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ANCIENT INDIA

ndus Valley Civilization


Science & Technology
Astronomy
1.

They were aware of directions given they had trade routes, their dead were buried in N-S
directions, their town planning made use of directions etc. So they must have used astronomical
bodies to gauge direction.

2.

Recently observatories were excavated from Lothal and Dholavira.

Medical Science
1.

They were aware of surgery as evidence of skull surgery has been found from Kalibangan
and Lothal.

Chemical Science
1.

They used different colors on their pots.

Mathematics
1.

Weights and measures of specific standards were used.

2.

The brisk trade indicates some knowledge of basic mathematics.

Metallurgy
1.

Bronze working + copper, gold, silver and tin working.

Civil Engineering
1.

They constructed public buildings, embankments, drains, used burnt bricks.

2.

They knew the technique of water-proofing.

Arts & Crafts Techniques


1.

Industry: Seal making, precious stone working, bead making and terracotta making were
quite advanced.

2.

Agriculture: They used to plough their fields with wooden ploughs as is evident from
terracotta plough figurines from Banwali. Plough furrows discovered in Kalibangan. They also
had irrigation and water conduits (underground in some areas) and small scale inundation
canals (to lead the water where desired) have been found.

Architecture (READ FROM NCERT ALSO)


Features
1.

Used permanent material on a large scale: In villages mud bricks were used with stone being
used in foundations and drains. In cities, burnt bricks were used. In Kutch, stones were used on
a large scale.

2.

Planned: The bricks were laid in English bond style. The bricks had standard ratio. There is
no correlation between planning and size of the settlement.

3.

Technical knowhow: They knew the technique of water-proofing. Houses had separate
bathrooms near the well and the bathing area was sloping towards the drain and water-proof.

4.

Secular.

5.

House structure: Houses sizes differ from large to small ones. People generally lived in
houses with a central courtyard and rooms surrounding it. Doors and windows opened in side
streets not the main street. There were double storied houses and staircases as well. Doors
were sometimes painted or carved.

Monuments
1.

Cities were fortified. They had well laid out roads and drains.

2.

Great bath, assembly hall, granaries.

Pillars
1.

Remains of stone pillars have been found from Dholavira.

Paintings
1.

They used to paint the outer side of their pots with geometrical designs, birds, animals
etc. The outer surface of their pots used to be red on which paintings were made in black.

Sculpture
1.

They made use of metal, alloys, stones and terracotta figurines. Terracotta masks and
faience bangles were also made.

2.

The images were both secular and religious in nature. Examples are numerous terracotta
figurines of mother goddess, animals etc., the bearded priest, the bronze dancing girl, the red
torso etc.

Music & Dance


1.

The statue of dancing girl shows they were aware of music and dance.

2.

Images of a stringed musical instrument too have been found on some pots.

Pottery
1.

The pottery was black-on-red ware where both inner and outer surfaces were red. On the
outer red surface, designs of birds, animals, geometry were painted in black color.

2.

The rims of the pots are strong to help in lifting them and moving around. The bottom portion
has additional clay as well.

Vedic Age
Science & Technology
Astronomy
1.

Various astronomical bodies like sun, moon, jupiter, venus, mars, saturn are mentioned in
Vedas but perhaps their astronomical significance was missing and they were more for
astrological / religious use.

Medical Science
1.

The system of Ayurveda emerged in this age.

Chemical Science
1.

They knew fermentation techniques and made somaras.

2.

They knew tanning of leather.

3.

They used different colors on pots.

Mathematics
1.

Fire altars.

Metallurgy
1.

Technique of bronze making and later iron making were present.

Arts & Crafts Techniques


1.

Industry: Carpentry and chariot making were advanced professions.

Architecture
Monuments
1.

Vedic texts contain references of huge palaces of kings but no such imposing structures have
been found.

2.

Wood, mud bricks and thatched roofs were used.

Stupas
1.

The term stupa has been referred to in Rig Veda but not in the context as we know it. The
term then referred to the fire coming out of the sacrificial altar.

Paintings
1.

