecture in the North The Glorious Culmination by Ashish Nangia We are now reaching the final phase of Hindu Temple architecture in the North. In several areas, the painstakingly evolved theories of construction, the craftsmen and stonecutters skill, combined with the backing of a dynasty powerful enough to conceive and execute such a concept, all combined to produce temples of breathtaking glory, which remain unsurpassed to this day. There were four main sites, which we shall discuss: 1. 2. 3. 4. The Bundelkhand region ruled by the Chandelas, especially the town of Khajuraho. Bhubhaneswar, which produced its biggest temple ever. Konark, on the eastern coast of Orissa. Modhera in Gujarat.

The Glory of Khajuraho

The sleepy town of Khajuraho is home to some of the finest examples of Hindu temple construction. Among the many temples that exist, most have been deserted. Hence Khajuraho is not a religious pilgrimage; rather it serves as a magnet for tourists from all over the world. All the temples of Khajuraho are set on broad terraces. In profile they display a unity of composition and graceful silhouettes that exceeds any preceding examples. But the most distinctive feature of the silhouette of a Khajuraho temple is without doubt its distinctive shikhara.

The effect of height of a temple till now was mitigated and compromised by the horizontal courses of stone used for construction. However, the shikharas at Khajuraho are really a composition of many mini-shikharas converging on the main spire. The resulting silhouette has been compared to a chain of mountains building up to its highest point.

The temples here are also justly famous for their erotic sculpture. Indeed, it is primarily for this that Khajuraho is known. Why would a temple, a place of worship be adorned with such carving? For some historians this is evidence of the decadence of the Chandela kings, a hypothesis backed up by the fact that the Chandela dynasty did not survive for long thereafter. However, the presence of erotic sculpture elsewhere too may point to the fact that for the Hindu, life was meant for living in all its aspects, and he merely depicted scenes of a fact of life, without being conscious of any taboo attached, which after all was a much later invention. The great Lingaraja at Bhubhaneswar Meanwhile, the temple city of Bhubhaneswar, which we have discussed in a previous article, was witnessing the construction of its biggest temple the Great Lingaraja. As is evident from its name, the temple was dedicated to Shiva. Unlike the temples at Khajuraho, the ones in Bhubhaneswar are still active, the most famous example being the temple of Jagannath at Puri.

To accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims, a number of additions were made to the Lingaraja in subsequent years. The Nat Mandir, or Hall of Dance, and the Bhog Mandir, or the Hall of Offering, were the major ones. Unfortunately, these were rather unimaginative and had a detrimental effect on the silhouette of the Jagannath temple as a whole. Thus, though the Lingaraja is unsurpassed in its importance as a center of pilgrimage in Orissa, there are many smaller examples of temple construction that are far better architecturally. The Sun Temple, Konark This temple, had it been successfully completed, would have been the biggest temple in India by far. Yet it seems that the conception of the structure exceeded the available structural skill. For even before completion, the foundation of the temple started sinking under the great weight above, and the 200 feet high shikhara could never be finished.

What remains of the temple now is the mandapa, which alone is colossal. The British walled up the interior of the mandapa with rubble to prevent its roof from collapsing. From the outside, the sun temple is on a large platform, which has on its sides carved wheels. The whole temple was conceived as the vehicle of the Sun. The temple at Konark too is ultimately a triumph of sculpture, its great size no deterrent to the skilled stonecutters. Although it takes second place behind Khajuraho, the sculpture at Konark is no less sensuous nor less haunting. The Sun Temple, Modhera In the middle of the desert in Gujarat lie the haunting remains of what must have been one of the greatest temples of mediaeval India, the Sun temple at Modhera.

The most visible and famous ruin at Modhera is that of a ritualistic bathing tank in front of the Sun Temple. This tank, with its pattern of steps, has been the inspiration for many an architectural effort even today. From this tank, a broad flight of steps goes up to the temple itself, through an ornate torana, or gateway. The torana leads on to the mandapa that forms the heart of the temple. The shafts of the columns of this hall are exquisitely and sensuously carved, almost embroidered. This temple is little more than a ruin now. Yet the poignant remains are ample testimony to the magnificence that must have been the great Sun Temple of Modhera. An Age Ends And so ended the Mediaeval Period of temple construction in North India. By this time, raiding parties from across Afghanistan and Persia were beginning to seriously degrade the political stability of the region, with the result that no sustained architectural effort was ever possible again by the Hindu kingdoms of the North. April 13, 2001 Images under license with Tamil Magnificence : Developments in South India by Ashish Nangia In the 10th and 11th centuries, the south too witnessed the construction of massive temples, great cathedrals in their own right. With the passage of time, the Chola dynasty came to dominate politics in south India. With their progression to power, the small scale of the Pallava masterpieces

- the rathas and the Shore temple at Mahabalipuram - was not sufficient as a showpiece of Chola power. The craftsmen were soon to be put to a greater test. The Great Temple at Thanjavur

Today Thanjavur or Tanjore is an ordinary little town in Tamil Nadu. However, as the capital city of the Cholas, nothing surpassed it in wealth and power in the 11th century. In 1000 A.D. the Chola king Rajarajeshwara the Great commissioned a temple, which was revolutionary by its sheer size, dwarfing all efforts made so far in the south. So the Rajaraja temple at Tanjore was 180 feet high from the ground, with a spire of 130 feet, fully 70 feet higher than the tallest spire so far attempted. This soaring height was capped by an enormous domical monolith, weighing at least 80 tons. In this temple, which is arranged as always around a central axis, the two mandapas in front of the Vimana are also proportionately bigger. The entire complex of the main temple and its ancillary structures and subsidiary shrines is in the middle of a rectangular, defined by a portico with a double colonnade. The Vimana, though not much shorter than the projected spire at Konark, is structurally intact even after a thousand years. In this respect, the Tamil architects proved themselves far more adept than their northern peers. This was to be seen again in a later example. It was also true, of course, that the form chosen was far more prudent, a comparatively stable pyramid rather than the complex curvilinear profile of the shikhara. The Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram Growing chola power in the south was accompanied by a corresponding increase in patronage for the arts, the building of new cities and improvement in material life of the city-states as a whole. Rajendra I, the successor to Rajaraja the Great, in a bid to assert his own kingly identity, took the bold step of shifting his capital from Tanjore to Gangaikondacholapuram. As was common, the city needed to be built around its own mighty cathedral, the seat of all spiritual power.

Today the town is in ruins, and the temple scarcely less so. Yet the temple at Gangaikondacholapuram was important because of innovations that affected South Indian temple architecture in the future. The main Vimana on a base even larger than the temple at Tanjore, rises up in a concave curve, which is in total contrast to "the rigid and geometrically perfect Vimana of Tanjore, that symbolizes conscious might" while in the example at Gangaikondacholapuram " the fluid linesare imbued with a subconscious grace". The second innovation is the Mandapa. The huge flat-roofed hall has processional aisles that remain at ground level. To hold up such a large area of roof, a veritable forest of columns supports the mandapa. This approach is the forerunner of the famous 'halls of thousand columns' of later efforts in temple building. The Decline of the Cholas - the Pandyas Come to Power After the death of Rajendra I in 1050 A.D., the power of the Cholas slowly waned from incessant disputes with the other powers of the south - the Chalukyas, Pandyas and Kerala. Eventually the Chola Empire was usurped by the Pandya dynasty, which inherited all of its considerable wealth and trade agreements with foreign powers. By this time, i.e. the 14th Century A.D., considerable political changes were taking place. The most threatening was evidence of a new, irresistible force from the north - the all-conquering hordes of Islam. This threat made the Pandya rulers hurriedly throw up makeshift battlements around their cities and the heart of their towns -the temples. Thus an ancient, venerated shrine could often find itself in the position of being reduced in appearance to a fortress, that too a most utilitarian one. For so religious a people, this was unacceptable. To change the outer covering, i.e. the form of the temple itself would be nothing short of sacrilege. The Pandya rulers hit upon a novel solution: raise the gates of the fortress to the level of architecture. This was the genesis of the famous gopurams, or entrance gateways of the temple cities of the south. These temple cities and their sociological implications will be the subject of our next chapter in this story of Indian architecture. April 26, 2001 The Temple Cities of the South by Ashish Nangia In our last article, we explained how the typical south Indian city came to be surrounded by a ring of walls because of the need for defense, and then population growth. This led to a number of interesting solutions in city planning and the most visible architectural feature of this expansion was the Gopuram. Gopurams The Gopuram (literally Cow-Gate), was erected primarily to emphasize the importance of the temple within the city precincts without in any way altering the form of the temple itself. The formal aspects of the Gopuram were evolved slowly over time. It had to be towering, massive and impressive. But it was not felt necessary to repeat verbatim the square-based form of the temple Vimana. This could be due to the fact that the square was a essentially a static form, signifying

calm and rest, while the entrance gateway needed to have some dynamism. Elongating the square and converting into a rectangle with an open entrance in the middle solved this problem. Above this base could be raised tier upon tier of a pyramidal structure comprised of brick and plaster with the topmost tier also a rectangle, albeit much smaller. This rectangular top was crowned by a barrel-vaulted shape of Buddhist origin, crowned with a row of finials. As time went by, cities all over South India could be discerned from afar by the distinctive shape of their Gopurams dominating the skyline. The temple-city had evolved from a place of pilgrimage to the hub of political, cultural, social and secular activity of the region. The 'Annular' Growth of Cities Such an increase in importance of the city led to a natural population increase as well as demands for more resources. But growth was also constrained by the huge battlements thrown up around, punctuated by the massive Gopurams. The only viable solution was to erect yet another wall around the existing one. The new wall, too, had its own huge Gopurams. In this way the city grew much like the annular rings of a tree, with successive perimeters being added as population growth dictated. Thus, the great temple of Srirangam at Tiruchirapalli acquired several concentric rings of growth over a period of 500 years. Ultimately, the concentric city and Gopurams, which evolved out of necessity rather than conscious design, came to be accepted as the standard 'form' of temple construction in the south.

The Meenakshi Temple at Madurai Thus it came to pass that the Meenakshi temple was designed as a series of concentric courtyards, or parikramas. The spaces around the shrine became hierarchical, diminishing in religious value; the further one went from the main shrine. The outermost ring had buildings of a more practical nature - accounts, dormitories, kitchens, shops selling items for rituals, maintenance areas and 'parking' for the increasing number of chariots. The inner circles contained parikramas for singing and religious tales, bathing tanks and guest houses. And in the innermost courts were the pavilions for the dancing girls and the treasury - both jealously guarded by the priests! Admittance was restricted to the upper castes only. And finally, the holiest of holies, the Cella containing the idol of the deity was open only to the head pujari and out of bounds for even the king of the land.

The Hall of a Thousand Pillars With temple building losing its architectural challenge and becoming more and more a town planning exercise, the craftsman was restricted to working on pavilions, halls and Gopurams, the last of which grew ever larger and imposing. The huge hall in the Meenakshi temple needed 985 pillars to support its roof. This is the famous 'Hall of a Thousand Pillars'. Unfortunately its size cannot compensate for its architectural mediocrity, and according to Satish Grover: ...the hall, surely one of the more arid products of Indian craftsmanship is a museum of drawings and photographs of the entire gamut of the 1200 years of temple architecture of the South.* The Corridors of Rameswaram Rameswaram, on a tip of land jutting out into the sea, is a maze of huge pillared verandahs. Not only is the temple surrounded by corridors, but it is also linked to the entrances by covered passages. Rameswaram thus has the distinction of possessing the longest corridors in the world.

However, in spite of their huge proportions, the Gopurams and pillared corridors were the last gasp of conceptually revolutionary Hindu architecture in the country. The invasion of Islam had already resulted in the North being a bustling hive of mosque and tomb building. The Hindu stonecutter proved to be equally adept at carving Islamic masterpieces as sculpting nubile forms on the surface of temples. This will form the subject of a later article. May 13, 2001 Grover, Satish The Architecture of India - Buddhist and Hindu, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. , New Delhi, 1980.

All color images under license with The Hoysalas of Karnataka by Ashish Nangia

The flourishing temple styles in North India - both the Khajuraho and the Orissi versions - were brought to a rude end with the Muslim invasion. When the Muslims consolidated their hold over North India, temple-building activity virtually stopped. Entire families of skilled craftsmen were now presented with two choices - the first of which was to work for their new masters and abandon the idea of building a temple as an offering to God. This resulted in the fusion of Persian and Indian building styles and was to result in an entirely new idiom, as we shall see later. Another option was to migrate further and further south, in search of work and new patrons, where Muslim influence had not yet made inroads. This was the region around modern Mysore, where the hitherto unknown Hoysala tribe was making its first moves towards glory. Having overthrown their former overlords, the Cholas, the Hoysalas were in no mood to imitate their architectural style and were looking for something with its own distinct identity. The craftsmen migrating from the north were able to provide just such an impetus. The merging of the Dravidian and North Indian styles created a temple that is unique, so much so that it is often classified as the Hoysala style. The early experiments were found on the extreme edges of the kingdom, around ancient Dwarasamudra. The profile of the temples at Ittagi, Gadag and Lakhundi reveals that the craftsman's most visible contribution was a subtle merging of the two spire forms - the horizontal tiers of the pyramidal south Indian vimana and the roundshouldered elegance of the northern shikhara. Gradually this hybrid evolved into an identifiable style, rivaling in

grace and beauty its predecessors. The Star in Plan To add to its distinctiveness, the Hoysala temple in plan composed of numerous cellas or garbhagrihas served by a common mandapa. The plan of each of these cellas was a star. The departure from the accepted square form of the temple is understandable when we analyze the plan and see that it is made up of a grid of rotating squares. The resulting outline thus emerges as a star. The mandapa remained a square, though it was now distinguished by circular columns, the shafts of which had been lathed and thus acquired a number of parallel knife-edges. Among the examples of the developed Hoysala style, the Chenna Kesava temple at modern Belur is one of the finest. This was designed and planned by the architect Janaka Acharya at the behest of King Vishnuvardhan.

Though built around a single shrine, the temple has all the distinguishing features of the Hoysala style - a pillared mandapa, bell-shaped towers and above all the star-shaped plan. The gaps between the outer pillars were covered with a jaali meant to provide privacy for the Brahmins, and especially the 'highly seductive dancing of the devdasis'.* The mandapa of this temple has an extremely beautiful circular stone platform, lustrously polished after years and years of dance on it - the ritualistic, devotional Bharata Natyam of the South. Splendor in Halebid

Not content with this little gem in Belur, the king commissioned an even larger and more magnificent temple in his new capital city of Halebid. The architect proceeded to lay out two identical temples, parallel and connected at their transepts. The Halebid temple is one of the most fitting climaxes to the sculptor's art in India. While architecturally it was not revolutionary, especially after Belur, it is in its rich sensuous sculpture that this example comes into its own. The high plinth of the temple is a virtual tapestry of sculpture, with bands of dancing figures, animals, vegetation and other objects coming to life on its surface. According to Percy Brown, the 'Halebid Temple and the Parthenon are probably the two extremes of the architectural art of the world'. 'The one revels in the cold purity of its form and the other in the warm complexity of its sculptural architectonics'.** The Last Chapter The Hoysala temples were among the last temples of consequence to be built in India. Muslim invasions were fast taking their toll and kings were more concerned about fighting off the invaders than with artistic and architectural endeavors. However, the Vijayanagara empire further south held on a little bit longer. The marvels at Hampi are the last examples of mediaeval Hindu architecture we shall discuss - in the next column. June 23, 2001 * Grover, Satish The Architecture of India - Buddhist and Hindu, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. , New Delhi, 1980. ** ibid Images under license with Death of an Empire The Ruins of Hampi by Ashish Nangia

The conquest of the North by the marauding forces of Islam had already sounded the death-knell for most of the Hindu empires, with the exception of a few proud Rajput strongholds. The Sultans of Delhi were now in the process of consolidation and administration, and little by little Muslim

rule and the Persian-Saracenic way of life began to permeate throughout the land. The south however was largely ignored, with the rulers of Delhi leaving a governor in Daulatabad who nominally ruled in the name of the Sultan but in reality was a law unto himself. Before long, the inevitable happened with these governors revolting and naming themselves the true rulers. In this melee of changing power, two Hindu princes managed to carve out for themselves a stronghold at Hampi, and established an empire which would be the last great Hindu kingdom before the coming of the British. A million-strong army ensured that the empire continued to grow in size and importance and numerous military successes resulted in Hampi itself being renamed Vijayanagar - the City of Victory.

The site of Vijaynagar is spectacular, a city carved out of low lying hills and massive boulders, the treacherous terrain provided ample defense with only a few well-defended accesses. The Tungabhadra river meanders gently through, and at night the boulder-strewn landscape has an almost magical quality.

Fortifications, outlying fields and a fifteen mile long aqueduct were the defense against a siege. This city has been the subject of many an impassioned travelogue by foreigners - Portuguese and Persians : "The city of Bidjanagar (Vijayanagar) is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world. It is built in such a manner that seven citadels and the same number of walls enclose each other The outer citadel has a fortress, of round shape, built on the summit of a mountain and constructed of stone and lime." * Living Architecture The site provided ample raw material for building, and the huge massifs of rock were often themselves sculpted to produce a unique architecture that is part organic, part man-made and often is difficult to distinguish from natural features. Hampi shows us a change from the normal centralized temple with outlying ancillaries, in the sense that the religious buildings are scattered around in small units, each with its own importance and function, the planning of the whole obeying the diktat of the terrain. Of the numerous temples and shrines scattered around, we will illustrate two. The Vithala Temple The Vithala temple was commissioned by Krishnadeva Raya, the greatest of the Vijayanagar rulers. Its chief peculiarity lies in the extent of its conception (an area of 500 by 300 feet) and the numerous columns, each an orgy of sculpture in itself.

Like a dying gothic monster, the columns rise from massive pedestals and scream upwards into grotesque brackets of enormous proportions. The large space is completely devoured by the forest of columns, and does not have any pretensions to cohesiveness or concept, becoming instead a maze of intricacy, art rather than architecture. The other major feature in the complex of the same temple is a chariot in granite, whose stone wheels lifted off from the ground are actually capable of revolving around their axles.

Hazari Ram Temple A private chapel of the same ruler has the same suggestion of the grotesque and the fanciful. A combination of forms, including the Buddhist barrel vaulted roof, adds to the repertoire of shapes. Civic Architecture and the Influence of Islam The fascination of Vijayanagar continues with its secular architecture. It is a mix of Hindu and Islamic features, as if the rulers were sufficiently impressed to import craftsmen and masterbuilders from neighboring Islamic states. Among the most elegant constructions are the so-called 'watchtowers', although in reality most of them may have been built for pleasure, for the nobility to look out over the city. These towers have elements from both Hindu and Islamic vocabulary with typical Islamic arches, an octagonal or square plan, projecting eaves, corbelled brackets under the windows, and a decidedly Hindu finial. The Elephants' Stable, in consonance with the beast's position as an animal for pomp and war, is mighty in conception and is perhaps one of the most impressive buildings in Vijayanagar.

This long, 10-domed structure has mighty arched opening for the animals, very reminiscent of the Lodi tombs in Delhi, and the domes are alternately totally Islamic and with a hint of Hindu influence. The recessed arches in the front elevation as well as the central structure on top (perhaps for drummers and musicians) all combine to make this a must-see. The beauty of ijayanagar-Hampi, in the ultimate analysis, lies as much in its architecture as in what it represents. For this was the last stronghold of Hindu architecture and art, which were rapidly disappearing in an increasingly Muslim ruled subcontinent. And here too, the influence of Islam was already visible, slowly subsuming Hindu craft in a Hindu kingdom. For this would be the last Hindu fling at monumental architecture. Hindu craftsmen and traditions would continue, would influence the Islamic style, but would never again be paramount. The twisted sculpture at Hampi, the barren rocky site, the haunting beauty of the landscape by night all contribute to painting for us, as we stand there today, a picture of battles fought, dying elephants and men, charging horses, and finally the eventual sack of the city as it fought vainly to stem the swelling tide of invasion. According to Percy Brown, '..the proud capital was (soon) a forlorn ruin inhabited only by tigers and other wild beasts'. And as we leave, echoes of the roar of the king of beasts lingers in the still air over proud and deserted ruins of Hampi. August 26, 2001 1. From Persian ambassador Abdur-Razzaqs diaries Black and White Pictures courtesy Michel Polizzi Read Also: Vijayanagara: The Empire that Vanished! by VK Joshi All color images under license with

The Islamic Influence by Ashish Nangia Though it had been the subject of marauding Muslim raids since the 8th century A.D., it was not until 1192 A.D. that Delhi got its first Muslim ruler - Qutb-ud-Din Aibak - the founder of the so-called Slave or Mamluk dynasty. A combination of superior tactics and weaponry and the infighting amongst the region's Hindu princedoms combined to make the forces of Islam irresistible, much like in the rest of the civilized world. It is also accepted that raids for land or booty were later 'translated' into more acceptable crusades for conversion of the infidel by many contemporary writers - and this could be one reason for the new Muslim rulers to feverishly start building activity as another sign of their missionary zeal. Thus the Muslim dominance in India starts with the Slave Dynasty (1192 A.D.) and goes on till the British achieved pre-eminence in the early 19th century. In succession, this translates into the following dynasties at Delhi: Slave (1192-1246 A.D.), Khilji (1290-1320 A.D.), Tughlaq (1320-1413 A.D.), Sayyid (1414-1444 A.D.), Lodi (1451-1557 A.D.) and finally the great Mughals. Muslim building types Throughout, Muslim rule was marked by spectacular monuments, many of which count as among the finest in the world. Islamic building types may be divided into two main categories: a) religious and b) secular buildings. Religious Buildings To use a quote: "The fundamental Islamic dogma is the unity of God (Allah) and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammed - His chosen one who lived from c. 570-632. The essence of God is inapprehensible and knowledge of Him depends upon the ninety-nine names which He gives Himself in His revelations. The supreme revelation is the Koran, dictated to Muhammed. As the book of Law, the Koran spells out the conditions for submission (Islam) and the consequent moral obligations of the believer (Muslim), the Five Pillars of Islam: affirmation of the Creed, prayer1, fasting, alms-giving and pilgrimage. 2

It is the pre-eminence of prayer that dominates much religious architecture in Islam. The Koran lays down a precise ritual wherein the prayer mat is on the axis (qibla) towards Mecca. Thus the principal public place of worship - the mosque or masjid - must provide for the considerable number of mats used as a community, especially at the Friday (juma) noon prayers. From these constraints a mosque-form begins to evolve - a large rectangular enclosure on one end of which is a wall articulating the qibla by means of a central recession (mihrab). The principal vertical features are minarets or towers at corners (from which the faithful are called to prayer). A lecturn for the Koran and a pulpit (minbar) to the right of the mihrab complete the basic furniture. The second major religious building type was the tomb, hitherto unknown in India. The tomb as a form made a modest beginning with small canopies over the graves of Sufi saints, and soon led to the erection of increasingly complex structures culminating, in India, in the monumental mausoleums of the Mughal emperors. Secular structures Having conquered by war, the Muslims were very conscious of the need for strong fortifications and these often reflect parallel developments in the West - influence being derived from the Holy Land - the Middle East. Gradually these defensive forts developed into cities in which a large number of other structures were built - wells, palaces, stables and halls of audience. A fusion of cultures - Indo-Islamic Architecture "Nothing could illustrate more graphically the religious and racial diversity, or emphasize more decisively the principles underlying the consciousness of each community, than the contrast between their respective places of worship, as represented by the mosque on the one hand, and the temple on the otherCompared with the clarity of the mosque, the temple is an abode of mystery; the courts of the former are open to light and air, with many doorways, inviting publicity, the latter encloses 'a phantasma of massive darkness', having somber passages leading to dim cells, jealously guarded and remote ... architecturally the mosque is wholly visible and intelligible, while the temple is not infrequently introspective, complex and indeterminate." 3 "On the one hand was the rhythmic mind of the Hindu, on the other the formal mind of the Musulman." 4

These quotes from a venerable early architectural historian serve to highlight the utter difference between Muslim and Hindu building types. There were other variations apart from the merely formal: the presence of carving in Hindu temples which was forbidden in Islam, decorative lettering on mosques and tombs which was unknown in Hindu art and architecture, the Hindu propensity for a single stone and the Muslim penchant for inlay work. However in spite of this wide gulf, over the years a certain symbiosis did come into being between Muslim designers and master-builders and the Hindu craftsmen who carried out their bidding. Both benefited from the other's knowledge and what slowly evolved was a distinct new style of architecture - Persian in inspiration but very Indian in execution. Long referred to as Saracenic, it is now more properly termed Indo-Islamic. We will trace the development of Indo-Islamic architecture from its crude beginnings in the early 12th century to its heyday. It is not just a story about architecture, it is a whole new civilization developing in the fertile plains of India which left an indelible mark on its future. October 2, 2001 1 My highlights 2 Tadgell, Christopher The History of Architecture in India Penguin Books (India) Ltd., New Delhi, 1990. 3 Brown, Percy Indian Architecture (Islamic Period) D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1975. 4 ibid. The Towers of God by Ashish Nangia In 1192, fresh from his victory over the brave but futile resistance of the Rajputs1, Muhammed Ghori left as his viceroy in Delhi Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, who was to become the first Sultan in the Slave Dynasty.2 After the death of Ghori, Qutb-ud-Din lost no time in declaring himself the ruler and embarked upon a vigorous campaign to quell dissidence, both in his home cities in Afghanistan as well as in and around Delhi. Recognizing the strategic value of the city, Qutb-udDin is credited with being the first to realize that 'he who holds Delhi rules India'.3 There were two ways of consolidating power - militarily and theocratically. Once the immediate military aims were achieved, Qutb-ud-Din set about to establish himself not just as a marauding invader, but a proselytizing missionary. The Quwwatu'l Islam The first mosque in India, the Quwwatu'l Islam (The Might of Islam) was constructed by destroying, in Qutb-ud-Din's own words, 27 Hindu and Jain temples in the region. The mosque originally consisted of a rectangular court 43.2 m by 33 m, enclosed by colonnaded cloisters. This enclosure formed the heart of the mosque, delineating a space where the faithful could kneel to pray.

It is with a closer examination of the columns that the otherwise undistinguished mosque begins to assume significance. Dismantled from temples, the columns still betray a riot of carving - human forms, gods and goddesses, flora and fauna, jewelry and other motifs - which was characteristically Hindu, but was expressly forbidden in Islamic architectural expression.4 The shortage of both time and money forced the Muslim ruler to reuse inherently sacrilegious elements. A compromise was effected by knocking off the faces of the deities and other human and animal forms. The result is a curious combination - a structure which is architectonically a mosque with apparently vandalized Hindu components. The riot of defaced carving is complemented with the difference in the columns - they came from not one, but several demolished temples. Above the cloisters rise imperfect corbelled domes - the result of Hindu craftsmen striving to erect a form of which they had no prior experience. With the cloisters complete, it was time to define the qibla or the axis along which lay Mecca. This was done by erecting a stone screen of five arches, the central one the highest at 16 m, flanked on each side by two smaller ones. Ogee-shaped, the arches are again imperfect as they are made by corbelling stone rather than by wedge-shaped voussoirs. Carved in alternating bands of inscriptions and arabesque ornamentation, the hand of the Hindu craftsman is again evident in the sinuous carving as well as serpentine, floral motifs which sneak in every so often. This mosque was later extended and enlarged by two subsequent rulers, Iltutmish and Ala-ud-Din Khilji, who between them nearly quadrupled the size of the original enclosure.

The Qutb Minar The mosque and its ancillaries finished, Qutb-ud-Din laid the foundation of the world-famous Qutb Minar. Intended to serve a double function - both as a minaret for the mosque as well as the most visible symbol of his growing power, the Qutb with a height of 72.5 m is the highest stone tower in the world.

Repaired and added to numerous times by successive rulers, the Qutb today consists of five storeys, each distinct. The lowest has alternately circular and triangular fluting, the second circular, the third triangular, while the fourth and fifth are mostly plain. Each storey is articulated by a balcony, projecting on a system of stalactite pendentives - this feature appearing for the first time in India and no doubt imported from classical Islamic construction.

The Qutb and its associated structures today is the most visible and famous landmark of Delhi, at par with Taj Mahal. Thousands of tourists, both Indian and foreign, swarming the site each day testify to its appeal. However, perhaps more important, in the evolution of the history of Indian architecture, it holds a unique place. This was the first time that Hindu craftsmen and Muslim builders allied together. It could be asserted that the result was forms and details confused and hesitant, structurally incompetent and formally subject to a myriad of influences. Yet at no time does the Qutb complex lose its magnificence, and we see in this first stumbling step the beginnings of a long association between the two contrary cultures of Islam and Hinduism. This was to result in an architecture which was undoubtedly Islamic but distinctly sub-continental - a true fusion between Muslim sensibilities and Hindu capabilities. And ever in the future, there was the Qutb, a lofty symbol of God's will, enclosing between itself and its counterpart5 the 'entire paradise of God's world'.6 October 31, 2001 Images under license with 1. This was the famous battle against Prithviraj Chauhan, the apparently magnanimous ruler of Delhi, who had defeated Ghori twice earlier, but in a display of incredible ignorance, let him go free each time. 2. The word 'slave' here has no demeaning connotations as capable servants were highly valued and often rose to positions of great responsibility, especially in military service. 3. Brown, Percy Indian Architecture (Islamic Period) D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1975.5 4. It is to be noted that in 'classical' Islamic architecture in Persia, decoration took the form of very geometric carving - arabesque - in intricate patterns, as well as verses from the Koran. The depiction of living form - human or not - was strictly prohibited. 5. A similar Islamic tower in Spain 6. Brown, Percy Indian Architecture (Islamic Period) D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1975 Consolidation and Continuation : The Beginnings of An Indo-Islamic Culture by Ashish Nangia

The Qutb was the first monumental stamp of Islamic architecture in India and was the start of a long relationship between indigenous craftsmen and their Mamluk masters. The grandiosity of its concept encouraged several rulers to continue adding to the structure and adding further stages. The Arhai-din-ka Jhompra Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish (A.D. 1211-1236), succeeding to the throne after Qutb-ud-Din's death in a freak polo accident, was an energetic builder. The first of his notable works was the addition of a facade to the Arhai-din ka Jhompra (literally, hut of two-and-a-half days) mosque built by his predecessor at the military encampment of Ajmer in Rajasthan.

Built on the same principles as the Quwwatu'l Islam at Delhi, this mosque at Ajmer is larger. The faade is similar to the one at the Qutb, but here the similarity ends. The central arch at Ajmer is straighter - Tudor Gothic - and the side arches are multifoil and cusped, a common feature in other Islamic work outside India. The main stylistic difference is evident in the It was not long, however, before several other additions and alterations were made on the same site. The first of these was by Iltutmish, who doubled the size of the original enclosure of the Quwwatu'l Islam mosque, and added another screen of five arches to define the qibla (the axis towards Mecca). This screen, though superficially the same as in the original mosque, has better

stood the ravages of time. The main differences are in the detail, with the carving using a purer Islamic vocabulary, though here too, in the sinous curves, the hand of the indigenous craftsman is seen. The floriform low relief at the Qutb gives way to a far more geometric, rigid style. This is by no means an advance over the Qutb mosque. The arches seem almost a regression to a purer, stricter form of Islam with their monolithic and sombre appearance. Two broken minarets over the main arch resemble the Qutb in their flutings. The Tombs of Iltutmish and Sultan Ghari With these two works, there appeared for the first time in India a strange and novel way of laying the dead to eternal rest - burying them with a tomb as a monumental cenotaph. Iltutmish constructed his own tomb as well as that of his son Nasir-ud-din Mohammed - the socalled Sultan Ghari or 'Sultan of the Cave'. This is probably due to the subterranean tomb chamber. The octagonal platform above was probably intended to support a pillared pavilion, the whole of which has disappeared or was never built. This platform was surrounded by a square masonry arcade on a high plinth, and according to Percy Brown, it has "such a grim and martial appearance that one of its more remote purposes may have been to serve as some kind of advanced outwork to the main fortress of the capital" * The second main contribution of Iltutmish was his own tomb, a little to the north-west of the enlarged mosque at the Qutb, built a little before A.D. 1235. A square 42 feet in side and with a height of almost 30 feet, its plain and unadorned exteriors belie its interior - the whole of which is covered from top to bottom on all four sides by rich carvings almost rivaling Hindu temple sculpture on the sandstone-clad walls. The cenotaph and the three arches of the mehrab towards the west(marking the direction of Mecca) are both in marble, again a riot of inscriptions from the Quran. Architecturally speaking, Iltutmish's tomb is interesting as it reveals quite clearly the first attempt in India to solve the 'dome on a square' problem - or in other words, how do you support a circular shape on a square base? In this case, a 'squinch' was employed - a half-arch/dome spanning across the corners of the square base and making the square an octagon. This can be repeated to transform the octagon into a sixteen-sided figure on which the base of the dome may rest. That the dome, if ever fully built, subsequently collapsed was a testimony to the fact that the it was imperfectly constructed - however an important start had been made and future attempts in this direction were to grow ever more confident. Balban's Tomb After the death of Iltutmish, there is little to be seen architecturally from the early years of the Delhi Sultanate. The main reason for this were the squabbling successors of the Sultan ruling for too short a time for any effective architectural patronage. There was thus an interregnum of 60 years - with one exception. This is the tomb of Sultan Balban of the extremely short-lived 'House of Balban' (A.D. 1266-1287). Now a ruined and totally unremarkable structure in the extreme south of Delhi, this tomb is notable because it introduced for the first time in India the principle of the true arch with radiating voussoirs. This is not only a significant structural advance, but also a socio-cultural one. For it indicated that slowly but surely the Muslim rulers were ceasing to regard North India as invaded territory. Delhi

was becoming a city of repute attracting men of art and learning, craftsmen, poets and historians. The early steps of creating a distinct Indo-Islamic culture were being taken. November 11, 2001 * Brown, Percy Indian Architecture (Islamic Period) D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1975. Images of Arhai-din-ka-Jhompra by Bourne and Shepherd, 1880's* The Megalomania of Ala-ud-Din Khilji by Ashish Nangia After Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish, the Delhi Sultanate was marked by a long period of brief rules and frequent internecine warfare. This interregnum was to last for almost sixty years before any stable government could be re-established. Not surprisingly, there was little in the way of building achievement except for a few scattered tombs at Multan. The wars of succession and coronation left little scope to devote time or energy to artistic and architectural patronage. Some fifty years after Iltutmish, the Khiljis, a dynasty of Afghanized Turks from Ghazni, seized power in Delhi. With the third in the line, Ala-ud-Din (A.D. 1296-1316) a stable government was at last installed in Delhi. Ala-ud-Din was a prodigious builder whose appetite for building was matched by his prowess in war. His most notable efforts, apart from shifting his capital from Lal Kot to Siri, were again to be found at the site of the Qutb Minar - which by its very magnificence had become over the years both an inspiration as well as a challenge to do better. The Great Alai Minar Ala-ud-Din, true to form, felt compelled to increase even further the size of the Quwwatu'l Islam mosque. His scheme called for increasing the size of the enclosure four times, providing ceremonial entrance gateways on each side, and a great minar, twice the size of the Qutb - the Alai Minar. It would have been clear to anyone less megalomanic - 'with a vision less obscured by selfexaltation 1 - that such a grandiose project would be impossible in the Sultan's lifetime. Indeed, the Alai Minar today is a stump (albeit a magnificent one - we can well imagine the proportions of the tower had it ever been finished), its rubble core clearly showing as it rises up to one story. The Alai Darwaza The only part of Ala-ud-Din's scheme which was completed was the southern ceremonial entrance - named the Alai Darwaza after its builder. It is clear from its appearance and construction that a fresh new influence was at work - this is a piece of Muslim architecture hitherto unknown in India.

Historians have traced its genealogy to the architecture found in Asia Minor under the rule of the Seljuks in the early centuries of the second millennium. The breakup of the Seljuk empire under the weight of Mongol invasions caused craftsmen and builders to be scattered far and wide, and among the places offering sanctuary was the Delhi Sultanate. Because of its revolutionary construction, the Alai Darwaza served as a model for many of its successors. The first innovation in the gateway was the system of walling, alternating between one course of stretchers - stone laid with its longer ends facing outward - and one course of headers - stone laid with its longer end going deep into the wall. The header course enabled the walling to penetrate into the rubble core and thus make the wall as a whole stronger. This method of walling was to continue and was a typical characteristic of Mughal building. The second innovation was the true arch. 2 This imported arcuated tradition was to play an important role as it was to provide the prototype for successive Sultanate tombs. In form the Alai Darwaza is a rectangular building on high plinth into which steps have been cut to access the interior. The three outer faces are very similar with a tall arch over the steps. The plinth is carved in bands, and the wall surface above is divided into two stories, each further subdivided into rectangular panels. The lower of these panels have a recessed arch while the upper ones into smaller rectangles. At each point, the articulation is marked by a mixture of sandstone and marble arabesque and decorative carving. However, by far the most imposing feature of these facades is the central arch, rising to nearly the whole height of the structure. In shape it is rare - a horse-shoe or keel arch. Around its outer rim is a band of inscribed white marble. The intrados or the inner rim of the arch shows its most distinctive feature - a fringe of lotus-bud carving. 3 The inner faade, facing the mosque and Qutb Minar, is different. For one, the opening is not a keel arch but a true semi-circular one, and for another it is clear that in its sensual and plastic decoration the indigenous craftsman was given a much freer hand. The interior of the structure is no less remarkable for its technological innovation. First started in the tomb of Iltutmish (see previous article), the weight of the dome is transferred to the square base by the same mechanism - the squinch. In this case, the squinch consists of five recessed arches gracefully transforming the square into the octagon, and the octagon into a sixteen sided figure. Among the other architectural work of Ala-ud-Din, little remains except fragmentary and crumbling structures. And though the work of the Khiljis was not entirely confined to the capital city of Delhi, the influence of local workmen in the provinces and the eventual decline of the Khilji dynasty meant that these were never as remarkable nor of as high a standard as the Alai Darwaza at the Qutb. December 2, 2001 1. Brown, Percy Indian Architecture (Islamic Period) D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1975, p.16 2. This was not the first time that a true arch had been used in India - it had been used in Balban's tomb before - but this time it was employed in a far more influential building.

3. This was originally thought to be a fringe of spear-heads but now are generally accepted as lotus buds. The Tughlaq Years by Ashish Nangia It was a time of elation. It was a time of rediscovery. From the corners of the land they came, the master builders, for a new Sultan had taken his seat. And in his old years, he had seen history. Seen empires rise and fall. And was laying the foundation of what he hoped would be an empire that would last far beyond his approaching death. Of the three rulers of the Tughlaq dynasty, the first, Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq (1320-1325 A.D.) was already aged when he became Sultan, and ruled for barely five years. The warlike conditions prevailing throughout his reign are best exemplified by his architecture, which though secular or religious, always has strong military overtones, being able to be adapted for a spirited defence if necessary. The major efforts of this man were concentrated on the building of his citadel, the city of Tughlaqabad, one of the historical seven cities of Delhi. Today a neglected but magnificent ruin.

According to Percy Brown, all that remains of this great enterprise is a haunting scene of savage splendor...Nothing resembling this picture (of treasures and palaces) can now be seen in the huge masses of broken masonry, the unadorned nature of which suggests that the project took more the form of a stern and practical stronghold, than a work of architectural significance. The citadel integrates outer defence with the inner city buildings, though little remains of the latter but scattered ruins. The massive outer walls were sloping, following approximately the topography of the land, sited on a high outcrop of the southern Delhi ridge. At close intervals are semi-circular bastions with eyelets for archers to look down and shoot at the enemy. Little can be identified within these walls, but it is clear that there was some kind of royal palace

with its accompanying residences, rooms for the women, halls of audience as well as a connecting passageway to the monument just opposite, Ghiyas-ud-Dins tomb. The Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-Din

In stark contrast to the dilapidated condition of the fortress, the tomb of Ghiyas-ud-Din is almost perfectly preserved. This originally stood in the middle of an artificial lake, and the arched causeway which connected it to the citadel has now been replaced, with the drying up of the water body, by an offshoot of Mathura Road leading to the Qutb. The tomb itself is almost like a miniature fortress, with sloping crenellated outer walls, complete with eyelets for archery. It is almost like a rallying point for a last, hopeless defence, much in the manner of Sultan Gharis tomb.

The plan of this fortress-tomb is an irregular pentagon, with a bastion at each angle of its outer walls. The tomb walls are clad for the most part with red sandstone and the dome with marble. The most distinctive feature, however, are its sloping walls, about which much excited scholarly discussion has taken place. The commonly accepted view is that the tomb is an offshoot, or a descendant, of a similar contemporaneous tomb at Multan (in modern Pakistan) of Shah Rukn-i-Alam. In the latter, the use of sun-dried brick made sloping walls a structural necessity, much like

Egyptian temple pylons, but this feature was transferred unchanged to the tomb of Ghiyas-ud-Din, where stone was used for the walls. The tomb continues the lotus-bud fringes found in the arch of the Alai Darwaza, and there are many other stylistic similarities. Another interesting feature is the presence of a structurally redundant lintel over the arched gateways. It is almost as if the indigenous craftsmen, still not trusting the true arch as a means of support, were being safe by introducing a lintel. That this lintel also introduces an element of style was incidental. It is in this tomb that we first begin to get a hint of what would follow in the coming centuries. There is the same vocabulary - begun in the Alai Darwaza - of red sandstone cladding and white marble. The massive outer walls, made for defence, could be easily toned down to graceful perimeter guards. Today, the tomb is overrun by monkeys, hundreds of them at a time, bereft of tourists unlike the nearby Qutb, yet its importance cannot be denied, the last stand of a Sultan who was destined to die at the hands of his son. The site of Tughlaqabad is desolate, ruined and magnificent - very much like the history of the Sultanate which set the base for Muslim rule in India. The Bara-Khamba Barakhamba Road in modern Delhi is one of the major entrances to Connaught Place, and its high buildings with corporate offices and banks contributes mainly to the citys burgeoning skyline. It is also famous for Modern School (Barakhamba Road) which has makes a regular contribution to the ranks of Indias rich and famous every year. However, the name Bara-khamba or Twelve Pillars derives from the house of a nobleman originally erected there, of which little remains. The surviving evidence is of interest because this is one of the few cases when secular architecture - as opposed to religious or military - has been found in any degree of preservation this far back in time. A reconstruction of the house would show it enclosed in a high perimeter wall containing an open courtyard with rooms around, a roof terrace, a court with a chabootra or platform for sitting in the open, as well as a quirky three-story high tower, probably used for looking at the city. Sultan Mohammed Tughlaq (1325-1351 A.D.) in whose reign this was built, was not known for much else except his wacky, ill-timed policy decisions which, visionary though they may have been, lacked the authority and persistence of the Sultan to make them really work. Among these were the shifting of the Capital to Daulatabad in the Deccan (to administer the empire from a central location). One side effect of this was the undoing of all the good work of the previous generations in Delhi, which became for a time desolate and abandoned. A significant proportion of the population died en route to Daulatabad, and another percentage on the way back, some years later, when it was apparent that the scheme had failed. The introduction of token money instead of precious metals also had similar results, with confusion and even chaos resulting for a time. The throne of Delhi, emasculated by years of incessant warfare in the Deccan and the profligacies of Muhammed bin Tughlaq, had its coffers nearly empty by the time Firoz Shah (1351-1388 A.D.) came to power. This ruler leaves behind a wealth of architectural evidence that is a testimony both

to the age in which they were built, as well as to his propensity for architecture. Today, Firoz Shah Kotla and Hauz Khas are more famous, respectively, as a cricket ground and the feeding grounds of Delhis hoi-polloi, but they stand as mute witnesses to the dying flickers of the Sultanate. These, and more, in the next column. February 23, 2002 Firoz Shah and After by Ashish Nangia After the capricious reign of Muhammed bin Tughlaq, his cousin, the devout (and even bigoted!) Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388 A.D.) became Sultan. Firoz Shah inherited, thanks largely to the disastrous policies of his predecessor, nearly empty coffers and a disintegrating empire. This did not stop him from embarking on a vigorous campaign of building, and in the words of a contemporary historian he was eventually responsible for 1200 gardens around Delhi...200 towns, 40 mosques, 30 villages, 30 reservoirs, 50 dams, 100 hospitals, 100 public baths and 150 bridges. These claims are no doubt exaggerated but underscore his interest in architecture. In his own words ...among the Gifts that God has bestowed on a desire to erect public buildings. * The architecture of Firoz Shah is stern, utilitarian, almost tragic - at times hauntingly lovely (Hauz Khas Madrasa by night), at times warningly forbidding. This is due in no small measure to its rough exposed finish (the glazed tiles having come off a long time ago) as well as the lack of skilled masons and sufficient capital. The unfortunate and appalling state of neglect of the monuments today does nothing to ameliorate this perception.

A new Capital

Firoz Shah built a new capital city on the banks of the Yamuna, called Firoz Shah Kotla, thereby abandoning the old fort-city of Tughlaqabad. Apart from the desire of the new Sultan to make his mark, this decision could also have been prompted by an increasingly irregular water supply at Tughlaqabad. The fort itself was fairly straightforward, using common-sense building principles used the world over for buildings of a similar type. The kings quarters as well as those of his wives and concubines were situated along the river-front. Within the perimeter walls of the fort were structures serving as barracks, armouries, rooms for servants, halls for audience, an imposing mosque, as well as public and private baths, a stepped well or baoli, and an Ashokan pillar removed from Ambala and mounted on top of a pyramidal three-tiered construction. Symbolically, this was an icon of the Sultans supremacy in North India, very much like the Gupta Iron Pillar in the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque at the Qutb. Of Firoz Shahs numerous mosques, the chief ones are the Kali masjid, the Begumpuri masjid, Kalan masjid and Khirki masjid at Jahanpanah. This last is interesting not only for its cruciform plan, but also because it is one of the few examples of covered mosques in India. The congregational nature of worship in Islam has generally resulted in mosques having a large common open space in which to pray. But the roofing of the Khirki masjid and dividing of the interior spaces into various small courtyards - perhaps to avoid the scorching heat of North India in the summer - effectively broke up the congregation into small groups. Whatever the reason for this unusual masjid, it was apparently not very successful as a building type and was not repeated. Today the Khirki masjid has its own village - Khirki village - in Delhi, near modern Saket. Indeed, from the road, the mosque can barely be glimpsed. The narrow paths of the village twist and turn until suddenly you are face to face with an imposing structure mounted on an impressively high

plinth. The village chokes the mosque, encroaches on its space - but perhaps the very unexpectedness of the building is the reason for its powerful solemnity. A failure as a building type, the Khirki Masjid today is an architectural gem tucked away in a forgotten corner of one of Indias largest metropolises. The Madrassa at Hauz Khas To be forgotten - is not the fate of the Madrassa or religious school - at Hauz Khas - having for company some of the most exclusive (and expensive) restaurants and boutiques in the city. The story of modern Hauz Khas village is all too familiar - of an urban village being hijacked for its (initially) low property prices. Today Hauz Khas sells you India - if youre a foreigner - neatly packaged, right from antiques from Kerala and Tamil Nadu to fabrics to paintings, and when youre tired of it all, there are the restaurants to relax. And spend some more money. All this activity, of course, does not detract from the solemnity of the monument. Originally the site of a large water-storage tank built by Ala-udDin Khilji, a large school, mosque and his own tomb were added by Firoz Shah. These buildings are laid out in an L shape on a high rocky outcrop overlooking the tank. Firoz Shahs tomb is at the junction of this L, and is also the highest building there, surmounted by a dome with its interior finely stuccoed. Exterior surface decorations have long disappeared, of course, so what we are left with is a network of buildings, almost barrack-like in their disposition, with a mosque at one end, and teaching cells at the other, the whole composition hinging on Firoz Shahs tomb as the pivot. Jaali windows overlooking the tank (and the setting sun) make for a fine place to spend summer evenings, and the whole complex nestles in the midst of a forest - the Deer Park at Hauz Khas. The major buildings of Firoz Shahs reign would end here - except for one example. This is the tomb of Khan-i-Jahan Telengani, an official at the court. His tomb, though otherwise decaying, marks a radical design innovation in the sense that for the first time the plan was octagonal instead of square. This may have been done to facilitate the placing of the dome at the summit, which would be far easier over an octagon than over a square. Whatever the reason, this tomb would be the forerunner and model for tombs of the next two dynasties, each of whom would refine it further, and persist even after the Mughal invasion of India. The Death of Delhi In the last years of the 14th century, Delhi was invaded by the hordes of Timurlane, the grandson of the terrible Mongol scourge, Chengiz Khan. The decaying empire of the Tughlaqs could offer no more than feeble resistance, and thousands of citizens were slaughtered. Timur left behind him a shattered and emasculated city, which would not rise to its former glory for many decades hence.

March 10, 2002 * Fatuhat-i-Firoz Shah (Elliot Vol III P. 382) The End of the Delhi Sultanate by Ashish Nangia The invasion of Timurlane (see previous article) left Delhi sacked and in ruins. The once mighty city of the Delhi Sultanate, home to kings and dynasties, was left a shattered wreck. It took more than a century for the city to regain a semblance of its former prestige, first under the Sayyids and then under the Lodis. This was, as it would eventually turn out, a mere pause, for the death knell of the Sultanate had long been sounded, and it only remained for Babur to invade India to lay the foundation of that mightiest of dynasties in India the great Mughals. Still, this event was some years away. Building work in Delhi continued after a fashion, yet the prodigious output of the previous dynasties in terms of capitals, fortresses and civil work was replaced by a more somber, funerary architecture of tombs and mosques. In the words of Percy Brown, Scores of large tombs therefore arose within its (Delhis) neighborhood, so much so that in the course of time the country around the capital was converted into a large necropolis.* The Sultans and the Nobles

A closer examination shows that we can classify the tombs built during this period (15th and 16th centuries) into two types based on their plan. The first, based on an octagonal plan, were derivations from the original of Khan-iJahan Telegani (see previous article). The main features common to all tombs of this type may be summed up as : an octagonal plan with a verandah with an arched colonnade on all sides, a projecting eave and a height of one storey. This building would have a dome on top, of varying height, and sometimes kiosks or chhattris on the roof. With minor modifications such as raising the height of the dome to make it more visible, these tombs carried on with little major modification. The culmination would probably be Sher Shahs magnificent tomb in Sasaram, Bihar, which will be discussed in a later column. One notable addition in the tomb of Sikander Lodi (died 1517 A.D.) was the introduction of a double dome, for the first time in India. A double dome consists of an inner and outer shell, and this innovation becomes necessary when the height of the dome is increased to create a more imposing elevation. Unfortunately, the height of the inner chamber also increases, making it all out of proportion to the

inner spaces. To prevent this, an inner, lower shell is added to the dome.