They used to paint their pots. The outer surface of the pots was grey on which they painted
floral and geometrical designs.

2.

On the grey surface, blue color was used to make the designs.

Dance & Music


1.

Music witnessed progress in the form of the hymns of Sam Veda.

Pottery
1.

PGW was the distinctive pottery. It was coarse with medium fabric. The outside surface was
grey on which blue floral and geometrical designs were made.

Pre-Mauryan Age
Science & Technology
Astronomy
1.

Astrological charts etc. were prepared.

Medical Science
1.

Taxila was a famous centre of medical science. Aitraya was a famous teacher there.

2.

Bimbisara's personal doctor Dhanvantri was a famous doctor.

Chemical Science
1.

The polish of NBPW was very glossy. The method to make this polish is also described in
detail in contemporary works.

Mathematics

1.

Sulvasutra is a text on geometry. It talks about circles, triangles, squares and rectangles. It
tells how to make a circle equal in area to a square or a rectangle.

Civil Engineering
1.

We find evidences of fortifications and embankments.

Arts & Crafts Techniques


1.

Agriculture & industry: The use of iron became widespread.

2.

Trade: Punched marked coins came into existence. They along with NBPW distribution help
us in tracking the trade routes of the age.

Architecture
Features
1.

Wood, mud-bricks, thatched roofs etc. were used.

2.

Stone fortifications were also used.

Monuments
1.

We find evidences of wooden palisade in PP. Stone fortifications existed in Rajgir and
Licchavi republic.

Dance & Music


1.

They were patronized by the court which maintained courtesans. Amrapali was a famous
courtesan in Licchavi.

Sculpture
1.

There is a reference in King Kharvela's Hathigumpha inscription that Nanda king took away a
jina image when he conquered Kalinga.

Pottery
1.

The distinctive pottery of the age was NBPW. It was highly glossy, medium to fine fabric and
would have been used by rich.

Mauryan Age
Architecture
SEE THE TRIANGLES IN THIS MAP - MAJOR ROCK EDICTS

Features
1.

Stone masonry reached new heights.

2.

Shining polish of NBPW was also applied to the stone pillars.

3.

Permanent material like burnt bricks, stone began to be used again along with wood. It
enabled them to construct larger and durable structure which made denser habitations possible
and hence growth of towns and spread of Mauryan culture.

4.

Ring wells were another distinct feature. Water could be stored in these and also they could
be used for sanitation. Hence it became possible to have denser habitations farther away from
the rivers.

5.

It was both religious and secular in character.

6.

It was pan-Indian in character.

7.

Art and architecture received court patronage. Private merchants ad craftsmen also donated
for religious causes.

8.

Large monuments show that architecture was technologically advanced.

Foreign (Iranian) Influence on Mauryan Architecture

(a) Similarities
1.

There are similarities between CGM's palace and Darius'.

2.

Both Asokan and Archimidean pillars use stone, glossy polish and have a bell shaped part.
Because the Archimidean pillars were older, the concept of pillars itself was borrowed by Asoka
from Iran.

(b) Differences
1.

CGM's palace was made of wood but Darius' palace was made of stone.

2.

In pillars, the shaft of Asokan pillars is monolithic whereas the Archimidean pillars have
joints.

3.

The shaft of Asokan pillars tapers from bottom to top whereas Archimidean pillars are
cylindrical.

4.

The shaft of Asokan pillars is smooth whereas that of Archimidean pillars has got grooves.

5.

Asokan pillars are erected without any support base whereas Archimidean pillars have a
support base.

6.

The bell shaped part of Asokan pillars is at top while that in Archimidean pillars is at bottom.
In reality, the so called bell shaped part of Asokan pillars is an inverted lotus.

7.

The Asokan pillars were not a part of any other structure. The purpose behind their
construction was to engrave instructions and carry them fat. But Archimidean pillars were part
of palace and their job was to support the roof.

8.

The Asokan pillars have capitals which have sculptures of lions, elephants and bulls. But the
Archimidean pillars have no capitals and only images of humans are engraved on their shafts.

9.