The other type of tomb of tomb was square in plan, without a verandah, and going up to three stories in height, or rather, the illusion of stories, as this effect was mostly given by lines of stones and arches as decorative elements, to make the exterior proportion acceptable, whereas the interior in reality was a double or triple height space. The faade had a central rectangle articulated by an arched doorway, and the roof, as in the octagonal type, had a dome. It seems clear enough that the octagonal tombs were reserved for the royal line, i.e. the sultans (examples being those of Mubarak Sayyid, Muhammed Sayyid, and Sikander Lodi), whereas the square tombs were for high-ranking nobles. However, while the octagonal tombs are all identifiable, the square ones are known merely by their common names and it is not known any longer who lies buried in them. Mosques

The experiment with covered-court mosques having being hastily jettisoned after the Khirki Masjid, a more conventional mosque form was resorted to in the Lodi period. Apart from the mosques attached to tombs, one large, independent structure which was to be the forerunner of a whole series of mosques was constructed during the reign of Sikander Lodi the Moth-ki-Masjid. The complete series, chronologically, is (i) the mosque attached to the Bara Gumbad, 1494, (ii) Moth-ki-Masjid c.1505 (iii) Jamala Mosque or Jamali-Kamali, 1536, (iv) QilaI-Kuhna Masjid c.1550. The last was built as Sher Shahs private chapel and is a gem, the culmination of this mosque type.

A look at the first in the series, the mosque with the Bara Gumbad, shows the genesis of the form, with five arches receding arches in the faade and domes on top. However, the faulty proportions as well as clumsy handling of the arches with their weak curves indicate the hesitancy of the designers in building a new typology.

The next mosque in the series, the Moth-ki-Masjid, shows the rapid crystallization of the earlier concept. Firstly, it is considerably larger than its predecessor. Secondly, the articulation of the recessed arches is far more adept. Thirdly, embellishment has been done using elegant niches on the columns abutting the arches. Another important feature is the use of better material and color, as if the masons were trying for something more permanent and forceful.

The third of the examples of this type of tomb, and the last to be discussed here, is a gem of a structure originally called the Jamala tomb, but now popularly called Jamali-Kamali. But the story of Jamali-Kamali lies elsewhere, for before it was finished, a cataclysmic event had taken place the third battle of Panipat in 1526 A.D., when a small but well-led force of cavalry and artillery led by Babur defeated the fractious Afghan nobles led by the last Lodi Sultan. And so passed into history the Delhi Sultanate. It had a long history, starting from the early days of Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, passing through numerous dynasties, sultans, intrigues, wars and defeats. The Delhi Sultanate was dead, but it had left behind its legacies. Delhi would forever be the most important city in the north, the master of whom would rule India. The city itself was dotted with symbols of kings fallen and risen again, of victories and triumphs, of despair, and in its silent tombs, of eventual death.

May 4, 2002 * Brown, Percy Indian Architecture (Islamic Period) D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co. Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1975, p. 26 Images under license with Integration and Absorption Regional Variations of Islamic Architecture by Ashish Nangia Islamic architecture in and around Delhi retained much of the characteristics in both form and detailing of Persian Islam, with only the court at Delhi able to attract and pay the best Muslim architects and artisans from abroad. As one moves away from the main power centre, the regional Islamic satraps whether governors of the Delhi Sultanate or newly-independent Sultan patronized an architecture which slowly began to assume a very different identity. This identity was not constant throughout, but varied from place to place, and depended chiefly on :

the distance from Delhi, which determined the level of dilution of pure Islamic principles; the economic condition of the regime, responsible for the quality of finished and materials used; the local artisans available in the region and their specialization and experience; and local Hindu architecture, which served as direct or indirect inspiration for Muslim examples.

If the Qutb Minar merely had sinuous carving which hinted at the Hindu craftsman at work, examples further away from Delhi illustrated both a riot of carving as well as formal aspects directly influenced by Hindu architecture. The main areas that produced a substantial body of architecture and can be said to have evolved a style of their own are Gujarat, Punjab, Bengal, Malwa, some parts of south India and Kashmir. Gujarat

The Muslim rulers of Gujarat produced architecture on as grand a scale as their Hindu and Jain predecessors. As in Delhi, the first building material for the earliest mosques and tombs came from the demolition of temples in the area.

It was with the reign of Ahmed Shah (1411-42), that the city of Ahmedabad was founded.

Some of the most spectacular architectural remains at Ahmedabad are the stepped wells or wavs. More than simply a means of bathing, these wavs were associated with stylistic ritual which spanned back to the time of the Rajputs. Imposing steps lead down to the water table and the vertical exposed walls were treated with rich carving. (Images show Adalaj - an architectural wonder, a seven-storied underground Step well built by Queen Rudabai during the rein of Ahmed Shah.) The mosques at Ahmedabad show a development from the relatively primitive, with an open faade, to the arcaded screen type prevalent in Delhi, with carved pillars visibly produced by Hindu craftsmen discernible through the arcade. Of the second, arcaded type of mosque, the two most impressive examples are the mosque of Ahmed Shah and the Jami-Masjid. Ahmed Shahs mosque has original Hindu pillars behind a simple arcaded faade, the central arch of which is flanked by two rather bloated minarets rising from the ground, almost like pilasters. The form of the minarets, indeed, brings to mind the battlements of Rajput fort rather than the graceful tapering classical Islamic minaret. In the Jami-Masjid, the minarets do not become any more graceful, but their power depends mainly on their massive proportions and the riot of carving on their faces. The base of the minarets is covered by what seems to be almost temple shikharas rising one upon the other, vocabulary extensively used in a classical temple. Thus while the mosques retain all the design elements of a Islamic prayer hall, in detail they resemble, and are indeed part of, the ethos of Gujarat architecture in the same tradition of the carved temples at Mount Abu. At a later date, the successors of Ahmed Shah were noted for a number of mortuary complexes or rauzas, consisting chiefly of a tomb and mosque face to face.

A notable example. A notable example is the rauza of Rani Separi. Here the mosque face is without a screen, and entrance definition is achieved by means of two stubby minarets at each end of the mosque. Carved balconies, the function of which is not clear, project from the south side. Both the mosque and tomb are finely detailed with the by-now familiar carving. And so, to conclude, we can say that Muslim architecture in Gujarat is characterized mainly by its carving, so unlike classical Islam, and in the manner in which the carving is depicted. Carving here takes on a sinuous, almost sensuous quality, a dream-world of fragrance, gardens and sweet herbs, relaxing the strict dogmas of Islam against decoration and depiction of living form. Thus Islam in India generated not only an imperial style, but many regional variations, among which that of Gujarat is one of the richest. July 1, 2002 Adalaj images under license with The Pleasure Palaces of Mandu by Ashish Nangia The province of Malwa, in modern Madhya Pradesh, had as its capital the ancient Hindu city of Dhar, about 24 miles north of Mandu, till it was conquered by the Delhi Sultanate by Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1305 A.D. and a governor installed in place. As with all conquests, among the first state buildings to come up were mosques, built with pillars taken from Hindu temples, very similar to the Quwwat-ulIslam mosque at the Qutb, Delhi.

The Plateau of Mandu The decline of the ruling power at Delhi after the sack Chronology detailing main events of the city by Timur prompted the Ghauri governor of Sultan Dilawar Khan Ghauri A.D. 1401 Mandu to declare his independence in A.D. 1401, with Sultan Hoshang Shah A.D. 1405-1434 Mahmud Shah A.D. 1436 Sultan Dilawar Khan declaring himself Shah.

(Contemporary of Rana Kumbha of Chittor) It was left to his son, Hoshang Shah, to shift the Malwa/Mandu annexed by Akbar A.D. 1569 capital from Dhar to the plateau of Mandu. Bounded on three sides by a rift valley, and overlooking the Narmada to the south from a height of 300 metres, the fortress of Mandu was virtually impregnable.

The fortress enclosed an area of approximately 12 square miles within walls over 25 miles in circumference. The inspirational landscape of Mandu, jutting out from the Vindhyas range, became the site of some of the finest provincial Islamic architecture, with mosques, madrassas and pleasure-palaces dotting the landscape. The Jami-Masjid at Mandu The Jami-Masjid near the centre of the Mandu plateau was one of the finest achievements of the Ghauri dynasty. A mosque, with its necessarily vast scale to accommodate numerous worshipers, is monumental by its nature, and to endow it with elements of humanism can be counted as a very difficult exercise in design. This problem has been fairly successfully addressed.

Of the elements that make up this mosque, the monumental entrance from the east is a fine exercise in elegance, with a main arched doorway flanked by two smaller openings. A squat yet well-proportioned dome crowns this entrance, with its profile being reflected in smaller domes over the cloisters surrounding the central court, their proportions being not unlike in profile to the so-called shoulder shaped contours of the shikharas of Orissan temples. The courtyard is surrounded on three sides by columned cloisters with galleries of majestic arches.

The whole building is faced with red sandstone, with little concession to decoration. Indeed, the only departure from sobriety is in the chattri inside the mosque, next to the mihrab, which shows influences from florid Gujarati architecture. Hoshang Shahs Tomb

To the south-west of the Jami-masjid lies Hoshang Shahs tomb, among the earliest Muslim buildings in India to be sheathed entirely in white marble, possibly exerting an influence on buildings to follow elsewhere, and documented fact says that Shah Jahan sent a team of surveyors here for case studies before commencing construction of the Taj Mahal. Asharfi Mahal Although little remains of the Asharfi Mahal, to the east of the Jami-masjid, it was an extraordinary achievement in its time, serving as a madrassa with open courts surrounded by cells for students on several levels. Here also are the remains of a seven-storey victory tower which collapsed in the 17th century echoing Ala-ud-dins megalomaniac flights of fancy near the Qutb. Hindola Mahal From the remains of Hoshang Shahs palace, it is clear that the whole area was divided into three zones ceremonials with halls of audience, the kings private chambers and the ubiquitous zenana, or womens chambers. The ceremonial zone was dominated by the Hindola Mahal literally swinging palace.

This vast longitudinal room enormous arches punctuating its length - and is uncharacteristically massive, with strongly battered walls adding to its ponderousness. One theory is that it was originally intended to have several more storeys above. The image to the right shows the interior of the Hindola Mahal. Pleasure at Mandu

Situated as it was on a plateau, with numerous water bodies through its length, and the home of a prosperous dynasty, Mandu became the site for various pleasure-palaces and resorts for royalty, be they for the women of the harem, the fine arts or hunting. In Mandu we have architecture dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure on a large scale, in the form of the Jahaz, Lal, Chappan, Baz Bahadur and Rupmati palaces.

The Jahaz Mahal, built by Mahmud Khilji, was a departure from the previously stolid and somber style at Mandu. The most striking thing about this monument is its location between two water bodies, the Kaphur Talao and the Munja Talao, which gives the building the appearance of floating on water, hence its name, literally the ship palace.

Architecturally, the building consists of a series of compartments and corridors over the Munja Talao, with terraces, kiosks and numerous open-air baths conforming to the lifestyle at Mandu, which was slowly sliding into decadence. The Jahaz Mahal proved an inspiration for later Khilji sultans to dot the landscape with their own pleasure pavilions and summer retreats. The esoteric character of Mandu later prompted the likeminded Mughal emperor Jahangir to spend a considerable amount on its maintenance. And so, even though the city of Mandu was eventually absorbed into the Mughal empire, its legend lives on as the city of Joy, and in the forests of the Vindhyas today, if you listen hard enough, echo the strains of the romantic tales of Rupmati and Baz Bahadur to this day. July 21, 2002 Brick and Bamboo at Bengal by Ashish Nangia

Chronology of Events Muhammed Bakhtiyar Khilji conquers Bengal A.D. 1193 Nasir-ud-Din Bughra Khan appointed Governor A.D. 1282 Shams-ud-Din Ilyas founds Purbiya dynasty A.D. 1352 Sher Shah invades Bengal A.D. 1537 Bengal absorbed into Akbars empire A..D. 1576

Curved Roof Form at Bengal

Bengal was one of the foremost provincial Islamic outposts, beginning with A.D. 1193, when Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji extended Muslim rule right down to the ancient capital of Gaur. It is interesting to note that it was in the same year that Qutb-ud-Din Aibak established the Sultanate in Delhi. The reason for this rapid conquest, when closer places like Malwa took many years to subdue, was principally that the Ganges provided a great waterway to facilitate the movement, and so hordes of troop transports could navigate the river with ease all the way down to its estuary.

The lack of building stone in Bengal meant that most construction was carried out in brick, of which there was an abundant supply, and this meant that no building was possible using the usual column-beam construction so characteristic of early Islamic structures. Instead, right from the beginning, arches were used to span spaces and to support the weight above. Brick thus lends Bengal architecture a style which is distinct, with its pointed arches and finishes so different from those in stone. Another remarkable feature which predominates is a curved roof form, no doubt derived from its bamboo predecessor. This curved roof was to prove very popular in north India in general, with later Rajput, Mughal and even Sikh architecture being influenced. The harsh climate of Bengal also means that antiquities decay rapidly; indeed, according to Fergusson: the climate of Bengal issingularly inimical to the preservation of architectural remains. If the roots of a tree of the fig kind once find a resting-place in any crevice of a building, its destruction is inevitable; and even without this, the luxuriant growth of the jungle hides the building so completely, that it is sometimes difficult to discover it always to explore it. 1 Of the pre-Islamic architecture, there are traces of Sena and Pala constructions in Gaur, which was long a Hindu capital city. Many fragments of Hindu architecture are still to be found, though not enough to accurately reconstruct the architectural style used. Their chief worth, however, is the influence they had on Islamic architecture in terms of short squat pillars used to support the superstructure above.

The architecture in Bengal can be further divided into two periods the first from the 13th to 15th century when it was a provincial outpost of the Delhi Sultanate, and the second in the 15th and 16th centuries, when the Bengal Sultanate was established. The first period is marked by construction influenced by Hindu remains, and the major traces of this are to found at Tribeni on the Hoogly river. The mosque and tomb of Jafar Khan Ghazi are adapted from the remains of a Hindu temple but have brick walls, as well as the earliest pointed arches in the province. In the nearby village of Chotta Pandua, the large ruined mosque is a similar mixture of arched and column-beam construction. The Adina Masjid

The Plan

View of Mehrab

The Adina Masjid at Pandua, built by Sultan Sikander Shah to celebrate his victory over and independence from the Delhi Sultanate, is impressive in size but lacks in architectural significance. Measuring a huge 507 feet by 285 feet, the central court is surrounded by three and five aisled enclosures supported by pillars of basalt. When complete, the mosque had no less than 378 brick dome, as well as a huge central pointed vault over the liwan. Most of these have collapsed, including the central vault, and so the Adina Masjid today consists of little more than a pile of ruins, marked by arches and crumbling walls, the whole reminiscent of a Greek or Roman city in ruin. Whatever be its architectural merits, the Adina mosque provided a valuable lesson in building in the inimical climate of Bengal, and with brick.

In the Eklakhi Tomb we see for the first time an Islamic curved roof inspired from the bamboo version, and the slight slope on the roof is a departure from traditional cubical construction and served to throw off rainwater. As befits an early example, the Eklakhi tomb remains rather tentative in plan as well as in execution. With strange proportions of the dome as well as the structure below, with a rather hesitant curved roof, the tomb nevertheless has stood the ravages of time, attesting to the efficacy of the curved roof as well as its stout construction. The Bengal Mosque

Once again, after the lessons of the Adina Mosque, the climate of Bengal proved to be a decisive factor in determining the plan. It was evident that a large open courtyard was useless in the long monsoons in Bengal. And so the courtyard was replaced by an enclosed hall. Once this principle had been established, a large number of mosques came up in and around the city of Gaur. Notable among these are the Chotta Sona and Bara Sona masjids. Both apparently had gilt applied to their curved roofs, which gives them their name literally, Golden Mosques.

One of the last of the mosque examples in the Qadam Rasul mosque, a rather smaller example with stocky basalt pillars supporting the arches above.

The mosque, according to Satish Grover, is flaccid and formless, but possesses nevertheless beauty in its robust proportions, in the aggressive outward thrust of the column bases, and indeed in the columns themselves which are divided into tiers, emphasizing their low height and posture. The Dakhil Darwaza, marking the entrance to the remodeled city of Gaur with its broad thoroughfares, as well as the Feroza Minar or Blue Tower marked some of the finest late examples of the Bengal style before the Ilyas Shahi dynasty succumbed to an Abyssinian mercenary in 1489. The days of Bengal producing fine provincial architecture were almost over. The invasion of Sher Shah further weakened the province and absorption by the mighty Mughal empire was inevitable. Yet the harsh climate of Bengal and the lack of building stone had combined to produce a style which was unique, and which, in the form of the curved roof, continues to have effect in the architecture of Sikh Gurudwaras even today. August 11, 2002 1. Fergusson, James History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1876. N.B. James Fergusson was one of the first British chroniclers of Indian Architecture, and certainly the first who took Indian architecture on it own merits. His book, though difficult as a read, offers, among other things, a first-hand account of India in the late 19th century. The Deccan,Gulbarga and Bidar by Ashish Nangia From a Beggar to a Prince The Delhi artists transported (forcibly ?) to Daulatabad by Muhammed bin-Tughlaq took the Sultanate style with them to the north-western Deccan but trade had long exposed the region to western Asia. The tale of Zafar Khan, the first ruler of Gulbarga, is eminently recitable. According to some accounts, Zafar Khan was a poor laborer who was nominated to the Sultans service by his master, who was impressed by his zeal and honesty. Later distinguishing himself in battle, Zafar Khan rose through the ranks to become eventual governor of the province of Daulatabad. With the weakening of power at Delhi, he declared the province independent of central authority and assumed the name of Ala-ud-din Bahman (1347-1358). Forts and Citadels

Daulatabad Fort Main Gate in Second Outer Wall.

Bidar : Fort and Town Plan

The Bahmani dynastys first citadel, before the capital was shifted to Gulbarga, was at Daulatabad. Here the most prominent feature is the extraordinarily imposing outer walls, in four concentric rings, similar in design and style to the Chteau Gaillard in France. The tradition of strong fortifications continued with the shifting of the capital to Gulbarga in 1347. With no natural defense like a hilly site or a river nearby, the Bahmanis instead endowed Gulbarga fort with the Bala Hissar. This massive rectangular keep, citadel within a citadel, was again in the tradition of military architecture inspired by the Crusades in the holy land, and was to remain practically the only example built in India. The capital of the Bahmani empire was shifted yet again in 1429. This was a strategic decision, as Bidar had a more central position in the kingdom and perhaps more importantly, was out of immediate striking range of the Vijayanagara kingdom, which was a constant menace. In contrast to Gulbarga, Bidar was situated on a sloping promontory, on which were built the fort and its associated town. The fort, naturally, was at the highest level, with its citadel at the northern tip. The fort could be isolated for better defence from the town by a system of gates and moats. Inside the citadel walls, ruins of palaces, mosques and secular structures bear silent witness to a oncepowerful empire. Religion and Death

The Bahmani sultans Shiite tendencies are clearly reflected in their mosques. These delineate also their Persian origin. For example, the earliest mosque founded in Gulbarga, the Shah Bazaar, is one of the first in India to reflect the Timurid tendency of the multi-bay prayer hall, like at Isfahan in modern Iran. Its most refined expression is then found in the Jami Masjid of Gulbarga. On a rectangular base, this mosque has arcades two bays deep and a triple-aisled prayer hall which runs around three sides of the building. The space of the central court itself is covered over with smaller domes, with arches springing from imposts spanning the area of the court. These arches contrast with the trefoil arches of the mihrab and the squinches these again being traces of Seljuk work at the Isfahan Jami Masjid. This Gulbarga variant of arches with imposts, though not universally emulated, was to prove very popular with the Adil Shahis of Bijapur who subjugated Gulbarga late in the 15th century. The tombs of the first Bahmani rulers at Gulbarga are fairly simple structures of plastered stone and rubble work. The tomb of Firoz Shah (not to be confused with the same name of the Tughlaq dynasty at Delhi see associated article) was enlarged to two large bays to also accommodate members of the royal family. A simple structure, it is marked by the trellis work in its windows, the kalash at the corners marking an increasing awareness of the local craftsman and his repertory, and the low-slung domes which cap the roof.

This tendency to fusion with native crafts and motifs reappears very distinctly in the Langar-kimasjid at Gulbarga, where the outer arches are supported on serpentine columns, and the increasing profusion of decoration is marked. However, apart from its wealth of tombs, mosques and citadels, the Bahmani dynasty can also lay claim to another masterpiece the madrassa of Mahmud Gawan, the Persian minister of Muhammed Shah Bahmani III (1463-1482). The most striking feature of this structure is its three stories of cells, a most unusual happening in a madrassa. The elevated domes marking the entrances and the imposing minarets combine to make this a high point of the influence of Persian Islamic art and architecture in India. Despite its monumentality and originality, however, the type represented by this Iranian import did not subsequently find favor in India. February 23, 2003 Architecture The Deccan: Golconda and Bijapur by Ashish Nangia

The dynasties which supplanted the enfeebled Bahamanis in the Deccan early in the 16th century continued ardently patronage of architecture. Of these, the Qutb Shahis of Golconda and the Adil Shahis of Bijapur were especially active. Of their

military works, the citadels, one each at Golconda and Bijapur, are testimony to the eventual might of these dynasties and cause for their long resistance against the Mughals. The heroic exploits of Chand Bibi, the Sultana of Bijapur, against Murad, son of Aurangzeb, are at least as celebrated as those of Rani Lakshmibai or Razia Sultana. The Qutb Shahis of Golconda

Golconda fort was built on the remains of a Kakatiya citadel by Sultan Quli c. 1544. The main fortress dominates the town 30 metres below. The three successive walls with numerous bastions for artillery and convoluted approaches for better defense testify to a time when wars were common and imminent attack around the corner. The Hindu motifs on the gates show a continued trend of using local craftsmen and decorative vocabulary, and may also be proof of the religious tolerance of the Qutb Shahis.

Later architecture of the Qutb Shahis showed a tendency to degenerate into a sort of tired decadence, when the urge to monumentality and impressiveness was muted by the addition of small-scale decorative elements. This trend is only too visible in the tomb of Sultan Muhammed (c. 1612) at Golconda.

Incongruous elements in this otherwise wellproportioned structure, such as the over-thin columns in the gallery on the ground floor, prevent this tomb from attaining the status of a masterpiece. A similar judgement may be passed on the Char Minar at Hyderabad. Its overwhelming status as the main landmark in Hyderabad, and indeed, as the very symbol of that city, does not add to its architectural effect. The Char Minar is ungainly as a structure and incoherent in its use of decorative features. Be that as it may, its sheer monumentality and visibility have contributed to make it a source of national pride. Adil Shahis of Bijapur The Adil Shahis have the distinction of being the most prolific of all the Deccan builders. They have to their credit one of the greatest forts of India, at Bijapur. Within and around this astonishing citadel, the Adil Shahis continued a campaign of incessant building for nearly 150 years which resulted in numerous public works, a series of tombs unrivalled except by the Mughals, and over fifty mosques. The fort itself is composed of an immense ring wall 10 kilometres in perimeter, up to 12 metres thick and 10 metres high, and strengthened by over 100 bastions. The early mosques of the Adil Shahis are usually threebay affairs with the simple, broad, low-sprung arches of the Gulbarga Jami Masjid. The culmination of these mosques is the great Jami-Masjid of Bijapur. It has an

open prayer hall surrounded on three sides by arcades, which define the open court in front of the mihrab. The great dome on top of the qibla is supported by great interlocking arches rising from the square base below. The chajja on top of the outer arches of the court is supported by numerous brackets, and the central arch in axis with the mihrab stands out by the addition of cusps to its inner curve. The later mosques of the dynasty, like the Anda Masjid of 1608 and the Mihtari Masjid of 1620 show an increasing elaboration of forms. Of the rauzas (combination of mosque and tomb) the best example is perhaps that of Ibrahim II. Here mosque and tomb are directly facing one another, with the middle space occupied by an ornamental pool, on a rectangular terrace set out along the charbagh concept. The highly elaborate detailing of both structures does not detract in the least from their fine proportions but rather complement them.

Muhammed I tried to outdo his successor, and in this he partially succeeded, at least in terms of sheer grandeur. For it is to him that can be attributed the Gol Gumbaz with its huge dome, the largest in India, and indeed among the largest in the world, along with its famous whispering gallery. It should be said here that the sheer size of the structure is alas, not matched by a corresponding fineness of proportion. For the bulky and squat corner minars, the relatively blank facades of the walls, the out-of-scale detailing of the arcades around the dome, all combine to make the Gumbad

magnificently confused. This said, the sheer overwhelming size of the building leaves one wondering at its boldness of conception, surely among the most advanced in late medieval India. March 2, 2003 Color images under license with Rajput Architecture: The Beginning of a National Identity by Ashish Nangia Time : The 14th and 15th Centuries A political vacuum exists in India. The infighting among the various nobles of the Delhi Sultanate has caused many kingdoms and provincial governors to assert their freedom. From this vacuum come the kingdoms of Vijayanagara, Golconda and Bijapur in the south. In the north, in Rajasthan and Gujarat, the proud fighting clans of the Rajputs too seize this opportunity. This will be the time of chivalry, of great forts under the hot sun, of pomp and splendor, the making of a warrior tradition which will provide eventual stiff resistance to the Mughal onslaught. However, a break in building tradition caused by the Delhi Sultanate in the preceding years means that the science of architecture is no longer the same the ancient texts which were followed in early temple building have either been lost, or forgotten, or need to be modified in response to changing needs. The craftsmen, too, have now practiced on Islamic buildings, and bring with them the tradition of Islam. The current of cultural exchange now flows both ways earlier it was Islam which had to forcedly borrow indigenous craftsmen for its architecture and now it is these very same guilds who return to the service of Hindu kings. Architecture will now be truly a fusion, and will be one of the first, and among the most prominent, tools of a sub-continental identity, a true Indo-Islamic culture. Meanwhile the principal players in this drama are of course a little less aware of their eventual place in history, and are more occupied by the more mundane aspects in life. This is the old story of kingdoms waging war against each other and rulers erecting palaces and monuments to their glory, and fortresses to preserve their rule. The Legend of Chittor

The Sisodias of Chittor and Rana Kumbha (143368) were among the most active patrons of building. The Jayastambha (Tower of Victory) is an odd structure, combining as it does the urge to commemorate a victory (that over Malwa in 1458), with the principles of temple building. The structure thus becomes quasi-religious, a sort of vertical temple. Chittorgarh today is a sleepy little town, much like many others in semi-rural India. The youth all want to leave, the cows blink stupidly in the ferocious heat of the mid-day sun, and the halwai is the main cultural centre, where politics is discussed over chai. It doesnt even have a proper train line, the only connection is by an old metre-gauge to Delhi and Ahmedabad. Nothing spectacular, one would say. Except for the low plateau in the near horizon, and the massive slumbering walls around its top. This is the fort of Chittor, once home to kings and nobles, of beautiful queens and princesses, of stirring tales of manhood and valor, of noble but futile chivalry, and of eventual, glorious death. Chittor fort, along with Mandu and Chanderi, represent the start of the tradition of synthesis between native and imported ideas, which was to be carried on with increasing skill in the forts of Gwalior, Orchcha and finally Fatehpur Sikri. Gwalior The strategically located Gwalior fort was fair game, in its position as the gateway to central India, for all would-be potentates. The climb up to Gwalior plateau is tortuous and not easily accomplished even by a motor vehicle. This no doubt contributed to its fine system of defences designed to slow down and eventually stop any attacker.

Among its many remarkable buildings, its greatest is perhaps the palace of Man Singh Tomar built in the 15th century. Unlike even its successors, Man Singhs palace is in an excellent state of preservation, with even the blue and yellow tile work on the faade still visible. Orchha

At Orchha there are three palaces of note the Ramji Mandir of Raja Rudra Pratap (1501-31), the Raj Mahal of Madhukar (1554-91), and the Jahangir Mahal of Bir Singh Deo. These last two were built on an island in the river Betwa.

Raj Mahal

Jahangir Mahal

All three palaces, built in the time when the Mughal influence had begun, have square courts - like most Muslim buildings surrounded by living quarters. Arches and domes mingle with beams and columns. The fusion experiment at Orchha culminated in Bir Singhs Govind Mahal at Datia. In plan the Govind Mahal distinctly

follows the Muslim concept of a central court, with a symmetrical disposition of elements around it. The four corners culminate in domes which set off the larger one crowning the central royal quarters. However, perhaps the most surprising creation at Orchha is the giant Chaturbhuja temple.

More than its size, the architectural plan is surprising, resembling more a cathedral, being a cross in plan. The other astonishing thing is the large interior space, quite unusual for a temple where the interiors tend to be closed and cramped. This trend of fusion was to be evident in Muslim architecture of the period as well. The history of the Indian subcontinent is best studied in this way as a product of diverse influences, each of which leaves its own mark, rather than a narrow division into Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim etc. For none of these developed in isolation, but were rather a product of the volatile political process around them. So if architecture can define a nation, it is at this period in history that we witness a remarkable change a sort of rapprochement between Hindu and Muslim at least in the domain of architecture. For craftsmen do not know any religion except for what feels good to build, and what pleases the eye. March 16, 2003 All color images under license with A Quirk of Fate Babur, Humayun and Sher Shah by Ashish Nangia The Delhi Sultanate An Uncertain Legacy

A political vacuum this phrase can best summarize the state of affairs in north India in 1526 AD. The last of the Lodi sultans had succeeded in alienating the majority of his nobles by his arrogant posturing. Ibrahim Lodis pretensions were to prove his downfall in a land where class and clan loyalties were precarious at best. And yet the Delhi sultanate had, in the last three centuries, left an undeniable mark on the subcontinent. Firstly it introduced Islam along with its culture - literature, painting, philosophy. Secondly the sultans put into place a system of administration - revenue collection, taxes and minting - that would serve as the base for their successors the Mughals. And lastly, and important as far as we are concerned, they established firmly the principles of Islamic architecture - which from its Persian and Turkish origins was to evolve into many regional prototypes. The Lodi dynasty was thus fated to be the last in the Delhi Sultanate. After the extinction of the Tughlaq dynasty at the hands of Tamerlane, the Lodis finally assumed power at Delhi. In spite of the empire building efforts of the first two of the line, Bahlol and Sikander, Ibrahim Lodi frittered away their gains by his imperious manner. This he did largely forgetting that the Sultans power base was eventually his nobles, that he was at best first among equals. The Afghan nobles thus found themselves allied, along with certain Rajput chieftains - chief among whom was Rana Sanga of Chittor - with the disinherited Timurid prince Babur, from Ferghana. In search of a new land to claim for his own, Babur was a young, ambitious and ruthless warrior who knew an opportunity when he saw one. And so came about the first battle of Panipat. This was to be the ground for many a decisive battle afterwards, its fertile plains proving ideal ground for the massing of armies. The Sultans 100,000 horsemen and 1000 elephants far outnumbered Baburs troops, but it was his use of artillery, for the first time in India, that won him the day. The Delhi Sultanate, at the seat of power at Delhi since the 12th century, thus finally came to an end. Never controlling more than a part of north India, it left behind a fractured and divided subcontinent characterized by the lack of central power, and numerous princes and would-be sultans. Winning and keeping control of an empire here would require finesse and tact, brutality and astuteness.

The Beginning of the Mughal Empire In dividing history into periods, this stage is chiefly taken as the end of the Delhi Sultanate, and the beginning of the Mughal period. However, Mughal supremacy in India was not established till the reign of Akbar and before that there were times when the Mughals were in danger of extinction. This danger came from the brief reign of the Afghan Sher Shah Sur, of Sasaram in Bihar. For a while he succeeded in chasing Humayun from the subcontinent, and were it not for his accidental death, the Mughal destiny in India might have ended before it begun. This period in history thus show a flux in political power at Delhi, with the short reign of Babur giving way to Humanyun. He in his turn was defeated by Sher Shah, only to return after the latters death. Thus with war taking precedence, architectural activity was sporadic at best. Yet a number of notable changes came about, mainly with the Timurid and Safavid influences which came along with Babur. The founder of the Mughal empire did not have much time for architectural construction. The Ram and Zahara Bagh at Agra is a garden that ameliorated the climate that Babur so detested, and also a talar before the Lodi palace. The Purana Qila

The main citadel of the time, which can be attributed to both Humayun and Sher Shah, is the Purana Qila at Delhi, with its associated structures. Though the walls are crumbling in places, the massive portals of the Qila are still for the most part intact and show a fine sense of proportion combined with a judicious mix of local red sandstone, Persian-inspired encaustic tile work and marble mosaic.

Of the structures inside the Qila, two of the most notable are the Sher Mandal, the octagonal library - this was to prove ill-fated as it is from its steps that Humayun tumbled to his death.

The other is the superb Qila-iKuhna mosque. This should also be compared with the Jamali Masjid of roughly the same period near the Qutb Minar complex. Both these mosques are of similar pedigree, with five frontal arches of which the central one is made the most prominent. However, in the Qila-i-Kuhna, the subtle variations of the arch heights are among the features that mark this as the high point of mosques of this plan type. Sher Shahs Tomb A word should also be added here for the fine tomb of Sher Shah Sur at Sasaram in Bihar. This tomb was the apogee of the octagonal type which found its beginnings in the Tughlaq and Lodi dynasties. Situated in the middle of a lake, the tomb obeys all the principles of octagonal tombs arched side openings, buttressed walls and chhattris, but takes them to a previously unsurpassed level of grandeur not only in size, but also cohesiveness of concept. The magnificent setting of the tomb is eloquent, and speaks of the quirks of fate. But for a cannon exploding ahead of time which caused Sher Shahs death, the Mughal empire that came after him may never have been able to take root. March 23, 2003 The Mughal Empire: Fortresses and Citadels by Ashish Nangia

Humayun, as we have seen, did not live to enjoy rule. His son and successor, Akbar (1556-1605 A.D.) was the first in a line of emperors that for the next century would establish Mughal rule over practically the whole of India. This unprecedented empire building went hand in hand with the subcontinents most fertile period as far as art and architecture were concerned. Mughal architecture owes its origins to its religion, Islam, as a showpiece of prestige and power, for pleasure, and for death. These concepts are reflected in great mosques, forts, durbars and palaces, gardens and pools, and finally, tombs. Formally and artistically, Mughal architecture owes as much to its genealogical origins among the Safavids and Timurids, as it does to the syncretism of its patrons, notably Akbar and Shah Jahan. It is thus that impeccable Charbagh plans combine with indigenous detailing as in the tombs of Humayun and Akbar, and the forts at Agra, Delhi and Lahore.

Such is the volume of building during this epoch that it would be impossible to detail every building in this series. We will however attempt to make the task easier by classifying the architecture into building types and then discussing the major examples of each. Mughal building can thus be divided into fort, palace and garden, mosque and finally tomb. Mughal Fortresses in Akbars Rule The function of a fort is to command large swathes of territory, to control the trade routes that pass therein, to inspire awe and loyalty amongst the populace, and finally to be a refuge if attacked. The whirlwind and extensive military campaigns of Akbar were contemporaneous with the construction of a large number of metropolitan and provincial forts, chief among which are the ones at Agra (from 1564), Ajmer (from 1570), Lahore (from 1580) and Allahabad (from 1583). Refinement and taste are the words that come immediately to mind even in so utilitarian a structure as these forts defensive walls. Fine detailing incorporates both Islamic and indigenous elements, primarily Gujarati in origin.

Agra Fort Agra fort, in the form of an irregular semicircle, has its to the river Yamuna which protects its eastern side. riverside walls are punctuated nevertheless by defensive bastions of which the main one controls an access from the and numerous underground passages. Agra Fort plan On the town side the back thus The


bastions are regularly spaced and the height of the walls is 30m. The western wall is dominated by the massive main entrance the so-called Delhi Gate- and the Hathi Pol. This gate is approached by a tortuous access ramp. More to the south, the Amar Singh gate is defended by two towers which flank the entrance. A remarkable feature in this fort is a hybrid beast, part horse, part lion and part elephant sculpted on a panel. This monster evokes Assyrian men-beasts but also resembles the monsters of Hindu mythology. It is unfortunate that most of Akbars not inconsiderable work within the fort walls was demolished or modified by Shah Jahans rebuilding and transformation later. One specimen that does survive is the Jahangiri Mahal. Agra Fort, Jahangiri Mahal This structure built for the emperors wives and family is similar in character to the Man Mandir at Gwalior. Of Shah Jahans additions, most notable are the Anguri Bagh (Garden of grapes) palace and the white marble Moti Masjid. Agra Fort, Anguri Bagh pavillion

Agra Fort, Moti Masjid The greatest surviving example however of Akbars appetite and taste for architecture is of course his capital city of Fatehpur Sikri soon abandoned because of lack of a reliable water supply. This will require the entire next section for a detailed examination. April 3, 2003 Color images under license with

Fatehpur Sikri - The City of Victory by Ashish Nangia

After his victories over the Rajputs, Akbar commemorated his achievement by the building of a new capital. The city was called Fatehpur Sikri and was close to the imperial fort of Agra. Here, within six kilometers of defensive wall, Akbar built palaces, courts of audience, hunting lodges, mosques and triumphal portals. The city was abandoned soon after its construction, and the reason for this was the lack of any reliable water supply for its inhabitants. Its disuse as a city during the Mughal period is the reason why its buildings have come down to us almost intact, without the changes effected by later

emperors on other imperial sites such as Agra, Allahabad and Delhi. This means that Akbars genius at building can be seen fully here, as also his finely developed aesthetic sense. Both formally and in their detailing, the buildings at Sikri are a fine blend of Timurid planning and aesthetics and Rajput art and architecture.

Site Plan : Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri : Palaces

Apart from its outer wall, Fatehpur Sikri was not really designed for a sustained defence, that role being assigned to the fort of Agra close by. The city is situated on a hilltop, and beyond the walls was the old town, of which little survives today. The highest point of the ridge is occupied by the main mosque and Sheikh Salims dargah. The palace itself, placed across the ridge, is divided into four principal parts the daulat khana or treasury in the centre, the haram sara or queens chambers, a princes palace and ammunition stocks. The palace is entered ceremoniously from the Hathi Pol or elephant gate facing the lake (now dry!) The palace complex itself is dominated by a central court (b) with water bodies and fountains, in the centre of which is a pavilion for music.

Of the buildings clustered around the court, the diwan-i-am (hall of public audience) (a), the diwan-i-khas (hall for private audience) (b), Jodha Bais palace (c), Birbals palace (d), the Nagina mosque (f) and the five-storeyed Panch Mahal (g) are noteworthy. All are disposed around the central court in such a manner as to recall Gujarati cluster planning. The diwan-i-khas which is a two-storey building with four chhatris on top is noted for its great central column, in which radiating serpentine brackets support the emperors dais and throne, from which four walkways connect it to the sides.

The haram sara is connected to emperors private chambers by a screened viaduct. This building consists of queens apartments around a central court. The scheme resembles in planning the Raj Mahal at Orchha. Its introverted form with a single gate was well suited for the days when women were still screened from public view. The Nagina Masjid to the north of the haram sara served as the queens private place of worship. Fatehpur Sikri is also known for two more buildings the gem of a dargah of Sheikh Salim Chisti, and the Buland Darwaza.

The Buland Darwaza is a massive gate mounted on steps, which faces the old town. It was built to commemorate Akbars military victory over Gujarat. This great triumphal portal leads into the mosque court, one corner of which is occupied by Sheikh Chistis dargah. This tomb with its filigree screens and exquisite carving was originally planned in red sandstone, but was finally made entirely of marble at the beginning of Jahangirs reign. Fatehpur Sikri itself grants Akbar pride of place as a builder in the history of India. But there was still more to come tombs, mosques, palaces and civil structures. As a remarkable man who not only won and consolidated political and military power but also patronized the arts and sciences, Akbar has rightly won the sobriquet of the Great. April 19, 2003 Color images under license with The Mughal Empire: Splendor and Decadence in Delhi by Ashish Nangia Akbars long reign was a period of expansion and consolidation. He was not only tireless in the battlefield, but proved to be a man of exceptionally fine taste in art and architecture. To him also goes the credit of refining Sher Shahs administrative systems and putting in place a regular source of revenue for the empire which stretched over all of North India and was beginning to threaten the Deccan. The Mughals in fact throughout the length of their dynasty were known for their good taste, right from Babur to the last ill-fated emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar. Jahangir, son of Akbar, was no less refined, and was a gifted individual. His potential, however, was greatly diminished, especially in his later years, by an addiction to drink and drugs, and he gradually came to lose all interest in the intricacies of governance, preferring to leave all in the hands of his queen, Noor Jahan.

J ahangirs sporadic bursts of coherence and creativity very much like his grandfather, Humayun were nevertheless enough to hold the empire together and for art and architecture to continue to flourish. His liking for Kashmir led him to construct the Shalimar Gardens by the side of Lake Dal in Srinagar. The exquisite dargah of Sheikh Salim Chisti at Fatehpur Sikri is also attributed to him, as are certain additions and alterations in the royal forts of Lahore, Allahabad and Agra. However, we have to wait till the reign of Shah Jahan for the full genius of Mughal architecture to come forth. Building profusely, Shah Jahan not only changed existing forts and palaces greatly but also built an entire new city and a fort Shahjahanabad with its great Jama Masjid in Delhi and the Red Fort. But all these were to be overshadowed by the pice de rsistance the Taj Mahal at Agra, arguably the most perfect mortuary building in all Islam. However, in continuation with our series, it would be appropriate to examine the Red Fort at Delhi in more detail.

The Red Fort in plan consists of outer walls in a near-perfect rectangle except where they border the course of the Yamuna to the north. The walls themselves are clad with finely dressed red and pink sandstone, the joints of which are surprisingly fine. The massive round bastions set off the main Delhi and Lahore gates, massive defensive entry portals which tower over the walls. The entries from these gates meet in a square public place which finally leads off to the hall of public audience, or the Diwan-i-am. The roof of this building, today looking strangely naked and exposed, is supported on columns and arches which are more ornate than utilitarian, the simple pointed arch giving way to a multi-cusped version. Various bays of these arches make up the hall, the whole being clad in white marble with inlays of semi-precious stones. Inside the hall, the emperors dais is raised on a high platform.

The other buildings in the complex are the tiny Moti Masjid a mosque entirely in marble. This, though started by Shah Jahan, was completed by his son Aurangzeb, and is different in style, with the extra decoration that was the first sign of impending decadence and decay. the Shish Mahal or the Hall of Mirrors, the treasury and magazine or Daulat Khana, the emperors private chambers and harems for the queens.

Running through and around most of these structures is a system of open water channels which, combined with carved marble screens fronting the river, kept the interiors amazingly cool. A visitor today to the Red Fort can still not help be surprised by the coolness of the interiors even in the hottest summer. The Red Fort was a defensive structure, a last resort for an attack that seemed improbable and even impossible during the heyday of the Mughal empire. Who could tell that in less than a hundred years an irreversible decline would begin? Those days, however, were still far away, and outside the walls of the fort, a city flourished, full in its importance as the capital of one of the richest empires of the world.

The old city of Chandni Chowk from an English drawing. This was the old city of Delhi, the grandeur of which is not now apparent in its narrow streets and crumbling buildings. But in its time it was home to merchants and poets, courtesans and artists, soldiers and workmen, all busily turning the cogs of the Mughal empire. May 25, 2003 The Mughal Empire Mosques and Tombs - I by Ashish Nangia
The first of the Mughal emperors, Babur, in spite of his keen aesthetic sense, did not have the time to embark upon a concerted program of building. The mosque built by him at Ayodhya - the Babri Masjid is now history, in an incident that must surely rank as one of the most shameful points of the history of independent India, when the rule of law and justice for all was subjugated to the will of a few gangsters acting in the name of religion. An act supposedly demonstrating Hindu pride did nothing but lower the image of India in the whole world. Humayuns Tomb

Luckily the first great Mughal construction, Humayuns tomb near Nizam-ud-din in Delhi, has come down to us mostly intact, though this too suffers from neglect due to the pitiful funds allocated to the Archaeological Survey of India, and the callous way in which we treat our built heritage.

This was the first mosque built on the lines of the Charbagh, gardens with fountains built on the Islamic concept of paradise being gardens in which flow torrents of water. Its construction was undertaken by the late emperors widow, the Hamida Bano Begum, in the reign of Akbar. While image above shows the Humayun Tomb, the image to the right shows the Humayun library - a part of the Humayun Tomb complex. The tomb is entered by a long axial processional path, which has on its way great gateways offering teasing views to the superstructure. The tomb itself is raised on an arcaded platform, under which can be found numerous lesser graves, which are ascribed to various nobles and workers who served Humayun. A great central chamber has four offshoots, double storeyed in height and

arcaded on their facades. The central room contains the epitaphs of the emperor Humayun and his queen, and is crowned by great double dome. On the exterior, the tomb is clad in red sandstone with marble being used for detail work and inscriptions. Also continued here is the jali work along the facades, rich in detail, which keeps the interiors cool and breezy. The terrace of the tomb, accessed by staircases, offers a panoramic view of the city, and although the nearby railway line succeeds in disturbing the peace, the nearby Yamuna flowing slowly, as well as the remnants of forest which still exist, continue to offer the sleeping Emperor solace as one of the founders of the great Mughal empire. Badshahi Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri The Badshahi Masjid is the largest and most impressive mosque built during Akbars reign, and its central court is dominated to the south by the Buland Darwaza, already discussed in a previous article. The materials used are the same which dominated much of Akbars reign, a preponderance of sandstone with marble filigree and detailing. The prayer hall to the west is a departure from the free-standing Afghan mosque halls like Jamali-Kamali near the Qutb, or the Qila-i-Kuhna at the Purana Qila, and is instead integrated into the pillared cloisters. Added later during Jahangirs reign, the dargah of the Sufi saint Salim Chisti was designed in sandstone during Akbars reign, but was eventually executed wholly in marble. Akbars Tomb, Sikandra Sikandra is a sleepy little outpost on the outskirts of Agra, and its main claim to architectural fame is the presence of Akbars tomb. As was so often the case, it was built by his son Jahangir. Akbars tomb, continuing the charbagh formula, is set in the midst of gardens with fountains and canals, and like Humayuns tomb, is also raised on a superstructure. Here, however, the similarities lessen, because in plan and detail, Akbars tomb takes much from the indigenous Rajput and Gujarati traditions. The pavilions inside are decorated with motifs ranging from elephants, swans, lotus, swastika and

chakras, along with the more conservative arabesques and calligraphy. Apart from these monuments, we may also enumerate several lesser known structures built during the same period. Among these are Jahangirs tomb at Shahdara near Lahore which reflects the influence of Sikandra, Itmad-ud-Daulas (Jahangirs father-in-law) tomb at Agra, mosques at Tatta and Ajmer, the Begam Shahi Masjid of Akbars widow at Lahore, and the Patthar Masjid of Srinagar. This last is one of the few notable mosques built during Jahangirs reign. The emperor Jahangir, for all his taste, was too wasted by alcohol and sensual pleasures to ever embark seriously on military or architectural campaigns. The growing richness of the Mughal empire brought with it traders and merchants, who were eager to make a quick profit. India was at that time running a lucrative spice trade with foreign powers such as the Dutch, the Portuguese, the French and eventually the English. The Mughal court was close to its zenith, and seemed to have no equal or challenger. But appearances are often deceptive, and as is the case with too much prosperity, decadence was about to set in. But not before the Mughals had built some of the most impressive monuments in the world. June 15, 2003 Images of Humayun Tomb and Humayun library under license with The Mughal Empire Mosques and Tombs 2 by Ashish Nangia The reign of Shah Jahan was one of unparalleled prosperity. The Mughal empire now stretched across almost the whole subcontinent, and the imperial court was amongst the richest in the world. India ran a flourishing trade with Europe and the East. Embassies and foreign diplomats, among them the Englishman Thomas Roe, were present at the court. It seemed that the empire would last forever. Shah Jahan was a ruler exceptionally given to be a patron of the arts and architecture. As most rulers did, one of his first acts was to found a new city, Shahjahanabad, the fort of which we have discussed previously. Along with military structures were also religious buildings, like the Jama Masjid at Shahjahanabad, Agra and Agra fort. Jama Masjid at Delhi The Jama Masjid at Shahjahanabad is raised on a platform surrounded by arches, and is built on an exceptionally grand scale. In fact, one of the requirements for the Viceroys house built by the British (and now Rashtrapati Bhavan) was that its dome should be higher than that of the Jama Masjid, as a symbol of the supremacy of British power over the previous emperor. The great central arch of the frontispiece of the qibla qubba masks the dome behind, and chattris set off the entrance pavilions. The Jama Masjid is accessed by monumental gates and steps from the bazaar below.

Today the bustling bazaar around the masjid is known for its delicacies and the roofs of the houses around the masjid form a dense network of terraces from where ancient and time-honored sport like kite-flying and pigeon-flying are still practiced. Mosques at Agra The small but beautiful Moti Masjid is in the precincts of Agra fort. This mosque entirely clad in white marble has calligraphy in black marble, and perhaps served as an experiment in completely decking a building in this material before the Taj Mahal. Lahore

The Badshahi masjid in Lahore is comparable to the one at Delhi in size and importance, but its splendid free standing prayer hall has a minar at each corner, as does the courtyard. The squatness of the corner minars, however, does no good to the proportions of the mosque, and the decoration in terms of patterned panels on the sandstone clad surface is more effete than a strong statement. Abdur-Rahim Khan-i-khanans tomb at Delhi Late in Jahangirs reign, Delhi witnessed an evolution from the tomb type exemplified by Humayuns tomb, which had partially continued in Jahangirs mausoleum as well. A tomb was built near Humayuns memorial for Abdur-Rahim, the khan-i-khanan during Akbars reign. For the first time, this tomb is higher than it is wide, and the chattris on the terrace crowd more closely around the main dome. This composition was to be further experimented with in some more

subsidiary tombs before its final refined appearance in the Taj Mahal. August 3, 2003 Image of Badshahi Masjid, Lahore under license with The Mughal Empire The Taj Mahal by Ashish Nangia

Satellite image of Taj and Agra courtesy of The Taj Mahal is widely acclaimed as the best example of Mughal tomb architecture, and is indeed famous all over the world as one of Indias most enduring architectural symbols. Begun in the fifth year of the reign of Shah Jahan as a monument to his dead wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj is located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra.

Image under license with Much has been written about the Taj and its ethereal quality. What is clear from the mass of analyses available is that no consensus exists about the symbology that the composition is supposed to represent. Even scholarly writers are susceptible to hyperbole: Yet, elusive in scale, it is ambiguous in form: the main arcades express the fusion of the five elements of the hasht behisht; the dome and chhattris express their distinction. And the materials the water of canal and river as much as the substance on the terrace takes this incomparable work even further from the realm of rational analysis. In contrast to the red sandstone mosque and guesthouse flanking it, the mausoleum is built of marble of legendary beauty passing through a range of colors from peach to pearl according to the light of the sun, moon or stars. *

In plan the Taj composition

offsets the chahar bagh preceding the tomb so the garden is no longer in the exact centre of the composition. Both axes of the garden have broad causeways with water channels flanked by cypress trees, and these meet in a raised water body. The north-south axis, however, leading from the main gate to the tomb, has fountains along the water channel to reinforce its centrality. The main axis then leads on to the superstructure, supported on an arcaded platform, is entirely faced with marble, as is the rest of the tomb. A significant improvement over Humayuns tomb is that the platform is not high enough to mask the lower part of the superstructure and thus the entire building is visible from the entrance gate.