The gloss polish was known to Indians from NBPW independent of Iran.

Monuments
1.

Stone masonry was introduced on a wide scale. The palace of CGM at Kumrahar (Patna)
had 80 stone pillars.

2.

During Asokan time, the tradition of wooden arch gave way to stone arch.

Pillars
1.

Asokan pillars made use of white spotted red sandstone in Mathura and grey colored
sandstone in Chunar and were monolith in style. Only their capitals in form of lions,
elephants and bulls were joined from the top.

Stone polishing was as shiny as

NBPW.
Caves
1.

The practice of cutting caves into rocks began with the Lomarishi caves in Barabar hills and
also Nagarjuni Hills which were donated to Ajivika sect. These caves, however, were simple and
without much ornamentation. But their gates were carved out as if wooden.

Stupas

1.

Initially stupas were Buddha's relic places. Then it got extended to his followers as well and
gradually stupa itself became an object of worship. According to Buddhist tradition, Asoka built
84K stupas.

2.

Some stupas have been found in Sanchi, Sarnath, Deorkothar, Lumbini. Huen Tsang
mentions seeing stupas at Tamralipti, Karnasuvarna, Samtata.

Painting
1.

63 rock shelters have been found in Deorkothar (Rewa, MP) with paintings. One of them had
a painting of stupa and a tree together enclosed in a railing.

Dance & Music


1.

It was patronized by the court and courtesans were maintained by the court.

2.

Nuts, acrobats, singers, musicians, dancers lived in the society and entertained the public
specially on fairs and festivals.

Sculpture
1.

Multiple images of the folk deities such as yaksha and yakshini and animals such as
elephants have been found from Parkham (Mathura) and PP.

2.

The capitals of Asokan pillars were beautiful carved images and were added later to the top
of the pillars.

3.

From Dhauli (Odisha), rock sculpture of front part of an elephant has been made. It looks like
the elephant is in forward motion and is coming out of the rock.

4.

A naked and headless torso of a jina tirthankara has been recovered from Lohanipur (Patna).
This is the earliest Jaina image found.

Pottery
1.

NBPW continued.

The Leisurely Activities


1.

Fairs and festivals were organized where magicians, acrobats, dancers, musicians and
actors performed.

2.

Bull fights, chariot races, horse races and elephant fights, hunting were popular sport.

3.

Both men and women wore ornaments.

4.

Courtesans were maintained in the royal court.

Science & Technology


Chemical Science
1.

The glossy polish of NBPW continued. In addition, the glossy polish appeared on Asokan
pillars.

Civil Engineering
1.

Use of burnt bricks and ring wells.

2.

Stone masonry reached new heights.

3.

Palaces were constructed. Sudarshan lake was built.

Arts & Crafts Techniques


1.

Trade: There was great development in means of transport as is evident from the
transportation of Asokan pillars.

Post-Mauryan Age (North India)


Architecture
Features
1.

Burnt

bricks

were

now

used

for

flooring

and

tiles

for

both

flooring

and

roofing. This was of indigenous origin.


Temples
1.

Hindu temples followed 3 main architectural designs - oblong, apsidal or square. Examples
of oblong are Vishnu temple @ Besnagar, Siva and Vishnu temples @ Dangwada, Vishnu
temple @ Nagari. Examples of apsidal are Lakshmi temple @ Atiranjikhera, Matrikas and Naga
temples @ Sonkh. Example of square temple is Siva temple @ Gudimallam. Nagarjunkonda
contains temples of all three types.

2.

In the oblong temples, there were 2 ellipse. The main shrine was in the inner ellipse which
was separated from the outer ellipse by a gap which usually was the circumambulatory path.
The outer ellipse had rectangular projection leading out to the entrance. The temple usually had
a plinth made of bricks or mud or stones and the superstructure was made of wood and mud.
The temples were usually east facing.

3.

The apsidal temples had apsidal rooms, plinths of brick or mud or stone and superstructure
of wood and mud.

4.

The Nagarjunkonda temples apart from having all three designs, sometimes had multiple
shrines in which case each shrine had a mandapa (pillared hall) too. The pillars were made of
stone and brick was used for the temple superstructure.