Taj Mahal - Detail of corner of Hasht Behisht courtesy Harneet Bhatia

The hasht behisht eight paradises is the name given to the eight chambers formed in a typical Islamic tomb type, four created by the crossing of the axes, and four by the diagonal chambers left over. In the Taj the hasht behisht is similar to the one in Humayuns tomb, but with more emphasis on the axes. The tomb also has a double dome which consists of a lower inner shell and a much higher outer shell. This was done to keep the scale to a reasonable level in the interior. A rich dado of flowering plant motifs runs all around the building. Another remarkable feature of the tomb is of course the richly carved marble screens which ring the cenotaphs (raised marble platforms depicting burial places) of Shah Jahan and his queen.

Two later tombs were clearly inspired by the Taj Mahal. The first is the tomb of Rabi Daurani, wife of Aurangzeb, built at Aurangabad less than thirty years later and the tomb of Safdar Jang, Nawab of Oudh, built in Delhi in the mid-18th century. Unfortunately these do not inspire much admiration, being poor copies of the original. Instead of subtle beauty there is overstated ornament, which does not inspire respect, but contributes instead to an overall weakness of architecture.

An architectural write-up on the Taj cannot be complete without a word on the issues affecting it today. The first, of course, and the most prominent, is the furor over acid pollutants from industries in and around Agra severely affecting the marble of the tomb. A Supreme Court directive ordered that these industries should clean up their act. This apparently sound decision has raised the hackles of some conservationists and social activists, who argue that a blanket ban on polluting industries is simplistic and does not take into account the complex socio-economic structure of the city. Banning industry per se will lead to loss of jobs and so another, more sensitive solution should be found. Another issue is that of cultural significance. Cultural significance is defined as the unique blend of social, historical and ethnological factors that give a place its particular character and appeal. In the case of Agra, its cultural significance is that of an ancient Indian city which has been the seat of power of the Mughals for many years, thus leaving behind a distinct culture and architecture. The Taj is not the only thing in Agra of significance, yet its preponderance and a massive influx of tourists means that traditional professions and craft skills in the city are in danger, with a larger and larger percentage of the population turning to the tourism industry to make a livelihood. This fact is changing Agra so that it is in danger of losing its unique cultural specificity. The recent Taj Heritage Corridor proposal was struck down precisely because it did not adequately investigate future ramifications. Tourism thus can be a danger if not sensitively incorporated into existing local culture, and can in extreme cases change the very nature of the object of attraction in this case the city of Agra and the Taj. I would like to thank Harneet Bhatia, Architect, for letting me use his excellent pictures of the

Taj. April 11, 2004 *. Tadgell, C. The History of Architecture in India, Viking, New Delhi, 1990. Mughal Decline and Princely Architecture by Ashish Nangia The Decline of the Mughal Empire In 1707, at the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal empire was apparently intact and was still the premier power in the subcontinent. In 30 years, by 1739, the Mughal empire would have ceased to exist as a viable political entity. What caused this radical change? Firstly, appearances were deceiving right from the end of Aurangzebs reign. The emperor had exhausted himself, and a large part of the empires resources, in fighting what were to prove ultimately fruitless wars in the Deccan. His orthodoxy had alienated large sections of the population which were hitherto allied to or at peace with the Mughals, among these were the Marathas, the Sikhs and the Rajputs. Governors of the Mughal empire also took advantage of growing feebleness the nawabs of Bengal, Oudh and Hyderabad were soon to establish quasiindependent states which owed only nominal allegiance to Delhi.

Some historians have associated the fall of the Mughals with excessive decadence, which led to increasing demands on the peasantry and the alienation of the supporting classes. The truth is probably a mixture of all these, as well as the fact that the Mughal empire had reached the maximum possible limit for an absolute monarchy. Aurangzebs long reign was followed by fratricidal warfare amongst his successors and brief rules, some even as short as weeks, until the final sack of Delhi by the Persian Nadir Shah in 1739. The absence of a strong central power paved the way for the entry of European powers, who were beginning to realize the lucrative potential of trade with India. Whereas during the time of the Mughals, the French and the British were content with trade concessions, it was during the interregnum of the late 18th century that the British and the French began to actively interfere in sub-continental politics. They were aided immensely by the fact that the native rulers could never form a lasting alliance against them, and so could be tackled one after the other. In the south, for example, the British dealt separately with Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, and only then turned

their attention to the Marathas. The French and the British also competed with each other for supremacy in the subcontinent, but in the end it would ultimately be the British who would emerge victorious.

Princely States and their Architecture The confusion accompanying the decline of the Mughal empire saw an abundance of new architecture at the new seats of regional power by the Rajputs, Sikhs, Marathas and the nawabs of Oudh, Bengal and Hyderabad. Hindu rulers started to construct memorials to their dead, much after the style of the Mughals, and restarted the construction of lavish temples, neglected for long because of the lack of power and finances. The Sikhs, persecuted for long by the later Mughals, pillaged Mughal building in their turn to build their own gurudwaras or temples. The nawabs built lavish gardens, tombs, mosques and palaces. Their was no longer a dominant style, but a hybrid where Gujarati, Bengali, Deccan and Persian elements fused to produce an eclectic strain of building.

Late mediaeval Rajput architecture was noted both for its town planning and urban architecture. Rulers patronized research into ancient treatises and shastras of Hindu architecture and attempts were made to build accordingly. It would be fair, thus, to discuss two notable examples. Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer is particularly noted for its havelis or private houses belonging to the noblesse. Here the court style fusing Mughal and Rajput elements was first emulated by Rawal Amar Singh (1661-1702) for the palaces and temples surrounding the lake and at Bada Bagh. His 18th and 19th century successors continued the eclectic tradition by importing the late architecture of Marwar, with its prominent oriels and balconies, many-cusped arches, half-circular roofs and luxuriant sculptural ornament. The palaces in the fort although elaborately floral, are not however Jaisalmers most celebrated buildings.

This status belongs to the dense network of havelis in the town below the fort the private houses of the rich and wealthy, and the noblesse, who in the dwindling of royal power became the de facto rulers, an oligarcy very much like that of late mediaeval Venice. The havelis of Jaisalmer are thus world-famous for their dense interlocking structure and their architectural devices which keep out the heat and dust. Many examples of modern Indian architecture take their inspiration from Jaisalmers urban planning and house clustering pattern, a notable one being Raj Rewals Asiad Games Village built for the Asian Games at Delhi in 1984. Jaipur If Jaisalmer is famous for its havelis, Jaipur is known for its town planning inspired from ancient texts. The death of the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah accentuated the influence of Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber, who then embarked upon the construction of a modern capital in the plains a metropolitan fort inspired by Kautilyas Arthashastra.

Like Kautilyas ideal towns too, Jaipur is regularly planned. Its original regular nine-square geometry was however disturbed by military and esthetic considerations - the plan had to be modified to incorporate an existing garden

palace at the rulers direction, and by displacing the north-west zone to integrate the defences with the hills there, extending to Jaigarh and Amber. Within the walls, the original garden palace was follows the precepts of an ideal Kautilyan complex.

The uniform pink color of the construction and the fantastic observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh contribute to give Jaipur its distinctive flavor. The famous nine-square pattern of Jaipur is again much celebrated and has once again inspired modern buildings the most famous being Charles Correas Jawahar Kala Kendra in the same city. April 25, 2004 Images: Interior of Amber Fort under license with Peacock Gate at City Palace, Jaipur under license with Golden Temple, Amritsar under license with Wealthy merchants house, Jaisalmer Martin Wierzbicki Urban Structure, Jaisalmer by Raj Rewal Jaipur Observatory (Jantar Mantar) under license with For Christians and Spices The Portuguese and the Estada da India by Ashish Nangia The control of the Mediterranean by the Turks and the Egyptians, and their subsequent domination of cities in the Middle East holy to both Christianity and Islam, prompted the orthodox Portuguese

kings to find a way to the Indies, both to menace the Muslims along another front as well as to supplement trade.

1498 AD Vasco da Gama was the first to round the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, and, with the help of a Gujarati navigator, to eventually sail and drop anchor off the port of Calicut. In his log, Vasco da Gama records his first meeting, and answers to a query that he comes in search of Christian and Spices. In fact, the Portuguese first mistook the Hindu inhabitants of Calicut for Christians. In Vasco da Gamas words: The city of Calicut is inhabited by Christians. They are of tawny complexion. Some of them have big beards and long hair, whilst others clip their hair short or shave the head, merely allowing a tuft to remain on the crown as a sign that they are Christians. This first encounter was the beginning of the Portuguese adventure with India which lasted till 1961, when the Indian Army took over Goa, Daman and Diu. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese established trading bases all along the Malabar coast, and became an important political force in the hinterland. Their powerful naval fleet controlled commerce in the Indian Ocean and broke up the hegemony enjoyed till that point by Gujarat. The Portuguese would remain powerful till their domination was broken by two events the defeat and subsequent vassal status of Portugal itself by the Spanish, and the arrival of other European powers, namely the French, the English and the Dutch in the Indian Ocean. This did not mean, however, that the Portuguese culture has not contributed substantially to the region. The Portuguese did not take their women with them when they travelled across the sea; and so to maintain the small garrisons in India, the sailors were encouraged to marry Indians and this phenomenon gave birth to another class of mixed blood people who were Christians and spoke Portuguese, but in many ways retained the culture and customs of their maternal ancestors. Goa also became cosmopolitan its status as a trading centre attracted people from all over India and at one time the university had students from all over the subcontinent speaking 18 different languages, and the printing presses were amongst the first to print in vernacular. The Jesuits were asked to send two representatives to Akbars discussions on various religions that were taking place contemporaneously at Fatehpur Sikri.

The architecture of the imperial Portuguese presence is marked by its many churches and cathedrals, which faithfully document in their turn European post-Renaissance architecture, though to Classicism and its Mannerist and Baroque branches. There also still exist old mansions, dating mainly from the 18th century, as well as numerous remains of fortifications and defences, but in the main it is Portuguese churches and monastic buildings which take pride of place. Although Goa is dotted with white churches, the chief colonial architecture representatives are the Cathedral of St. Catherine (Se Cathedral), (founded 1562, rebuilt from 1631), the Church of the Holy Spirit or St. Francis of Assisi (1521), the Bom Jesus (1594), and the Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence, from 1665.

These churches reveal the influence of the so-called pattern book, or list of plans, elevations, sections and details copied from classical examples and their imitations. The pattern book was an invaluable tool for inspiration, as it allowed engineers and craftsmen to create architecture by putting together, in various combinations, the components of a building. It did not always result in a harmonious building, but it did guide and provide a ready source of examples to follow.

In this way the Church of the Holy Spirit or St. Francis of Assisi shows evidence of the Manueline* style in its entrance portal, and its faade in its repetition of plastered bays seems to be inspired from the early Renaissance. The plan of the church is not an exaggerated cross, conforming to the requirements of Christian ceremony at the time incorporating strong counter-reformist (against Protestants) Jesuit influences. The Cathedral of St. Catherine (Se Cathedral) was built by the colonys Chief Engineer Julio Simao is a style which would later be very popular and was further developed and refined by the French at Pondicherry, as well as more modest 18th century Portuguese works such as the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Nellitope, Madras.

The rich faade of the Bom Jesus incorporates much leathery scroll-work and oddly proportioned pilasters at variance with the canonical fourstorey sequence from Doric at the base to Composite at the top. This cathedral is also famous for housing the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, whose extremely floral tomb rests in one niche of the building.

It should be noted that all Portuguese colonial architecture was very much influenced by contemporaneous developments in Europe at the time the Renaissance and the influence of the Italian architects of the time Alberti, Serlio, Maderne, and the German Dietterlin. However, the pattern books ensured that none of the styles advocated by each of these would be followed in its entirety the Goan churches are often a reinterpretation of Renaissance principles and aesthetics to suit local colonial tastes, finances and materials. Though Goa would continue for some time to be one of the richest cities in India, the Portuguese attempts of controlling the spice trade would eventually come to an end from increased competition and lack of support from the homeland. In the end, the Portuguese retained control only of Goa, Daman and Diu, a far cry from the original Estada da India, the Indian state that they hoped to establish. Goa today retains a significant Christian population and its Portuguese heritage in art and architecture continues to shape much modern building and architects in the city and the surrounding region, and has considerably enriched the variety of regional architecture in India. May 23, 2004 Color images under license with Trade to Empire From the East India Company to Angrez Raj British Colonial Architecture 1 by Ashish Nangia "In the middle of the seventeenth century, Asia still had a far more important place in the world than Europe." So wrote J. Pirenne in his 'History of the Universe', published in Paris in 1950. He added, "The riches of Asia were incomparably greater than those of the European states. Her industrial techniques showed a subtlety and a tradition that the European handicrafts did not possess. And there was nothing in the more modern methods used by the traders of the Western countries that Asian trade had to envy. In matters of credit, transfer of funds, insurance, and cartels, neither India, Persia, nor China had anything to learn from Europe." (Quoted in Auguste Toussaint's 'History of the Indian Ocean') The British East India Company made its presence felt in India in the 17th century, during the height of power of the Mughal empire. Instead of selling their own goods, the British eventually found it more profitable to sell Indian goods in Europe. The early days were hard. There was competition from both other Europeans, as well as other trade routes (the Red Sea route through Egypt, the Persian Gulf Route through Iraq, and the Northern Caravan Route through Afghanistan, Persia and Turkey). Thus the early British Traders were in no position to dictate terms and trade concessions were hard won. However, eventually and with perseverance the Company slowly established trading bases wherever it could along either side of the lengthy Indian coastline. As the East India Company slowly changed in character from a purely trading concern to a political-military-economic machine, it was these trading bases that formed the nucleus of British settlements and it was here that the first British buildings came up. In keeping with the nature of the Company, the first buildings were warehouses, barracks and living quarters, protected by a fort. The earliest British forts followed Portuguese and French variations of the Italian Renaissances conception of an ideal city and its defenses. In the forts at Madras and Calcutta, the French military engineer Vaubans influence is apparent. Regular polygonal geometry and salient triangular bastions with recessed flanks at each angle maximized all-round cover and minimized vulnerability by offering overlapping fields of fire. Ditches and earthworks between the main ring of bastions

and lower, outlying salients increased defensive capability. The area surrounding the fort was cleared of all obstacles so as to remove any cover for attackers. These first forts at Madras, Bombay and Calcutta were the principal seats from where the Company oversaw its affairs. Features common to them all include doubled walls and angular bastions for artillery to dominate the approach. The fortifications also took advantage of natural features like the sea and rivers for defense.

Plan, Madras City, showing Fort St. George in lower left Around the forts the first signs of segregation were already apparent the European and Indian communities lived in separate settlements with very distinct characters. In the case of Fort St. George, Madras, the main fortifications surrounded the warehouses and other military buildings, and the so-called white town had another ring of fortification separating it from the black town.

Fort St. George, Madras Bombays Fort St. George was finished in 1715. To place this in context, the Mughal empire was beginning to rapidly come apart with Aurangzebs death in 1707.

Fort St. George, Bombay Although Fort St. George Madras was one of the first British outposts, it fell to the French in 1745, and again in 1758, before it was finally retaken by the British. The French were also weakened by their losses in Europe and were slowly abandoning India to the British. After the Nawab of Bengal took Calcutta in 1755 and was then defeated by Clive, a new Fort William was begun by the Companys chief engineer in Bengal, Captain John Bohier. On an island

site by the river unencumbered by buildings, Fort Williams field survives as the maidan, emulated at Bombay.

Fort William, Calcutta In addition to warehouses within the fort walls, there was also the need for arsenals, barracks and residential accommodation for the British. A church, too, was a necessity. The first English church in India was thus St. Marys at Madras fort, founded in 1678.

St. Mary's Church, Madras

Early British construction, thus, with the exception of St. Marys, was restricted to military and utilitarian structures, as the Company was still mostly a trading concern and only interfered in politics where it felt its commercial interests were in danger. Architecture as a symbol of political power was to come later, but the fall of the Mughal empire and infighting amongst the powers that succeeded it was to make it easier for the British to consolidate their tiny footholds into the beginning of a mighty empire that straddled the whole subcontinent. June 5, 2004 British Colonial Architecture II An Imperial Vision by Ashish Nangia With the defeat of Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1799, the British became the most powerful political and military force in India. With this status came also the need and responsibility to govern territories under their control, and to be seen as a powerful, civilizing force by the Indians. The Military Boards set up by the English contributed the bulk of secular architecture, like barracks, forts, housing for soldiers and other assorted building, but for the purposes of government and the church, something more assertive was needed to proclaim the supremacy of the British. It is thus that Government Houses and Town Halls, from where the business of governance and justice was carried out, follow closely changing trends in Britain to a great extent, and show also the continued influence of the so-called pattern books, from which the bulk of the Companys design was carried out. These pattern books, while conforming more or less to Europes Greco-Roman heritage, incorporated ideas on the form architecture should take, depending on its function. In essence, a pattern book would show how to put together different elements and combine them into a building. The City of Calcutta

Government House, Calcutta Like Madras and Bombay, Calcutta was an early British outpost, its Fort William being the highest point on the Hooghly that ships could reach. Unlike Madras and Bombay, however, principles of urban design were applied here, stemming from its position in the last decades of the 18th century as the Companys main seat. Calcutta was stamped with the hallmark of authority like the eras

classic European capitals indeed contemporaries likened it to St. Petersburg. There were two main axes. The first one led from the civil arm of authority around an expansive square dominated by the barrack-like Writers Building, to the military arm in the Maidan by Fort William. The secondary one embraced the Council House, the Courts and the Town Hall. At their perpendicular intersection stood Government House, built for the Governor-General Lord Wellesley from 1798 by Captain Charles Wyatt of the Bengal Engineers and the architectural family then prominent at home. The model for this imperial work was James Paines published design for Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. All four of the satellite blocks projected there were constructed here, linked to the central block by quadrant galleries to full height, unlike in the original, and the rotunda in which the central axis culminated, oddly dissected within, was expressed on the garden front. Wyatts adaptation was well attuned to the climate: the central-aisled hall on both main levels is flanked by galleries or vestibules on all sides, maximizing ventilation, and the main staircase is outside the north portico. Wyatts fellow officers produced the other major buildings of the town. Most distinguished was the English Palladian Town Hall of Colonel John Garstin. Lieutenant James Agg proved himself competent in adapting a particular metropolitan model, Gibbs St. Martin in the Fields, for the stone tower of the church. However the Companys failure to foresee the inadequacy of brick and plaster in the absence of good cheap local stone, on the one hand, and the soldiers failure to comprehend the full significance of the Classical motifs reproduced in their pattern books, detract from the authenticity of the work. In these respects, unlike its French equivalent at Pondicherry, Government House Tripilicane (Madras) is typical except for its later Banqueting Hall. The Madras Government Hall was adapted for Lord Clive in the 1790s from an earlier one, after the pattern set at Pondicherry by the residence built for Dupleix some fifty years earlier. There superimposed arcaded verandahs before clerestory-lit major spaces were articulated with Doric and Ionic orders in the Academic classical manner of early 18th-century France. At Triplicane, however, much lighter colonnaded verandahs, elegant if not exactly following set rules of spacing, were erected around much of the side as well as the front. The whole complex is dominated by the Doric banqueting hall, which, even in its original form without the lower arcading but not the least in the application of column to wall was as remote from its ostensible model, the Parthenon, as the main house is from Academic Classical principle. Bombay Town Hall

Quite different in its exceptional neoclassical gravitas is the Bombay Town Hall of Colonel Thomas Cowper, Bombay engineers. It is hardly inferior to many of the works of the masters of French neo-classicism. The Greek Doric Order of its powerful templefronts doubtless came from the principal source of the English Greek Revival, the work of Stuart and Revett, and the dramatically lit staircase leads to a splendid Corinthian Hall worthy of a mature student of Vitruvius Britannicus. Despite their airy porticoes and slender steeples, the walled and pillared later colonial churches, usually avoid the insubstantiality if not always the coarseness, of detail characteristic of many secular works. St. Martin in the Fields was to be an enduringly popular model. The most accomplished homage paid to it was certainly in St. Georges Cathedral and St. Andrews Kirk, Madras. To the Gibbs formula, Colonel James Caldwell and Major Thomas de Havilland added side porches for St. Georges and study aedicules below the distinguished steeple. St. Andrews, with an elegant fluted Ionic order and a more purely classical steeple, is adventurous in following Gibbs alternative scheme with circular nave. Contrary to the prevailing fashion, indeed unusual in its centralized plan, is Colonel James Skinners Greek cross church of St. James, Delhi , the dome of which distantly recalls such High Renaissance works as San Gallos Santa Maria di Loretto in Rome.

St. James, Delhi

The increase in British influence led to traditional architecture becoming more eclectic in its choice of sources. A projection of British architecture as that associated with power and influence was a first and essential step for its elements to be associated with the architecture of Indian patrons, both Muslim and Hindu. Amongst examples too numerous to count, the Tomb of Mushirzadi (1814) and the Kaiserbagh at Lucknow, the Gopalji Temple, Tipu Sultans Mosque and the Sitambara Jain Temple, all in Calcutta, can be mentioned.

Tipu Sultan's Mosque, Calcutta Architecture, of course, is only one facet of the whole picture. The subcontinent was now firmly part of Britains colonial responsibilities, and one aspect of the structural changes wrought by the British was a change in the education system, and increased intellectual contact between the two countries. It is ironic that these changes, brought about to convince the Indians of the superiority of British civilization, would partly fuel the nationalist debate in India, based on the same civilizational values that the British espoused. July 11, 2004 British Colonial Architecture III A Search for an Imperial Style by Ashish Nangia The debate in Britain in the 19th century was centered around the form imperial administration should take. While one school of thought spoke for preserving as much as possible the culture of the countries under rule, others spoke of supplanting native systems by a wholly British one. This school of thought was also fiercely orthodox, promoting the preaching of Christianity as one of the main aims of empire. The nineteenth century British paramountcy searched for an appropriate style for its architecture. Although there was room for exoticism, by and large the esthetical values of a Christian civilization were espoused by Pugin and Ruskin and the classical pattern book ceded to the Ecclesiologist for churches in India as well as in England right from the early 19th century. The Empire derived its moral legitimacy from its burden to spread civilization and universal values among the peoples of the world. India was seen as a morally degenerate civilization, which

though once great had slipped from the true path of progress, mainly by a rigid system of caste and exploitation by the rulers. If Empire had to rule, it had to be seen to be ruling, and this was to be expressed, among other things, in the buildings constructed by the British. What had started in the early days as utilitarian architecture forts and military buildings evolved by the late 19th century into a full-fledged search for form and meaning, an architecture appropriate to the most valuable possession of the British crown India.

Colonial architecture in India closely followed the developments in the metropole but also sought, for greater legitimacy, inspiration from existing architecture in India, sometimes with quite unexpected results. From the 1840s it was the norm for the Anglo-Indian church builder to follow the precedent set by the revivers of the many permutations of Gothic in England. Most usually, fervent ethical principle and imperialism rather than practicality recommended the translation to India of the great expanse of glass that was the principal characteristic of British Perpendicular Gothic. Other mediaeval styles, weightier than Gothic, served for momentous exercises such as the Mutiny Memorial Church (aka All Souls Cathedral) at Kanpur or the last garrison church built in New Delhi by Lutyens associate.

The Italian Gothic preferred by John Ruskin for secular works, and applied most influentially to public buildings in England, was seen to be well adapted to conditions in India. After numerous essays in northern styles, the masterly Venetian designs sent out by Sir Gilbert Scott for Bombay University were decisive. The hybrid aspect of this style that Scott devised for Bombay, though still foreign and historicist, was a crucial pointer for English builders away from a narrow cultural chauvinism towards a building style more Indian. This would be the beginnings of a truly imperial style that reached its apogee at New Delhi.

These developments may be traced primarily in the great public building campaign launched in Bombay in the second half of the 1860s by the energetic Governor, Sir Bartle Frere of which Scotts buildings were so significant

a product. The campaign opened with the Decorated Gothic scheme for the rebuilding of St. Thomass cathedral by the Government Architect, James Trubshaw. This was only partially realised but Trubshaw made a weighty contribution, in collaboration with W. Paris, in the General Post and Telegraph Office of 1872. Of other landmarks produced by the campaign, William Emersons Crawford Market in an elementary Northern Gothic delineated in the various colored stones which contributed so much to the Gothic revival in Bombay reflected the ideals of the early design reformers at home more nearly than any other prominent Anglo-Indian buildings of the period.

For the Public Works Secretariat, Colonel Henry St. Clair Wilkins, Royal Engineers, followed Scotts lead with a Venetian Gothic design in 1877 and his colleague, Colonel John Fuller mixed Venetian and Early English for the stupendous High Court of 1879.

The culminating masterpieces of the series, increasingly hybrid in style, are Frederick Stevens works, especially Victoria Terminus (1878-87), the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway.

Like Scotts University buildings, the Venetian Gothic of Stevens splendid terminus is infused with Indian decorative elements. Stevens was also responsible for the municipal buildings built in 1893 opposite Victoria Terminus and for the slightly later Bombay, Baroda and Central Indian Railway Terminus at Churchgate.

Innovation did not stop here. With his Calcutta General Post Office, Walter Cranville fused the Classical and Baroque.

For the Victoria Memorial at the other end of the Maidan, William Emerson tried to emulate the Taj Mahal in material if not in form. This last was a symptom of Indo-Saracenic hybridisation, and was increasingly being attempted at different sites in the subcontinent, as at St. Johns College, Agra, and the High Court, Madras, in addition to the already existing mid-18th century Chepauk Palace, Madras. August 8, 2004 British Colonial Architecture IV The Seats of Power - Shimla and New Delhi by Ashish Nangia

The British Empire legitimized its colonial rule as an entity furthering the abstract principles of the Rule of Law, the Progress of Industrialized Society and the Model Ruler. It is thus ironical that the public buildings of the empire were anything but of the people, in the main they continued the well-established Indian traditions of ostentation and luxury. This is in contrast to the partan accommodation of the majority of officials who actually governed - they lived in the ubiquitous bungalow, originating from the simple double-roofed hut of Bengal, and which would expand in size and complexity on a scale ascending strictly in accordance with the gradations of their hierarchically ordered service. An essential ingredient was the Classical portico, extended to form the sun-shielding verandah in more elevated permutations, asserting the dignity of the ruler without ostentation.

Shimla was the viceroys seat for half the year, during the summer months. The vice-regal lodge here is patterned after an English great house, complete with a quaint reproduction of a rural parish church, now in ruin and inhabited mostly by bats and a play space for children who live near. Even though the vice-regal lodge is grand, it pales in contrast with the last capital of British India laid out from 1913 by Sir Edwin Lutyens in collaboration with Sir Herbert Baker, who was fresh from his imperious triumph at Pretoria. King George V proclaimed the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi at the climax of the 1911 Imperial Durbar. New Delhi was inaugurated early in 1931. Like Calcutta, it was stamped with the hallmark of authority and like most other seats of British power in India it stood apart from its Indian predecessors. This was contrary to the original intention. The prevailing enthusiasm of Anglo-Indian imperial designers for the synthesis of eastern and western styles quailed before the problem of assimilating an urban order, devised in accordance with the principles of the modern English Garden City, and the vital chaos of Shahjahanabad: the latter seemed to be the very embodiment of all the evils of laissez-faire growth that the formulators of the Garden City movement specifically deplored. An equilateral triangle is defined by the ceremonial, administrative and commercial centers of the new metropolis. The commercial centre in the north forms the apex. Rajpath, the east-west axis of power, provides their base. The north-east diagonal serves the Law; the north-west diagonal bypasses the cathedral and the originally unforeseen parliament. Rajpath is aligned with the entrance to the Purana Quila. It runs through the India Gate War Memorial and the portal buildings of Bakers secretariat, from the chattri in which the citys founder, the King-Emperor, stood in imperial majesty to the durbar hall of the house where his Viceroy sat. Lutyens had arrived in India to undertake this great work with little or no respect or appreciation

for the architectural legacy which preceded him, and his views grew only the more derogatory with first-hand familiarity especially with the Anglo-Indian Imperial hybrids developed by his immediate predecessors. Many Europeans in India were of a similar opinion. The Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, however, asserted that the new capital was being built for a joint British-Indian administration and must symbolize reciprocity between the British and Indians of all creeds. In his Indian Architecture of 1913, E.B. Havell pointed to the example of Akbar and maintained that, through architecture, enlightened patronage could reconcile racial and religious differences. The king had of course the casting vote, and he himself showed a proclivity for the Mughal style. Lutyens was forced to concede (as if he had a choice!) that indigenous decorative motifs might be used within reason, their luxuriance providing a foil for Classical order. Centered on the great circular durbar hall, the Viceroys House is clearly a revision of its Calcutta predecessor. Both have a ceremonial core and four satellite blocks of living and office quarters, though in Delhi the western ones containing the Vice-regal and state guest apartments are linked to the centre not by loggias but by the major suite of reception rooms. Apart from the English country house derivation of the plan and the Pantheon ancestry of the durbar hall, Lutyens imperial eclecticism ranged from Wrens St. Stephens Wallbrook (for the Viceroys library) to the Mahastupa at Sanchi (for the central cupola) and the chahar bagh. On the way he took in the ubiquitous Indian chattri and chadya, cross-fertilized acanthus and volute with padma and bell for his Order and tethered Indian elephants at salient portal corners where the great ancient Mesopotamian monarchies had ceremonial syncretic winged monsters. Baker was equally liberal with his Indian motifs in the Secretariats and the massive, strangely unassertive, circular Parliament building, but Lutyens thought him singularly insensitive to the spirit of the scheme as a whole in the angle at which he set Rajpaths ascent between the Secretariats to the plane of the Viceroys house. Apparently there is a saying which warns of the dangers of building at Delhi the saying prophesies that the empire will soon be lost. Whether it be myth or not, the fact is that independence for India was near. After Independence, there was a brief protest against the continued use of the Viceroys house as a state building, arguing that its colonial antecedents would make it a continuing reminder of the past. This debate however did not last long and the Viceroys house is today Rashtrapati Bhawan, the state house of the President of India. The only concession made was to remove the statue of King George V from its cupola, to be replaced by that of Gandhi (the cupola remains empty to this day). The British crown lost its biggest jewel in 1947, but not before the subcontinent was divided into two, and this legacy haunts the politics of the region to this day. August 22, 2004 New Delhi A New Capital by Ashish Nangia

A New Capital A visible symbol of British supremacy over India was New Delhi the 'New' being added to distinguish it from the older cities that preceded the last and most famous being the walled city of the Mughal emperor. One major imperative for the new city, of course, was that it had to surpass in all respects its predecessor. New Delhi is thus a strange but wonderful story of an Empire in its heyday, but also of an Empire that would soon crumble. A search for a monumental and imperial architecture, but also an architectural vocabulary that would be representative of the subcontinent. And Robert Byron, traveling through India in the 1930s, would say: The traveller drives out of Old Delhi, past the Jama Masjid and the Fort. A flat country brown, scrubby and broken lies on either side. This country has been compared with the Roman Campagna: at every hand, tombs and mosques Mogul times and earlier, weathered to the color of the earth bear witness to former Empires. The road describes a curve and embarks imperceptibly on a gradient. Suddenly, on the right, a scape of towers and dome is lifted from the horizon, sunlit pink and cream dancing against the blue sky, fresh as a cup of milk, grand as Rome. Close at hand the foreground discloses a white arch. The motor turns off the arterial avenue, and skirting the low red base of the gigantic monument, comes to a stop. The traveller heaves a breath. Before his eyes, sloping gently upwards, runs a gravel way of such infinite perspective as to suggest the intervention of a diminishing glass; at whose end, reared above the green tree tops, glitters the seat of government, the seventh Delhi, four square upon an eminence dome, tower, dome, tower, dome, red, pink, cream, and white washed gold and flashing in the morning sun. The traveller loses a breath, and with it his apprehensions and preconceptions. Here is something not merely worthy, but whose like has never been. With a shiver of impatience he shakes off contemporary standard, and makes ready to evoke those of Greece, of Renaissance, and the Moguls.

History George V used the occasion of his second visit to India, and the great Coronation Durbar that followed, to announce the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. This decision was of both strategic and political significance. Delhi was not only more central to the Empire's increasing influence over the subcontinent, but it was also the symbolic head of government for centuries. To shift into an existing city, however, was out of the question the new power demanded a new city. Planning for the new capital had begun well before the actual shift, and addressed questions of urban planning and an appropriate architectural style. (Image showing an ariel view of Rajpath)

In Britain, a relatively little-known architect, till now specializing in country houses, managed by dint of enterprise and family connections to become the forerunner for the new capital team. His name was Edwin Lutyens.

Together with his friend Herbert Baker, Lutyens appropriated to himself the task of creating an architecture fitted for the Raj, contemptuous of what had passed before as architecture, both by Indian dynasties and by his British colleagues. Planning inspiration came from other imperial models and new capital cities: the Paris and Champs-Elyses of Baron Haussmann, Wren's unbuilt plan for London, as well as L'Enfant's plan

for Washington DC. Other planning ideas came from contemporary British experiments in urbanism: the Circus at Bath for Connaught Place, and Hampstead Garden City for the residential suburbs of New Delhi.

Architecture and Symbology The New Delhi town plan, like its architecture, was chosen with one single chief consideration: to be a symbol of British power and supremacy. All other decisions were subordinate to this, and it was this framework that dictated the choice and application of symbology and influences from both Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim architecture. And so, while many elements of New Delhi architecture borrow from indigenous sources, they have to fit into a British Classical/Palladian tradition. Lutyens was openly scornful of 'experiments' in developing an Anglo-Indian style that had preceded him, such as the ones at Bombay and Delhi. Indian architecture, for him, was nothing better than random spurts of inspiration, but had not much of a style to emulate or to be inspired from. If, in fact, there were any indigenous features in the design, these were due to the persistence and urging of both the Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, and historians like E.B. Havell. Divided Responsibilities Responsibility for the plan rested chiefly with Lutyens, the more so after a dispute with Baker over the exact location for the Viceroy's house. However, in terms of architecture, the division of labor was more exact: the Viceroy's house was Lutyens', with Baker were the Secretariat buildings. Together, Lutyens and Baker, in the Viceroy's House, and what are today known as North and South Blocks, created one of the most monumental public spaces of the 20th century. This was also the origin of the dispute between the two: for Lutyens, the steep slope towards Raisina Hill would obscure 'his' Viceroy's House for some time, while for Baker a gentler slope would undermine his conception of the Secretariats. Baker would eventually have his way, but the professional discord would undermine the friendship between the two men. India Gate (All India War Memorial Arch, 1921-1931) Conceived originally as a memorial to fallen Indian soldiers in the service of the British army, India Gate was originally called the War Memorial Arch, and designed after its predecessors, the Arc de Triomphe and Porte St. Denis in Paris. On its walls are inscribed the names of 60,000 men who fell fighting for the British empire. A politically appropriate monument, the archway also completed Kings Way (now Rajpath), the monumental central axis of New Delhi. The Legislative Building (Parliament House)

The Montague-Chelmsford reform of 1919 brought a certain legislative responsibility upon Indians, and with it the need for a legislative building as part of the New Delhi complex arose. Parliament House in its final form was Baker's conception, an odd circular form in a predominantly orthogonal planning scheme. In spite of the difficulty of citing a circular building in the urban plan, Baker creation is not without architectural merit, with an imposing exterior colonnade and an interior three-pointed plan with a central, domed space.

Princely Residences For the Indian princes, a house ('palace') in the New Delhi scheme was an indicator of their prestige. (That this prestige was mostly on paper was a fact that would be painfully clear soon after 1947). The princely houses in New Delhi Hyderabad, Baroda and Jaipur among others were more symbolic than actual representations of power. The biggest of these was Hyderabad House, for the Nizam of Hyderabad, perhaps at the time the richest man in the world. Lutyens' plan was adapted from the 'butterfly' scheme he had already employed as far back as 1902, and took care not to rival in splendor the Viceroy's residence. More clearly classical in origin than the Imperial buildings, Hyderabad House is less ornate and yet more original as a typology. At Baroda House Lutyens chose, with the full approval of his British-educated client, not to indulge in any concessions towards Indian motifs and traditions. Baroda House is Anglo-Saxon in aspect and finishes, and here the butterfly plan is cut in two in the center. Churches Although Lutyens dreams for a great cathedral were never realized, other churches came up around New Delhi. One of these, the Garrison Church for Delhi Cantonment (Architect: Arthur Shoosmith) would be a forerunner of the modern architectural movement in India). The other, the Church of the Redemption by H.A.N. Medd, was directly next to the Viceroy's House. Conclusion

New Delhi was an enormous political, strategic and also ultimately logistical undertaking. 700 million bricks, 100,000 cubic feet of marble, 3500 stone dressers for the sandstone...all of these under local conditions of heat and dust, irregular power supply and water and finally the numerous and often conflicting directions from various sources of authority. A world war intervened and slowed down construction. However, after all, 17 years of continuous construction saw New Delhi in a state ready to be inaugurated in 1931. This was a grand gala affair of dances and cocktails, of pomp and grand receptions, all celebrating the British empire's greatest architectural achievement. The impeccable geometry and order imposed by the Delhi plan on the site was emblematic of the order imposed on the world by the British empire. What irony! In 1931, it was already clear that British rule in India was drawing to a close. Like the Raj, New Delhi was already the symbol of an age that was ending an age of splendor, an age of Kings. June 5, 2005 Top | Architecture All black and white images copyright Andreas Volwahsen All color images under license with The Architecture of the Princely States by Ashish Nangia The term princely states applies to those regions of India not under direct control of the British, but which continued to be ruled by their traditional rulers.In that sense the term princely is misleading, since these rulers were kings in their own right. However for the British there was only one King, and he was in London, and so the term princely states came into being. In the early 19th century, the East India Company had established treaties with many Maharajas who, in return for nominal independence, accepted British rule and Pax Britannica friendship with their neighbors. However, the Companys policy of war and annexation led to a band of rulers forming a loose confederation against the British, what would be called the Mutiny of 1857. Though the rebellion was crushed, the British Crown became wary of continuing the policy of annexation, and entered into treaties with almost all these states.After the 1858 transference of power, the British Crown became the guarantor of peace and commerce treaties. From the middle of the 19th century until 1947 the princes ostensibly controlled 40 percent of India. They were, however, watched over by British agents and their powers, though real, were limited to internal matters. The ambiguity of their status led to a substantial concern for the symbols of identity. Many of these symbols were manifested in elaborate patterns of behavior parades, durbars, entertainment but their physical manifestation was in their architecture. When the British replaced the Mughals as the controlling group, the inspiration for much of Indian architecture became English in origin, closely tied with what was happening in Britain. As for the princes, they were educated along British lines, taken on tours of Europe and introduced to Western manners and norms. This change in lifestyle began to be reflected in their architecture as well. In their palaces, old reception rooms gave way to durbar halls, rooms for European guests were built and ways to entertain guests were provided. Dining and drawing rooms were

introduced; fireplaces, marble fountains and statues, oil paintings and stuffed animals began to be displayed in the halls and drawing rooms. New education, new social functions and new engineering techniques led to a new architecture created by British architects, British army engineers and often the princes themselves. The princes were expected to be both traditional and modern to retain traditional feudal powers but to create a new India. Some, of course, were more successful than others.

The new princely towns of Jaipur, Bikaner and Mysore showed themselves amongst the most successful in negotiating this divide. Their towns were modeled along British examples clock towers, railway stations, public offices, assembly halls, water systems and public hospitals were built. Buildings were European classical, or if constructed later, Indo-Saracenic, or again an eclectic mix. In evidence are Mughal antecedents at Bikaner, Beaux-Arts Classicism at Kapurthala (Jagatjit Palace), Italian Renaissance at Cooch Bihar, Porbandar, Gwalior and Tripura, and British Classicism at Kashmir. Many palaces mixed styles and out of this mixture emerged two newer substyles in addition to the Indo-Saracenic what Miki Desai has called Renaissance-Oriental and Indian-Eclectic.

Some examples of the former are the Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad built in 1872, the Gwalior Jai Vilas Palace (1872-74) designed by Sir Michael Filose for Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia, Lal Bagh, Indore designed as a Palladian Villa by the Calcutta firm of Triggs and Co., Tripuras Vijayanta Palace, and Jagatjit Palace Kapurthala for the Maharaja of Kapurthala, patterned along French Beaux-Arts Classicism.

The Indian-Eclectic was modelled on royal luxury but its referents were also to Indian myths and folk tales as well as earlier architectural patterns and motifs.Much of it borders on the Indo-Saracenic but it tends to be more eclectic in its selection of ancient referents. The Amba Vilas Palace (1900-1910) in Mysore by Henry Irwin is a mixture of influences: fluted pillars from the Red Fort in Delhi, onion domes from the Taj Mahal, Mughal tracery and European halls. The use of Indo-Saracenic in the princely states can be seen in a number of places: the Kohlapur Palace at Mant, the Laxmi Vilas Palace at Baroda, and the Durbargadh Waghaji Palace (1882) in Morvi, an Indo-Venetian Gothic building with Saracenic domes and Rajput arches. This last is a magnificent example, but much of it has been damaged by the Bhuj earthquake of January 2001. As the Gothic replaced the Classical in Bombay, it was picked up for use by the princely states Bangalore Palace has a similarity to the one at Windsor Castle in England.

Laxmi Villas Palace, Baroda

Durbargarh Palace, Bhuj

Such palaces were a sophisticated political symbol of the imperial presence. Outwardly Indian and built by Indian hands, the overall control stayed with the British. They reflect the appearance of the power of the princes and the real power behind their thrones. In the real world, the princes had very little power, and so they turned inward on their own little territories and lives, living as if there was no tomorrow in a unreal world of pomp and splendor which had no substance. August 29, 2004 British Colonial Architecture: Towns, Cantonments & Bungalows by Ashish Nangia

Urban Design While British supremacy did not change the fact that India was becoming rapidly urbanized, it did lead to new alignments and priorities, since the controlling power was now different. A number of new towns and new suburbs were built to house the British, and the pattern of new town planning changed. India was still divided into administrative districts as under the Mughals, and the towns which functioned as district headquarters were the ones where most of the new architecture was built. The planning and urban design policies of the British followed certain principles (a) their perceptions of the nature of the Indian city, (b) the fear of further revolts along the lines of the Mutiny of 1857, (c) Haussmanns plan for Paris which had become so popular in Europe and which advocated cutting through and demolishing old city centers to make space for new construction and boulevards, and (d) planning techniques already in use for Britains industrial cities. In the main the effort was to physically and socially separate the Europeans from the indigenous populace the so-called White and Black towns of Madras being an example. This being done an effort, though sometimes belated, was also made to enforce sanitary and developmental guidelines on the old towns, though these had little effect as in the main they failed to take into account traditional ways of community life. In some cases new urban design smacked of retribution Delhi and Lucknow in particular, being the centers of the Mutiny of 1857, lost large parts of their historic areas to new British planning and city-core demolitions. The economic boom of the later half of the 19th century translated into frenetic building activity in British India. The application of urban design guidelines resulted in the unified character that old British settlements in India still possess. These urban design projects could not fail to be influenced by precedents in Britain: the Royal Crescent at Bath by John Wood, and the Quadrant in Regents Park, London by John Nash were particularly influential, translating into Elphinstone Circle (now Horniman Circle) in Bombay. As pressure on space grew, British architecture progressed from single buildings set in open surrounding to more densely packed urban schemes, as in the cities of Calcutta and Bombay. In addition to major urban design schemes, it was the civil lines and the cantonments which remain today a major evidence of 19th century British presence, and which in turn have influenced much middle-class housing development in modern India. This stems from their perception as the colonies of the elite. The cantonments and civil lines both were generally laid out as gridiron planned communities with central thoroughfares (the famous Mall Roads), with tree-lined streets, regularly divided building plots and bungalows as the main housing type. Churches and cemeteries, clubs, race and golf courses, and other trappings of an easy civil life were soon to follow. The Cantonment and the Bungalow

Kabul Cantonment The Cantonment was a British military settlement which was to spread out all over India wherever the British were present in sizable numbers. Originally conceived as a military base for British troops, the cantonment also began to house civilians who were associated with servicing the military, and developed into a full-fledged mini-city of its own. The second half of the 19th century saw this transformation complete. Bangalore cantonment had, for example, a population of 100,000 by the early 20th century and consisted of public offices, churches, parks, shops and schools. It was an entity distinct from the old city traffic between the two had to stop at a tollgate and pay entry tax. The cantonment thus developed into a European town in India, whose main house type was the bungalow. The bungalows design evolved as a type over a hundred years. While the actual model for a bungalow remains controversial, it appears to have dual origins: the detached rural Bengal house sitting in its compound (from the word root bangla from Bengal), and the British suburban villa. It was a fusion of these two types that led to a building form which would later become an enduring symbol of the Raj.

The first bungalows inhabited by the East India Company agents were initially the same as the kutcha local ones, but gradually outstripped their origins to become an accurate reflection of hierarchy amongst the English community. The typical residential bungalow for the wealthy, for example, was set back from the road by a walled compound. The amount of land enclosed was a symbol of status. For a senior officer a ratio of 15:1, garden to built form, was appropriate, while for a beginning rank it could even be 1:1. In this sense the British showed a hierarchical system no less developed than the complex caste system which they ascribed to India.

The early bungalows had long, low classical lines and detailing. The Gothic revival in England brought about a corresponding change in bungalow design spawning buildings with pitched roofs and richly carpentered details including such features as the monkey tops of Bangalore. The Classical bungalow with its Doric, and later, in New Delhi for instance, Tuscan orders became a symbol not only of an European heritage but also of the military and political might of Britain. That the bungalow continues to evoke associations of wealth and power is evident from its continued relevance as a building type in India today. September 12, 2004 Nascent Nationalism and Indian Architecture by Ashish Nangia From the middle of the 19th century, nationalistic currents in India began to be more and more pronounced. These were the result of English education making itself felt amongst the wealthier class of Indian on the one hand, and the efforts of indigenous reformers on the other, who felt that Indian traditional culture and customs were in danger of being wiped out by European culture. The

first lot would go on to espouse increasing modernity and appropriation of the industrial, financial and governmental institutions of the West as a way for India to catch up with the developed world, while the second category would militate for a return to traditional values and culture systems as the path for India to recover her lost glory. These streams have been variously classed as the Modernist movement and the Swadeshi/Revivalist movement, but it is also equally certain that these labels have been applied with the advantage of hindsight, and that at the time there were no clear-cut differences between various people working for or towards a pan-Indian nationalism, but rather different points of view as to how to best achieve the target of greater self-sufficiency, autonomous decision-making and safeguarding and preserving what remained of Indian traditional skills and customs. As with all beginnings, here too a philosophy of nationalism had to be worked out before it found an echo in art and architecture. In Bengal, the Tagore brothers (Rabindranath, Abanindranath and Gaganendranath) were the chief founders of what would be later called the Bengal school of artistic thought. Strongly revivalist in character, the school would be known later for housing and giving patronage for artists from all over India, with an emphasis on folk themes, the rejection of European techniques and a search for a pan-Asian art form. These ideals would find an echo in the architecture of Shantiniketan, Rabindranath Tagores school of art and culture begun in 1901, providing education from the preschool to a graduate level. Shantiniketans development would be closely identified with that of the nationalist movement, especially the so-called swadeshi branch. It was inevitable, then, that the architecture of Shantiniketan would search to find appropriate inspiration and symbology in Indias past. The school buildings have eclectic origins, ranging from Buddhist gateways and columns to Mughal and Rajput style window openings, even though the floor plan designs themselves remain far more functional. Gandhi was another nationalist whose ideas of life, nationalism and Indias future course are so well known that it would be futile to discuss them at length here. These ideals of simplicity, equality, austerity and non-violence found ample reflection in the architecture of the many ashrams which he established or patronized, both in South Africa and in India. The Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad is a very representative example. Here, the buildings emulate those in a simple village, with mud and brick construction, low thatched roofs and sometimes even straw mats for doors and windows. Open spaces between the huts and buildings continue the metaphor of village life, as did Gandhis insistence on self-sufficiency

and dignity of labor. A curious movement would be started by Sris Chandra Chatterjee in the 1930s, curious because it was called the Modern Indian Architectural Movement but referred in the main to a pastiche of traditional symbology and elements stuck on the facades of fairly functional structures. In this sense it made for easy identification and was popular with indigenous clients because it contained visibly identifiable symbols from the past. In 1940, Chatterjee was one of the patrons of the All India League of Indian Architecture, which had strong ideological roots in the architectural styles of Shantiniketan and Sabarmati Ashram.

The stated intent of the League was the search for a specifically Indian Architecture and among its aims were to write textbooks and manuals to further hone the skills of people who already had a background in construction or the arts (for example architects, engineers and painters). Chatterjees most famous work is the Lakshmi-Narayan Temple at Delhi, near Connaught Place, a colossal place of worship funded by the Birlas in 1938.

Apart from this, he also built the Arya Dharma Sangha Dharamsala at Sarnath in 1935, as well as a project for the Deshbandhu memorial to the Princess of Agartala. A few urban planning projects were also inspired by these schools of thought. The plan (shown in the image below) of the Benares Hindu University (BHU) campus was supposedly based on Vedic principles, and so were many of the prominent buildings within it. It is clear now that the nationalist movement found a clear echo in art and architecture of the period.

Architects attempted to search the past for appropriate symbology which could effectively be used in the present as a reflection of popular sentiment, a sentiment which was turning decisively against the British and eventually against all things white and foreign. It is not clear how much they achieved architecturally, for much of the world from the period, even avowedly revivalist, is merely a cloaking of modern-age requirements and plans by a pastiche of elements chosen, if not randomly, then at least eclectically. However, what can be said with certainty is that the architecture of the time was an accurate reflection of society a society seeking for self-definition and turning to one source of inspiration after another to find it. September 26, 2004 Post Independence India Partition and After: New Challenges for a New Nation by Ashish Nangia Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and the time comes now to redeem our pledge With these historic words, Jawaharlal Nehru stood on the ramparts of the Red Fort at Delhi and proclaimed the new Republic of India on the night of August 14, 1947. The largest democracy in the world came into being, symbolizing a new hope, a new promise to millions of people who had till then been under the British flag. The birth of the new nation also signaled forever the end of the British empire, which, having lost the jewel in its crown and substantially enfeebled at the end of

the Second World War, would never again be the same world power. But if there was joyous celebration in India, there was also enough cause for sorrow. The country had been divided into three, with India bounded on both sides by another state whose self-declared aim was to protect the rights of the Muslims of the subcontinent. This event led to the largest transmigration of population ever to take place in history, with millions of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs from both sides of the border uprooted from their lands and homes, to go and settle in an alien land with which, in many cases, they had few ties. The communal riots that accompanied this displacement must go down in history as the bloodiest hand-over of power ever. The flames of partition subsiding, the new Indian State was faced with a gargantuan task. There was debilitating poverty. There were millions of refugees without a home. The State was short of almost everything, from food to medicines, from industry and infrastructure to skilled manpower, from housing to distribution systems for relief and aid. A massive nationwide program, thus, was launched. Housing for the refugees, improvement of conditions in villages and rural areas, the building of industry and institutions were only some of the challenges faced by architects and planners in India. Compounding this was the fact that very few of the post-independence Indian architects had any experience with dealing with projects on such a massive scale, they being mostly employed during British times as draftsmen and working under British architects. Thus it came to pass that most of the large and prestigious projects in post-independence India continued to be directed by foreigners of all nationalities. This was not uncommon, with a transition period being the norm in most professions, from the military to the administration and bureaucracy. In architecture and urban planning, for example, Otto Koenigsberger was responsible for a large amount of rebuilding and reconstruction work, Albert Mayer the American oversaw many village development projects, Joseph Allen Stein (also American) stayed on in India and later became almost single-handedly responsible for a style of architecture that created a whole new school of disciples, and A.L. Fletcher of the ICS would go on to be responsible for the initial studies for the new city of Chandigarh. In engineering and construction, the State invested massively in heavy industry and giant infrastructural projects. It was at this time that the foundations for various public undertakings were laid (in electricity, coal, metals, and fuel, for example). These would go on to be, in most cases, lossmaking behemoths some years down the line, but at the time they laid a substantial industrial base. This aim was concomitant with Nehrus policy of placing the West on tap, not on top, a policy which translated into investment in heavy industry, and providing at the same time protectionism to the fragile indigenous Indian industrial and crafts base. Giant infrastructure projects like the Bhakra dam in the Punjab were direct offshoots of this policy. India required new towns to house the displaced population of East and West Pakistan (now Bangladesh and Pakistan). Towards this goal, many additions were made to existing cities. Towns

like Jullunder, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Ambala in the Punjab were enlarged to accommodate the new population, and Delhi underwent as well massive new construction to house its immigrant population. But these additions were simply not enough, and besides, the state of Punjab, now partitioned in two, had lost its historic capital, Lahore, to Pakistan. Similar events had taken place further south, in Gujarat, and in the East. It was to create new capitals in these dispossessed states that the new cities of Chandigarh, Bhubhaneswar and Gandhinagar were built. There is a lot of criticism today about the decisions taken in postIndependence India: that the Nehruvian version of socialism ignored the development of private capitalism and instead placed too much reliance on state-controlled investment, giving rise to sluggish, Hindu rate of growth and a corrupt, licence Raj. This is easy to say, given the benefit of hindsight. But would it not be fair to also say that in a new nation where there were many opposing forces, a strong state was needed to ensure unity and a show of force (as that displayed in Hyderabad, Kashmir, the North-East and Goa), was ultimately a necessity to ensure that India as we know it today continued to exist? It is remarkable that India remained united and one country politically in the turbulent years following independence, and retained and in fact strengthened its democratic character. It is this mixture of opposites that characterized the India of 1947, and continues to be its main feature today. To close, two photographs, shown above and alongside, from the period by the recentlydeceased French photographer (and an Indophile) Henri-Cartier Bresson, speak for themselves, on the challenges and paradoxes of the India of 1947. October 24, 2004 The City of Chandigarh I The Start of an Utopia by Ashish Nangia In 1947, at the command of the British viceroy and with the consent of the future leaders of India and Pakistan, Sir Radcliffe drew a line in the sand, dividing the British empire in the Indian subcontinent into two new entities: the nations of India and Pakistan. The rationale behind this division was the pre-independence politics of India a militant Muslim League led by Jinnah fuelled by the fear of being a minority in a Hindu-dominated nation, and an equally uncompromising Congress led by Nehru and Patel, which wanted independence from British rule as fast as possible, even at the cost of a divided nation. Radcliffes job was next to impossible in the best of circumstances the state of Punjab, through which the line was to be drawn was an incredibly homogenous mix of three communities

Hindu, Muslim and Sikh living together in close proximity and sharing the same physical space in villages, towns and cities, and bound together by social and economic ties fostered by generations of cohabitation. It was inevitable, thus, that entire villages and communities found themselves on the wrong side of the line, Muslims finding themselves in the heart of Hindustan and Hindus and Sikhs being stranded in Pakistan. The word stranded is used with some thought. The new states of India and Pakistan quickly assumed mutually antagonistic postures, and to be the wrong religion in the wrong country was at the time a life-threatening danger, in spite of official protestations to the contrary.

The aftermath of the partition of India led to the greatest known exchange of population in history. It is estimated that 15 million people crossed the Radcliffe line both ways, leaving behind in a now foreign land the major part of their immovable property, as well as most of their wealth. The infrastructure of both the new countries, already taxed to the limit, was simply incapable of coping. (Image shown from the Tribune Ambala, 1950). Huge refugee camps were set up on both sides of the new international border. There was shortage of medicine, food, relief supplies, clothing, bedding, housing. To this was added the daily toll in human lives from the riots that took place on both sides of the border disgruntled and angry citizens venting their ire on members of the other community, till recently their co-citizens, neighbors and even friends. For north India, most of the 1950s were occupied by a mammoth effort to undo the damage of partition. To resettle people, to attract capital, to rebuild an economy torn by the ravages of independence. To build up infrastructure, and to provide housing and employment to its citizens. The state of Punjab was the most grievously affected. Not only did it have the maximum number of refugees from across the border, it had suffered greatly both economically and socially. Its administrative and historic capital, Lahore, the pride of the Punjabi population, was now across the border in Pakistan. Reconstruction efforts in this state thus assumed a symbolic value not only was this effort a Punjabi initiative, but it was also deemed to be a microcosm of Indias postindependence effort, and its success or failure would be Indias measure of its post-independence capability. For Punjab, and thus India, the building of a new capital city was to quickly assume the importance of a project of national priority. This city was to be a showcase of the new India, a confident new nation, though based on its ancient traditions. It was also as much a social as a political experiment, designed to have space for all, from the poorest sections of people to the richest. In this sense, the new capital was also an expression of the Republic of India, based on the principles of liberty and equality. The socialist leanings of Nehru translated into his personal backing for this project. Having taken the decision to treat Chandigarh as a material expression of the optimism and the dynamism of a newly independent nation began the struggle for locating the city within the

complex matrix of Indian architecture, the history of which, in pre-independence India, stretches from the 5000 year old Indus Valley Civilization* to the British Imperial Capital of New Delhi. Located in between these two extremities are examples such as the cities of Jaipur** or nearer home to Chandigarh -- Patiala***, which like all medieval cities in India, were structured around a centrally positioned royal palace, fitted with gardens for the king and his privileged few. But, for the majority of the Indian populace, living conditions in the average Indian city of 1947 whether of colonial or indigenous origin were no better than confinement to extremely cramped and obsolete structures. Since none of the existing could have served the purpose of an appropriate symbol or an architectural and social model for a newly independent, democratic nation, it became important to have a conscious departure and create a new town, unfettered by the traditions of the past**** Utopian Dreams

From the Tribune, Ambala. February 24, 1950 The brief presented to the architects was essentially a reflection of such individual and collective perceptions of what a utopian, modern capital of independent India should be. Chandigarh would be an aesthetic and social utopia and was described variously as the last word in beauty, in simplicity and in standard of such comfort as it is our duty to provide to every human being1, the worlds most charming capital2 and a capital which would be a cultural, commercial and industrial center from it would flow life and activity throughout the Province.3 Above all, Chandigarh would be the first Indian city where opportunities for healthy living interpreted as access to water, drainage and electricity and sun, space and verdure -- would be available to even the poorest of the poor4. The vision was of a capital that would serve as a model in city planning for the nation if not the world. The near vacuum of indigenous expertise needed to realize this dream prompted the search for Western skill.5 Yet, conscious of the specificities of their situation, the search was narrowed to a good modern architect who was not severely bound by an established style and who would be capable of developing a new conception originating from the exigencies of the project itself and suited to the Indian climate, available materials and the functions of the new capital. 6 Designing The City: Early Beginnings

The Chandigarh Project was, at first, assigned to the American planner Albert Mayer,7 with his associate Matthew Nowicki working out architectural details. Le Corbusiers association with the city as also that of his three associates, Pierre Jeanneret, E. Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew -- was purely fortuitous, a result of Nowickis sudden death in August 1951. The agreement with the second team had included acceptance of the Mayer Plan. Beginning with the practical necessity of re-locating the Capitol,8 this first scheme, with its concept of a fan-shaped city with a curved network of road and varying shapes of superblocks, was soon set aside. The rest, of course, is history. The Urban Form : Generic Concepts The present urban form of Chandigarh derives from the well-ordered matrix of the generic neighborhood unit and the hierarchical circulation pattern resulting from Le Corbusiers theory of the 7Vs, with a regular grid of the fast traffic V3 roads defining each Sector. The sector itself was a self-sufficient introverted unit, making contact with the surrounding fast traffic roads at four specified points. (9R) Connections with adjoining neighborhoods were made through its V4 the shopping street, as well as the bands of open space that cut across in the contrary direction. Day-today facilities for shopping, healthcare, recreation and the like were arrayed along the V4 all on the shady side. (10R) The vertical green belts, with the pedestrian V7, contained sites for schools and sports activities. Disposition of Functions

A city such as described above could be placed almost anywhere. But what distinguishes Chandigarh are the attributes of its site. The natural edges formed by the hills and the two rivers, the gently sloping plain with groves of mango trees, (10L) a stream bed meandering across its length and the existing road and rail lines all were to play their role in influencing the distribution of functions, establishing the hierarchy of the roads and giving the city its ultimate civic form. 9 (Image shows the Master Plan of Chandigarh) Connecting the various accents of the city such as the Capitol, the City Centre, the University, The Industrial Area, etc. and scaling its matrix were the citys V2s, of which the Jan Marg (Peoples Avenue), was designed as the ceremonial approach to the Capitol with the Leisure Valley10 reinforcing its directionality. The second V2, Madhya Marg (Middle Avenue), cutting across the city, connects the railway station and the Industrial Area to the University. The third V2, Dakshin Marg (South Avenue) demarcates the Phase One of Chandigarh,11 which was designed for a population of 150,000, the ultimate one being 500,000. Aesthetic Controls Among the tools devised to regulate the citys built mass were extensive visual controls covering

volumes, materials, textures, fenestration, and even boundary walls and gates. Recognizing the crucial role of trees as elements of urban design, a comprehensive plantation scheme was devised. A protected green belt, the Periphery set limits to the built-mass of the city.12 Architectural Components The Capitol: Besides deciding the citys layout, Le Corbusier, as the Spiritual Director of the entire enterprise had assumed the responsibility of establishing the architectural controls of the City Centre and designing the Capitol group of buildings -- the crowning glory and la raison dtre of the entire enterprise. The Capitol was to contain the three major functions of democracy the Legislative Assembly, the High Court and the Secretariat. Besides the fourth major building, the Governors Palace (later changed to Museum of Knowledge) the complex also had a number of other Monuments such as the Tower of Shadows, the Martyrs Memorial and the Open Hand. In time he would also be assigned the responsibility for designing the Government Museum and Art Gallery, the College of Art as well as some other smaller works such as the Boat Club and parts of the Sukhna Lake. Places for People To the other three architects was assigned the role of designing places for people, containers for ordinary, everyday functions such as government housing, schools, hostels, buildings for work and entertainment and of grappling with the complex exigencies of the situation. Occupying vast tracts of land all over the First Phase of Chandigarh, it is

these lesser-known constructions that were to define the constructed volume and architectural vocabulary of the city and, in general, direct the course of Modernism in India. The fact that these are also the physical and visual manifestation of the social agenda of the new republic only reinforces the need to delve deeper into the basis of their design. Chandigarh is now over 50 years old. Over time, it has evolved from being a city with deserted streets and overscaled public places to the richest city in India, with a thriving economy and a vibrant young population. That this change has come about only recently is testified by most books on the city, which till the last decade were continuously talking about the same things, i.e. a city unsuited to India and its conditions. That this has changed is visible immediately in Chandigarh today. November 21, 2004 Acknowledgements

A large part of this article is adapted from the work of Kiran Joshi, Professor, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh and author of the book Documenting Chandigarh: The Indian Architecture of Jane Drew, Maxwell Fry and Pierre Jeanneret. * The towns of this river valley civilization were compact with well-ordered street layouts and are known especially for their fairly advanced service infrastructure water supply, drainage and waste disposal. ** The plan of this famed example from Rajasthan is based on the ancient Shilpa Shastras, but has many similarities to Chandigarh such as its orthogonal plan, hierarchy of roads and even aesthetic controls. *** At a distance of some 70 km from Chandigarh, this is a much more pertinent and contextually relevant example for comparison. **** Let this be new town symbolic of the freedom of India, unfettered by the traditions of the past an expression of a nations faith in the future. Jawaherlal Nehru, Hindustan times, New Delhi, 8 July 1950. 1 Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, letter to Sardar Gurbachan Singh, April 27, 1954. 2 Gopi Chand Bhargava, Punjabs Chief Minister, June 19, 1950. 3 C M Trivedi, Governor of East Punjab. 4 Le Corbusiers vision of Chandigarh was also that of a city offering all amenities to the poorest of the poor of its citizens to lead a dignified life. 5 In looking to the West, Chandigarh was perhaps also seeking appropriate symbols to project the dynamism of a newly independent people on their march toward development. 6 P N Thapar, as reported by Norma Evenson, Chandigarh, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1966, p.25. 7 Albert Mayer was known to Prime Minister Nehru through his proposals for model villages and several town-planning projects in India. 8 See Otto Koenigsberger, Chandigarh the First and the Revised Projects, Marg,Vol. 6, No. 4, 1953, p.25. 9 The Master Plan is of poetic significance, wrote Jane Drew. It is almost biological in form. Its commanding head the Capitol group, its heart the city commercial centre, its hand the industrial area, its brain and intellectual centre in the parkland where are the museums, university, library, etc Jane Drew, Chandigarh Capital City Project, Architects Year Book, London, Elek Books Ltd., 1953, p.56. 10 This is the name given to the city park along the line of the streambed cutting across the length of Chandigarh. 11 Of the two developmental phases of the city, Phase One extends from Sectors 1 30, occupying an area of 43 sq. km. It was designed for a population of 150,000 persons, with a density of 40 persons per acre. Phase Two, though for 350, 000 persons, occupies only 27 sq. km. Its density of 144 persons per acre is more than three times that of the earlier development. 12 The need for holding the population of the city within prescribed limits led to the formulation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952. The Periphery was a Green Belt around the Master Plan Area, identified to prevent haphazard growth, provide market gardens, and, if required, direct growth. It was originally of 8km and extended to a radius of 16km in 1962. It was this totally defined and delimited entity that was to give the city its global image. The City of Chandigarh II Urban Planning, Evolution and Modern-day Issues by Ashish Nangia The end of an Utopia?

Chandigarh was planned by Le Corbusier as a CIAM (Congrs International dArchitecture Moderne) city. The CIAM was a group of architects and urban planners who formulated rules for an ideal city for the modern age in the so-called Athens Charter. In brief, the CIAM city divided human functions into work, living and leisure, and the city in its strict zoning of functions was to reflect this division of human life into cycles. At the time, the CIAM charter was designed to rid cities of the postIndustrial Revolution overcrowding and inhuman conditions which had characterized many European and American cities of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The CIAM city called for ample space, light and green areas, and stressed on the need to lead a dignified human existence. That the modern age also meant a new moral order was implicit in the CIAM charter, as well as the fact that architecture and urbanism could be the tools by which this new order could be brought about. "Urbanization cannot be conditioned by the claims of a pre-existent aestheticism; its essence is of a functional order the chaotic division of land, resulting from sales, speculations, inheritances, must be abolished by a collective and methodical land policy."

In its egalitarianism, the CIAM city responded well to the needs of a new capital city of modern India and dovetailed neatly with the founding principles liberty and equality of the new republic. Chandigarh answered to two agendas: CIAM on the one hand and the new India on the other, and was supposed to represent the best of both. Sector 17, Chandigarh (c) IJS Bakshi In its wide avenues and streets, its green spaces running right through the heart of the city, its socialist bent to housing design, Chandigarh was right from the start very different from existing Indian city cores. That this difference existed not only on paper but also in reality was apparent from a visit to the city its stark emptiness and apparently over-scaled spaces were reminiscent more of a ghost town than a living, breathing organism. This has all changed today, and with startling rapidity. Designed for a population of 500,000, Chandigarh today is the cultural, commercial, administrative and educational centre of north India, second in importance only after Delhi. India Today, in a survey, ranked Chandigarh as the richest of Indian cities (on the basis of per capita income). Traffic jams and debates on pollution are now increasingly a common feature of the cleanest Indian city. Slums, squatters and filth, once thought

to be the preserve of other cities, are no longer strangers to Chandigarh. It is clear that something has gone wrong with the CIAM ideal city. Reinforcing class inequality? The Chandigarh Master Plan That Chandigarh has not developed as planned, at least in some ways, is a reflection of the limitations of architecture and urban planning as tools to engineer social change on the one hand, and inherent flaws in the master plan on the other.

Firstly, the Chandigarh plan assumes that human activity can be regulated just as a city plan can be on paper, by division into rigid zones of work, living and leisure. This is a form of assumed social control that is difficult, if not impossible, to enforce in a democratic country. It is difficult to class people into neat categories, and equally difficult to categorize human activity and imagine that it will not change over time. Image by IJS Bakshi shows Street Vendor at Sector 17, Chandigarh. Thus the Chandigarh plan, while making ample provision for the classes of people the city was originally meant for administrators and bureaucrats, politicians and refugees made very little concession towards the people who actually ran the city the sweepers and the rickshawallas, the street vendors and the hawkers, the construction workers and the hired labor. It is these people and their daily business that fills up the interstices of the city the spaces which are no-mans land, which belong in principle to everyone and thus to no-one. In its inherent arrogance, the Chandigarh plan failed to provide space for the very people without whom the city could not be run as a functioning organism.

Secondly, Le Corbusier was a great architect, but his intrinsically instinctive approach seemed to be less conducive to practical urbanism. This translated into a flawed appreciation of how cities develop, and the real estate issues that go hand in hand. Thus, while Chandigarh was supposed to develop evenly along its three phases of development, the reality is that there is a hierarchy in the city plan, which runs from north to south, and in this hierarchy the northern sectors are more privileged than the rest, with lesser densities, more infrastructure, and better upkeep. It is no wonder that they are the living places of the citys elite the politicians and bureaucrats, and the wealthiest and oldest families of city. There is hierarchical development in every city but that there is one in Chandigarh as well, a city which had as its main goals the suppression of class struggle is a measure of the limitations of planning on basic human instinct. Chandigarh Periphery Zone (From Inner Spaces Outer Spaces of a Planned City) (c) Gopal Krishan The plan gives very little concession to political reality. While Le Corbusier mired Chandigarh in an idealistic world no development around the city for 16 kilometers to preserve its green character the fact is that the neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab have profited from the city by developing, promoting and finally selling townships of their own Panchkula and Mohali. Till date, these towns, though having a sizable population of their own, do not have sufficient infrastructure to support it and thus it is Chandigarh which now supports a daytime population much larger than what it was originally meant for. Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali are now rapidly taking on the characteristics of a metropolis, and combining together to create a much larger city than the original 47 sectors of Chandigarh. This fact has no reflection in the Chandigarh plan, which still talks about Chandigarh as an isolated island, oblivious to all external development. An Uncertain Future? It is clear that there is no political will to touch the basic precepts of the Le Corbusier plan. Being a Union Territory, Chandigarh is administered by officials on transferable jobs, officials who have barely enough time to learn the ropes before they leave. There is thus a crisis of management at

the very top, where such decisions can be taken, there is no one to take a decision which will take years, if not decades, to realize. In the meantime, the original building byelaws of the city are also relics of a past forgotten. Again, following CIAM principles, the byelaws of Chandigarh were designed to ensure a certain uniformity in building. However, while guarding against really bad building, the byelaws also stifle, and one of the critiques of Chandigarh has been that it discourages individuality. There is thus this unspoken war between constructors of new buildings and the administration the former testing the limits of what they can get away with, and the latter using a mixture of threats and cajoling to limit, if not stop, open flouting of the law. What is Chandigarh today? In spite of the strict injunctures of the Corbusier plan, it is clear that the city has come a long way from the ghost town of the 60s and 70s. The speed at which the city is growing is swamping the master plan, and the need for change to accommodate the new reality is only too apparent. Who will take the responsibility for this change, to see through a plan for Chandigarh for this century? For the moment there are no takers. December 19, 2004 The Beginnings of an Architectural Culture Delhi Post Independence Challenges by Ashish Nangia The unprecedented refugee influx from West Pakistan (it is estimated that 15 million people crossed both ways!) post-1947 meant that north Indias population underwent a sudden, substantial increase, as displaced persons from what was now Pakistan poured in across the border. Most of them settled in and around the state of Punjab, with a smaller number fanning out to other parts of India notably the Terai region in Uttar Pradesh. These people for the most part belonging to prosperous communities in West Punjab found themselves without jobs, homes and food. With nothing to lose, the refugees rebuilt their lives from scratch and their dynamism and work ethic became legend in the time to come. But first there was work to be done. The city of Delhi at this time consisted of the following parts: the old walled city of Shahjahanabad, already bursting to the seams; the Civil Lines where British civilians and their Indian staff had lived; and the administrative capital of the British empire in India New Delhi. To this list must be added the outlying areas, the Delhi ridge and the localities around the Yamuna, which were home to numerous villages and small towns that served as the agricultural hinterland for Delhi.

The citys infrastructure - in some places already taxed to its limit - was simply not prepared for a massive population increase Delhis population went from 700,000 in 1941 to nearly 2.5 million people in 1961. In the absence of sufficient housing, refugee camps sprang up all over the city. As an emergency measure, the government set up the Ministry for Relief and Rehabilitation, which had as its primary task housing the immigrants, and then absorbing them in viable occupations. Among the many new colonies were planned and built for this purpose are the modern localities of Lajpat Nagar, South Extension, Karol Bagh, New Friends Colony, Malviya Nagar, Kaka Nagar and Bapa Nagar. Some of these settlements came up at the site of refugee camps, and others clustered around existing villages and gradually absorbed them into their midst (Hauz Khas being among the better-known examples). It is not surprising that much work at the time was ad hoc, with the primary directive being speed and efficiency rather than good design. At the same time, it is incorrect to say that design principles played no role at all. The architecture of the time is marked by a fundamental unity that gives it, and the city of Delhi, a distinct character. Defining an Architectural Culture Government PWDs (Public Works Department) were responsible for much building work, in their capacity as ex-British institutions responsible for government buildings. While the PWDs had sufficient experience in building maintenance and upkeep, the same cannot be said for their expertise in conceptualizing an architectural vocabulary representative of the nation. It was a generation later that questions of what constitutes an Indian architecture began to be answered with any degree of success. The scarcity of trained architects outside the PWDs (the independent profession at the time was a few firms operating out of the main metropolitan centers) meant that many overseas architects were advisors to architectural and reconstruction committees formed by the Government of India and local bodies. Albert Mayer, an American who worked extensively in India after the war, and Otto Koenigsberger, who prepared the plan for Bhubhaneswar, are two such examples. However for the most part foreign architects would underline that truly national architecture should be of indigenous origin. What commands attention from the time are institutional buildings (schools, colleges, public offices) and large quantities of housing for the refugees. It is a mix of both of these that gave Delhi its unique character, and continue to define the image of the city today. Colonies like Kaka Nagar, Bapa Nagar and Sarojini Nagar were among the first large-scale experiments in mass urban housing, and the experience of these generated many valuable lessons for the future. New Delhi required several buildings to complete its main esplanade, and also to provide for new institutional buildings that were needed. The challenge here was a vocabulary that would be sufficiently indigenous, and yet also dovetail with the built form of New Delhis British buildings. Thus the Supreme Court (1952), the Vigyan Bhawan (1962), Krishi Bhawan and Udyog Bhawan (both 1957) and the Rail Bhawan (1962), while serving very different purposes, are marked by a certain strong similarities. This may be defined as: a plan form derived from British precedents; finishes that were not extravagant but were rather chosen for their durability, cost and ease of maintenance (for example rough-hewn stone, brick and plaster); an attempt to introduce Indian motifs and elements as ornamentation (jaalis, chajjas, and other more substantial elements); and finally an attempt to integrate this architecture with current modernist theories of form and function ideas that were

certainly helped by the presence of professionals from abroad and the accompanying discourse on art and architecture in newspapers, the radio and magazines. The Good and the Popular Culture and Architecture The quest to define what is popular and what will sell has never been easy for an architect/builder. At the same time for a professional, this is not the only issue there is also the search for personal and professional satisfaction. When to these factors are added the turbulent conditions in north India after partition and during the rebuilding phase, it can safely be said that there were, at the time, no easy answers. There were many challenges to rebuild, to provide housing, to create an architectural culture that would not be a replica of what had gone before, but instead helped to define new nation. The lack of trained architects and planners made this task difficult. In retrospective, many design decisions and the resulting urban form of Delhi is held up as prime examples of what not to do in Urban Design. This cannot be argued with, however, it should be said also that professionals at the time worked in conditions that are unimaginable today. The agenda was nothing less than national reconstruction, and this lends a heroism to the story that cannot be negated. August 7, 2005 Image courtesy and (c) Delhi Development Authority. Reflections on the Validity of modern Architectural Histories Towards re-Writing a History of Indian Architecture by Ashish Nangia Questioning Classification and Category The last half-decade of architecture in India is often lumped under the heading of Modern Indian Architecture. This convenient historical classification can be misleading in more ways than one firstly, the word modern is somewhat of a misnomer, and when applied to post-independence architectural history is even more questionable.

The Modern Movement in a historical sense refers to an approach and a way of thinking not just about architecture, but also in a larger sense of the term as a representation of society and its values. It is distinguished from ancient or even mediaeval by its appreciation and recognition of the complexity of the world and its diverse components, a tacit faith in science, technology and most importantly, a belief in the power of rational thinking as an agent of change in the world. When applied to architecture, modernism is a concept that embraces reason as a methodology of architectural production, that the needs of society can be analyzed a perfect outcome guaranteed. Conversely and as a corollary, architecture can be an agency of change, a belief that means, in essence, that a perfect society can be engineering by the medium of a perfect built environment. These concepts, of course, have been discredited in the last few decades because of the inherent authoritarianism associated with them. What is a perfect society, a perfect individual, and by consequence, a perfect building? The quest for a single perfect identity leaves no scope for evolution or change, and shows little sympathy or tolerance for difference and diversity. The Case of India These concepts are of paramount importance in a multicultural and multilayered society that is India. A heterogeneous mix of identity, class, religious beliefs and customs, layered by a history of more than two thousand years, the question of what is Indian is not a simple one to answer. It is not surprising, then, that it becomes truly difficult to choose representative examples of Indian architecture for the question of what to represent is one that has not yet been answered with any success so far. Perhaps this is not such a bad thing, for as soon as we tie down and fix a single identity, we capture and fix ourselves as a society in a single image, and all attempts to preserve that (possibly imaginary!) image are doomed in a world that is rapidly evolving. Having said that, the choices the historian faces are not easy. The traditional method of writing architectural history has been firstly classification and periodicity, and secondly, to choose

representative examples of each of the categories thus produced. Following this method, the following classification could be legitimately made of post-Independence Indian architecture:

Institutional architecture for and by the government, public sector concerns, private organizations. Housing Private residences, public housing, low-cost housing Industrial projects Factories and infrastructure Low-cost and vernacular responses modern interpretations of traditional and regional architecture Commercial architecture Shopping and entertainment complexes, hotels and hospitality industry Special purpose facilities Health industry, special facilities, sport and infrastructure, education Urban design and redevelopment Planning and urbanism, new towns, expansion of old metropolitan centers, urban design projects Conservation and Restoration Utopian visions and innovation Unbuilt examples that showcase a non-traditional design view, experiments with new technology, adaptive reuse of traditional methods of construction Architecture by Indians outside India .... the Indian Diaspora.

Writing a better history

The categorization above is perfectly reasonable except for one thing : there are few buildings that fall into such neatly defined categories. For example: where would one classify the ISKCON or the Bahai temples? As religious buildings? It is true this is their primary purpose, but they also equally represent other things the pluralism of religious belief in India, the wealth and power associated with successful and mass religious appeal, exercises in political wrangling and bureaucratic procedures, associations of each of these movements with social agendas the list can go on.

Once again, how would one classify buildings such as the Bombay Stock Exchange or the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) buildings? Once again, a more traditional classification as institutional buildings does not adequately represent the complexity of the symbology that these structures communicate. The BSE is not just a building where brokers and traders work it is equally a symbol of an economic boom, of wealth and capital, and perhaps even of social inequity and a society that still has a large gap between its very rich and very poor. And so we can continue to question the validity of slotting architecture into neat categories, because, as has been just seen, symbolism is a multi-layered thing, and to refer to only one aspect would be once again to fall into the same trap of having a single definition of perfection. Perhaps a far more valid approach in this globalizing world is to examine, as far as possible, single, diverse examples and look at the forces that produce them, and continue to shape their present and future. An analysis of this sort would not only look at architectural form and period of production, but would also look at the forces that contributed to the shaping of this built form. We can hope that such an approach would do at least partial justice to the complex mix of social, political and cultural agencies that go into the building and production of architecture that mysterious object, which though still searching for an elusive perfect definition, is perhaps best left without one. November 13, 2005 Post Colonial India and its Architecture - I Charles Correa - The Traditional in the Modern by Ashish Nangia

Introduction The post-independence generation saw an increasing number of architects from South Asia migrate to Europe and the United States for advanced studies. Some of these would later return, setting up practice and often evolving highly original styles of work, combining Western rationalism and architectural theory with vernacular tradition and an appreciation of the need to preserve and reinvent South Asias built heritage for a postcolonial age.

In the ranks of those who have contributed substantially to architectural practice and discourse in South Asia is Charles Correa. Born in 1930 of Goan origin, Correa studied at the University of Michigan, and then the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before establishing a practice in Bombay. Over the span of a career starting in the early 1950s to the present day, Correa has evolved a distinctive style of his own and has been a chief actor or major participant in various influential projects that shape and give definition to postcolonial South Asian architecture. A representative catalogue of his work displays an impressive vocabulary and technical virtuosity that he brings to his work, and is also a fair representation of the evolution of South Asian urban centers and the debate around them - from celebrating and valorizing tradition and heritage, to the need for increasing housing, creating markets for the arts and leisure, and finally responses to the challenges that explosive urban growth creates. Correas responses to these questions have been outstandingly innovative, displaying an impressive knowledge of tradition from various sources, an understanding of technique and, perhaps most importantly the power of symbol and myth as a factor in good architecture. Indeed, Correas buildings, in their clever semiotic appeal, seem often to be as much gestures to prevailing political ideology as intelligent responses to an architectural problem. Representative Work At the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad (1958 63), Correa uses a network of interconnected open-to-sky spaces landscaped in different themes, to recreate the Gandhian ideal of a self-sufficient village community. The result is an elegant solution that is climatically sound and energy-efficient, uses low-cost material and finishes, and above all conveys some sense of the solemnity and dignity appropriate for an institution dedicated to Gandhis life and work.

Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad. Plan. Notice massing of units. Especially remarkable here is Correas use of natural light in conjunction with semi-open spaces to create tonal gradations in illumination and shadows. Correa acknowledges a strong debt to Le Corbusier, and this effect of the Frenchmans influence is clearly visible here. The museum is solemn without being overbearing, is austere without appearing to make an effort to be so.

Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad. View of courts.. Note use and blend of material and texture. Continuing the same effort to interpret Indias vernacular architecture in a modern typology, the National Crafts Museum (1975-90) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, provides a forum to craftspeople nationwide to showcase their art and the process of its creation! to visitors, both resident and alien.

National Crafts Museum, New Delhi. Plan. Note linkage of spaces. Its spaces massed together to recreate an Indian village, the Museum incorporates extensive use of vernacular material stone, bamboo, brick, mud, thatch and uses craftwork as both interior and exterior ornamentation. The result is once again a very impressive series of spaces that hold together as a unit, and display a high degree of functional efficiency. Correa demonstrates here a successful transition of the vernacular to the modern, as also how traditional architectural vocabulary need not be synonymous with backward.

National Crafts Museum, New Delhi. Views with details of ornament and landscape elements. It is in his native Goa that Correa demonstrates a flair for an elegant use of colour and contrast, combined with intelligent space planning. In the Kala Akademi, Panaji, (1973-83) a centre for the performing arts, and the Cidade de Goa (1978-82), a luxury hotel, he plays with a hierarchy of spaces and terraces to create a spectacle of sorts in itself and at both these sites an illusion of space and spectators is created by paintings complementing the architecture. At the Kala Akademi especially, Mario Miranda creates a skilful impression of people already present in the theatre. The Cidade de Goa City of Goa in Portuguese is planned as a microcosm of a traditional city complete with pedestrian streets, open space and marketplaces.

Kala Akademi, Panaji. Interior View. The right side of this interior, including the human figures at bottom right, is actually a painting.

Cidade de Goa, Goa. External terraces and balconies.

When it comes to monumental architecture, however, Correa has less success in blending the vernacular and the modern. The Jeevan Bharti (Life Insurance Corporation) (1975 86) headquarters at New Delhi towers over Connaught Place, its glass curtain walls reflecting the colonial-era buildings. Challenging and cocky, almost, in its aggressive use of sandstone cladding and the massive metal truss uniting its components, the Jeevan Bharti building disappoints in its details the workmanship can be shoddy in parts, the fine elegance that characterises Correas smaller, earlier work is missing. This may be an inevitable consequence of success lacking the time to devote to each project the attention it needs. For all this, the Jeevan Bharti building continues to be the object of debate and polemic, as much for its bold use of material as for the radical way in which it affects its urban surroundings. In his project for Navi Mumbai (New Bombay) (1964 - ), Correa argues for decongesting Bombays historic city centre, breaking the vicious cycle of inflated land-prices and accompanying high-rise growth, and limiting urban sprawl north of the city. His solution is to develop the land across from Bombay Harbour and increase road and rail links from the mainland to the new settlements, thus reducing old Bombays primacy as the sole business center.

Navi Mumbai. New Bombay Redevelopment Plan. Historic Bombay is to the left, new development to the right across the harbor. Stressed also is the need to provide land for all, especially the urban poor. Inherent in Correas scheme is an appeal to provide the invisible squatter population of Bombay with a degree of human dignity and opportunity for growth that the current system denies. Conclusion This summary of Correas work, while including some seminal examples from his career, leaves out far more than it includes. A few words, however, may be added here about the larger significance of his career. It is fairly representative for a typical architect to handle projects that increase in complexity and volume over time. This fact is a reflection of a professionals personal development as well as public recognition and confidence in his work, a reputation that is built up over decades and after a body of significant work has been completed. What stands out in Correas work, beyond this evolution, is his original fusion of modern typology and South Asian elements, infusing at times almost mythical references in his buildings. It is his skill for translating into built form an acceptable political discourse that has contributed to his success, as much as his obvious ability and aptitude as a professional. December 18, 2005

(All images and photographs from Charles Correa, Thames and Hudson, London, 1996) Post Colonial India and its Architecture - III An Architecture for a Socialist State by Ashish Nangia The Architecture of Socialism With a few brief exceptions, post-independence Indian politics till the 1990s was dominated largely by the Congress party, each time with a representative of the Nehru-Gandhi family at the helm, who alone seemed to be able to guarantee a certain unity. Principally backed by Nehru and his coterie of advisers, India with its five-year plans embarked on a socialist model of development that featured a top-heavy State with minimal delegation of power to the regions or to district-level representative bodies. This socialist-industrial model called for massive State-controlled investment in heavy industry and associated activities. While this model of governance may possibly have been the only viable solution in a time when India was struggling to become a cohesive political unit, it was also subsequently criticized for encouraging and entrenching endemic corruption and propagating a multi-layered bureaucracy that continues to this day. The State, as the biggest actor in the country, controlled almost everything including information flow, social development, and most importantly for our purposes, became also the biggest client for architectural and urban development projects. It is not surprising then that most significant large-scale construction from this era has been either directly sponsored by the government or by public corporations. The Search for an Aesthetic The Asian Games in 1982 provided a massive fillip to construction, especially in Delhi. The Pragati Maidan complex, built on the eve of the Games, provided a space for many innovative architectural experiments and cemented the careers of a whole generation of professionals. Built as an exhibition and entertainment space, Pragati Maidan continues to be one of the stellar attractions in Delhi. Within it, the Hall of Nations by Raj Rewal is a large column-free space that is characterized by its use of reinforced concrete in a structure that would normally be constructed of steel trusses, a decision influenced by the lack of expertise in steel construction as well as the prohibitive cost of steel at the time. While the use of concrete results in a massive structure that does have some brutal appeal, the quality of construction leaves something to be desired. For all that the building is one of the most imposing in Pragati Maidan and continues to host many high-quality exhibitions, both domestic and international. Also constructed for the Games are a series of stadia, the most prominent being the Indraprastha Indoor Stadium by Sharat Das and the Talkatora stadium by Satish Grover. The Indraprastha Stadium is an imposing structure with bearing walls of concrete

and roofing of steel trusses, marked by its rapid construction with movable shuttering on the bearing columns ensuring continuous activity on the site. It unfortunately suffers from a lack of maintenance, and the use of plastic covering on its roof on rainy days is sometimes visible. For athletes visiting the capital, large-scale temporary housing was required. Raj Rewal designed for this purpose the Asiad Games Village, a cluster of interlocking housing units that takes its formal inspiration from the streetscape and scale of towns in Rajasthan, particularly Jaisalmer. Rewal claims to have used these spatial references to create a series of courts and streets through the complex and even to use finishes and material that correspond to their original inspiration.

Asiad Village, New Delhi, Cluster Plan Today the Games Village, or Khelgaon as it also called, houses commercial and office space, exhibition areas, as well as nightspots that are known as much for their fine cuisine as for their easygoing urban setting. This experiment with vernacular material and scales is continued elsewhere, in the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore by Stein, Doshi and Bhalla, several buildings in Rajasthan (including the University of Jodhpur - Image below) by Uttam C. Jain, as well as a neo-Corbusian aesthetic in the Shriram Center and Akbar Hotel, both at Delhi, by Shivnath Prasad. Conclusion To sum up, most of the architectural production of any significance till the 1990s is marked by a certain commonality of factors: firstly sponsored or commissioned by the State and its organs, and secondly the search for an appropriate aesthetic fluctuates between two extremes that of a

completely international vocabulary of Modernism (such as Prasads Akbar Hotel) and an attempt to reinterpret the vernacular on the other (exemplified by Correas Crafts Village).

Jodhpur University. Notice use of local material for finishes. However, most architectural production is a balancing act between these two poles a form dictated by the exigencies of universal standards of space (stadia, exhibition spaces, and convention centers) and construction and aesthetics influenced by what is actually possible on the site. These mixes, when juggled elegantly and with flair, has resulted in elegant or in horribly clunky structures that have only got worse with time. It is perhaps best here not to point out examples suffice it to say that many of the larger cities in India are littered with architectural horrors from this period that are a blot on the cityscape and serve to efface the many fine and sensitive examples time that co-exist side by side. It is ironic that the same State that professed a social agenda has been responsible, in many cases, for an urban landscape that has done little to help minimize the inequality that vowed to eradicate. Fortunately this is an issue that is increasingly being debated in the work of younger professionals today. April 9, 2006 Images from Bhatt, Vikram and Peter Scriver. Contemporary Indian Architecture: After the Masters. Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing: 1990 The Auroville Experiment by Ashish Nangia Aurobindo Ghose retired from active participation in the Indian nationalist movement in 1910 after being acquitted in the Alipore Bomb Case. Frustrated by the slow progress of the movement and his activities fettered, Aurobindo finally sought asylum in French Pondicherry. In 1926, Aurobindo turned over his responsibilities to Mira

Richards The Mother who became the spiritual head of the Aurobindo Ashram. An migr from Paris, Mira continued Aurobindos stated purpose to function as an agency facilitating the evolution of humankind into Supermind, a sort of divinity on earth. Mira, however, was not only a yogic Oracle of sorts, but also, it would seem, had a natural talent for organization. Under her aegis the Aurobindo Ashram began attracting people and funds that would promote her dream project a city that would be, in her words: a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the supreme Truth; a place of peace, concord, harmony, where all the fighting instincts of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his suffering and misery, to surmount his weakness and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities; a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the seeking for pleasures and material enjoyments. 1 In February 1968, with government approval, the utopian community of Auroville was inaugurated. Its master plan strikingly empty for the moment consisted of a formal expression of Miras vision that of four arms radiating from a center marking off four zones of activity residential, cultural, international and industrial. It has been nearly 40 years since that time, and Aurovilles growth has not been spectacular. The community relies heavily on neighboring Pondicherry and the surrounding countryside for its economic and social survival. However, what has worked as a completed project is the Matri Mandir at the canter of the plan; as well as several innovative architectural projects that are remarkable for their elegance and commitment to environmental concerns. It is time to look again at this little community in the deep south of India. The Matri Mandir 23rd June 1965: Have you heard of Auroville? For a long time, I had had a plan of the ideal city, but that was during Sri Aurobindos lifetime, with Sri Aurobindo living at its centre. AfterwardsI was no longer interested And it came back with that letter: suddenly I had my plan of Auroville. Now I have my general plan; I am waiting for Roger to make the detailed plans because since the beginning I have said, Roger will be the architect, and I have written to Roger. My plan is very simple. It takes place up there, on the way to Madras, on top of the hill. 2

By 1965 Mira and the Aurobindo Ashram felt sufficiently ambitious to plan the construction of a city that came to be called Auroville from the French Aurore for Dawn and Ville for City, apart from the obvious connection to Sri Aurobindo. The French architect, Roger Anger, became Miras chief consultant for the project. The plan for the city evolved nominally from Miras series of sketches for the project that varied from a central focus with radiating arms to more organically free-flowing lines enclosing spaces. Common to these was the central meditation space the Matri Mandir whose design went through a series of changes before a final concept was chosen for construction in 1971.

The Matri Mandir The Matri-Mandir in its final form consists of four massive concrete columns that support an inner circular chamber the floor being at 14m and the roof at 29m. The outer edges of the columns forms a circle in plan; and this means that the space-frame (grid of triangles) that forms the outer skin of the structure is in volume similar to a flattened globe. The outer skin is covered by a mesh of gold-encased discs; the inner chamber is lined with a skin of tinted glass.

The Matri Mandir (c) Premsagar From the entrance, two helical ramps serve as entry and as access to the inner chamber, in the centre of which is placed a crystal globe, illuminated by a single ray of (sun) light from the heliostat mounted on the roof. The site immediately around the Matri Mandir is landscaped in three ways: the first is an existing banyan tree on the site; the second is an urn containing soil from different countries (as a symbol to the internationalism of Auroville); and finally there are the Matri Mandir gardens and associated landscaping. The symbolism of the structure is in flux: but at least one powerful association is that of the primeval egg (here representing developed human consciousness) breaking free from Matter (here represented by the earth/ground). This double dialogue between a present state of being and an imagined, utopian future is what gives the Matri Mandir its unique symbolism not dissimilar from that of the Bahai temple at Delhi. This is where the resemblance ends: though the Matri Mandir is an elegant composition as an integrated part of its landscape, and utilizes the primeval egg symbology very well in its form, one suspects also that the structure itself is a little clunky, with the concrete columns being oversized for the load they support, and the ramps adding in their present form to the structural unease. However, very little of this comes out in the finished building the gold leaf scintillates in the sun, the walk up the ramps is a suitable contrast in darkness, and the final chamber is very impressive, with the crystal globe hanging in the centre like a final, unreachable destination.

Paolo Tommasis landscaping for the Matri Mandir Some might say, of course, that the Matri Mandir within its landscape resembles the quintessential feminine conception, a study in architectural form of a human body, but that is another story. Architecture and Building As an experimental utopian city Auroville has also been the site of innovative experiments in architecture combining local material, ecological solutions and cost-effective techniques of construction. A few projects can be briefly illustrated here: a. Bharat Nivas Campus:

Bharat Nivas, or India Pavilion, consists of a series of buildings, not all of which are completed (or even started), and is intended as a cultural center and showcase for India within the international zone of Auroville. Of these, the Sri Aurobindo auditorium (Architect: R. Chakrapani) is complete. This 850-seat space is the largest of its kind in South India and has hosted cultural events dance, drama and music as well as been the site of several conferences and seminars. b. Atithi Guest House:

As its name suggest, the Atithi Guest House offers temporary accommodation for visitors and artistes, and uses a mix of local material and labor to create a series of spaces that cluster around a central focus. Dharmesh Jadeja, the architect, explains: The entire building is centered around a neem tree which already existed on the site. The central staircase which goes up to the open terrace winds around this treeThough I have used many traditional elements, like the wooden pillars around the courtyard, spanning the sitting-out spaces of the verandah, and the earthen tiles over it, its much more about the space it creates than the materials it uses. 3 c. Visitors Centre, Auroville:

Constructed in 1998 with a grant from HUDCO and the Foundation for World Education, the Visitors Centre is Aurovilles chief reception and information focus for those new to the community. Suhasini Iyer-Guigan combines local brick and construction with low vaults, arches and corbels to create an interlocking network of spaces that blend in with the landscape. The building emphasizes using natural and renewable energy sources for lighting and ventilation. Apart from the work cited above, the Last School by Roger Anger, Anupama Kundoos own residence, Andr Hababous Surrender Housing Community are notable landmarks in the community. Also of relevance are Piero and Glorias earliest experiments in community housing built for the most part with thatch and bamboo in 1972-73. Finally, an example of collaborative participation is the Students Guest House, as part of the US Pavilion. The Design/Built program of the University of Washington, Seattle visited Auroville in 2002. A team of students and faculty, led by Sergio Palleroni, modelled this shelter inspired from the outdoor room ambience of a banyan tree. 4 Conclusion The Auroville experiment, started as one persons mystic dream in 1968, is far from complete. Of the projected 50,000 population that the master plan envisions, Auroville has barely 2000 permanent residents almost a half-century later. The community is charged with being elitist, being dependent upon and exploiting neighboring villages for its survival, and with exacerbating the divide between Indians and aliens.

To its credit, Auroville has been the site of numerous innovations in architecture and building construction ferrocement technology, low cost alternatives, and reusing local material and building technique. It is home to a small but effective cottage industry that exports its products worldwide. It is fair to say that there is little wrong with the idea of Auroville a city that belongs to none, but is home to all. Whether humankind can live up to this utopian agenda is a very personal judgment what is true is that, once in Auroville, sitting not far from the Matri Mandir as the sun goes down, it is difficult not to feel a sense of awe, of promise, and of hope that at least some of this will have its intended effect. The world is better off with an Auroville than without. June 17, 2007 References: 1. From 2. Ca se passe l haut, en route pour Madras, sur le haut de la colline. Mothers Agenda, 1965. pp. 139-147 3. Cited in Auroville Architecture : Towards New Forms for a New Consciousness PRISMA, Auroville. 2004. pp. 96-97. 4. Palleroni, Sergio Studio at Large : Architecture in Service of Global Communities. UW Press, Seattle. 2004. pp. 70-75 Auroville Architecture: Towards New Forms for a New Consciousness. PRISMA. Auroville: 2004 Auroville: The City of Dawn Times of India Online, 13th May 2001. Guigan, Gilles. Aspiring for Perfection: A History of Matrimandir, the Soul of Auroville. Samasti: Auroville. 11th November 2002. Palleroni, Sergio Studio at Large : Architecture in Service of Global Communities. UW Press, Seattle. 2004. Rangan, Kasturi. A Utopian Town in India Built on a Dream. , New York Times. Oct 16, 1971. The Indian Vernacular : A Rich Tradition by Ashish Nangia What is the vernacular? Does it mean the architecture of villages and remote settlements, or is it simply defined by its opposition to the modern or designed? These questions, especially in the context of India, are not easy ones to answer. The vernacular can be simply defined as of, relating to, or characteristic of a period, place, or group ; especially : of, relating to, or being the common building style of a period or place <vernacular architecture> Though this definition is better applied to Western culture, more so in the context of North America, where the vernacular often denotes pioneer construction and architecture, or the shingle style, or even the forest construction of New England and the Rockies. The vernacular, in India, denotes low cost, traditional village and small town settlements, where construction is carried out without the help of architects and professionals, where building activity is regulated by a long tradition that stretches back for many centuries, in many cases. Vernacular settlements in India often take on the shape and form that is dictated by the climate they are in, or the socio-cultural norms that they are designed to preserve and protect. For example, village settlements in Uttaranchal are often characterized by houses of stone, timber and mud mortar on slopes, with thick stone walls of coursed rubble masonry designed to ward off cold, with a shelter for animals below the main house (the heat given off by mulch animals heats the house above further). In Kerala, village houses are slope-roofed with Mangalore tiles and thatch to draw off and channel rain. In Assam, the same houses are often built on stilts, the better to counter the often damp ground. In Punjab, whitewash on the outside walls helps to cool down the summer heat.

Houses near Benares showing settlement patterns in harmony with the environment. The list could go on, but in each case we see that vernacular architecture in Indias diverse regions has evolved a unique way of responding to the climate and the environment that is sustainable, shows an intelligent approach to the problems of climate, and is a delicate balance of social and cultural factors through spatial vocabulary such as walls, courtyards, floors and semi-private and private spaces. Climate, of course, is a predominant factor in determining the forms of vernacular architecture in India. Climate in India varies from the scorching sun in the Gangetic plains to the tropical conditions of the south, from the dry cold climates in Spiti and Leh to the perennially damp conditions in the northeast of the country. This variation in climate spawns a diversity of forms for vernacular architecture. Apart from climate, geography too is a determining factor. Geography, once again, can vary from the hilly terrain of the Himalayas and Kashmir, to the flats of the Deccan and the south, from the damp ground of Assam and Bengal to the dry earth of Punjab.

Vernacular Construction in Kerala. The third factor is the availability of material and the types of material available. In Goa and Karnataka, an abundance of red laterite stone makes this the medium of choice for vernacular construction, and in north India a clayey soil makes sunburnt bricks and mud mortar a commonly used medium. Bamboo construction can be found in the northeast, and roofs tiled with the socalled mangalore tiles in the south. Similarly, a plethora of sandstone made medieval Jaipur into the famous Pink City, and a similar stone was used to face Mughal buildings in the 17th century. An interesting theory holds that materials could also vary according to the caste system. White stone is apparently only used by Brahmins, red by Kshatriyas, yellow by Vaishyas and black stone by Shudras.* While these classifications may be history in the new India, there is much to be gained by evaluating these claims more closely. Vernacularism in architecture has been upheld as a modern value, a tradition to be observed while designed for the new age. Followers of vernacularism as a building tradition have been many : amongst the most famous international examples has been that of Hassan Fathy (1900-1989), who in his numerous projects in Egypt replicated and rediscovered building traditions of the region that were thought to be dead, giving them a new meaning and relevance. Similarly, Le Corbusier, that most avid of Modernists, rediscovered the magic of the vernacular in his later projects such as the Rob-et-Roq housing, the monuments at Chandigarh, and the chapel at Ronchamp.

Iraq Refugee Housing, by Hassan Fathy.

Aranya Housing, Indore, by BV Doshi. Village in Spiti.

The climate is cold and dry. Amongst Indian architects, Laurie Baker (1917-2007) has been instrumental in giving new voice to a Kerala vernacular in brick, tiles and mortar. Similarly, Gerard da Cunha in Goa has been very innovative in his use of red laterite stone and re-interpreting Goas Portuguese and hybrid traditions and architectural vocabulary. A number of new and upcoming firms in north of the country promise to take this experiment further and prevent Indias built traditions from completely disappearing. The vernacular in India, then, is a rich and complex tradition that deserves far more attention in education, in practice and from conservation experts than it gets at present. For the vernacular is a true representation of a people and their culture, and Indias diverse heritage makes this a fascinating study. July 19, 2009