Caves
(a) Evolution of Buddhist Cave Architecture
1.

Phase 1: It began with the construction of Lomarishi and Sudama caves in Barabar Hills by
Asoka. These were simple caves and the cave ran parallel to the rock face after entry. There
was one large rectangular room followed by a smaller circular room.

2.

Phase 2: The second stage (100 BC) showed up at Konditve. The cave was cut
perpendicular to the rock face and the inner room now contained a stupa and a
circumambulatory path around it.

3.

Phase 3: The next stage was when rows of pillars were built parallel to the walls creating a
circumambulatory passage right after entering. The central roof was high, vaulted and side roof
was low and half-vaulted. Bhaja, Pitalkhora, Bedsa caves are examples. Sometimes cells, rock
cut beds were cut around the central hall. An example is Bedsa caves.

4.

Phase 4: During the Kshatrap-Satvahna kings, caves got royal patronage and became more
elaborate and ornamented. The basic features of previous phase continued. A variety
of mithun couples were carved on the gates, the pillars came to have elaborate capitals, the
side roof became flat. Multi-storied caves came up. Double storied viharas came up at Karle
and triple storied at Ajanta. Other examples are Nasik caves, Junnar, Kanheri caves, Pitalkhora.

(b) Jaina Caves vs Buddhist Caves


1.

Jaina caves were cut in sandstone which is easy to cut but not good for sculpting. But
Buddhist caves were cut into hard rocks and were better for sculpting.

2.

The Jaina caves had no congregation halls or rock cut shrines. Later, however, some cells
were enlarged into shrines. The Buddhist caves on the other hand had clear halls and the
shrine area.

3.

The Jaina cave cells were cut wherever the rock permitted. There was no planning. The
Buddhist cave structure on the other hand was well laid out.

4.

The Jaina caves were simple and reflected the asceticism of jina monks. The cells were tiny
(not tall enough to stand, not long enough to stretch while sleeping, small entrances so as to
bend very low). The only luxury was occasional shelves cut into rocks and sloping floor acting
as a pillow but actually designed to keep of water from accumulating. Only the outer portions
were carved sometimes. The Buddhist caves on the other hand were an elaborate and
spacious affair.

5.

The Jina caves are of two types - those without pillars in verandah or those with pillars.
Without pillars had cells cut along three sides of the verandah. Pillars were square at top and
bottom and octagonal at middle.

6.

In terms of similarities, the sculptures use similar motifs like animals, plants. The
honeysuckle style is similar too. Examples of such caves are Khandgiri and Udaigiri in Puri.

Stupas
1.

New large stupas were built. The new stupas had a circumambulatory path, a stone railing
around it, two staircases leading up to it, the summit and a stone umbrella over it. The entire
structure was enclosed in stone railings and toran-dwars on all four sides. Sculpture decoration
was found on the railings and the gateways. Examples are the stupas at Sanchi, Bharhut,
Nagarjunkonda, Amrawati.

2.

Most earlier stupas used to have a solid core. However, a transition was made towards
having a spoke wheel plan at the centre made of bricks and the spaces filled with mud. Spoked
wheel is a symbol of Buddha's first sermon. Bhattiprolu stupa (200 BC) is from intermediate
phase having central wheel plan (no spokes).

3.

In AP stupas, at the 4 cardinal points of the raised platform, 5 free standing pillars were
erected. These represent the 5 important events in Buddha's life - birth, renunciation,
enlightenment, first sermon, death.

4.

Jaina stupa is also found in Kankali @ Mathura which is called Devanirmit Stupa.

Pillars
1.

The Besnagar pillar erected by the Greek ambassador Heliodorus is an example. He was an
ambassador to the Sunga king. Its shaft contains 4 parts and it has an inverted lotus and a
capital.

Pottery
1.

The

pottery

was

red

ware,

both

plain

and

polished

with

fine

and

medium

fabric. The red pottery was of Central Asian origin.


2.

Sprinklers and spouted channels are the distinctive pots of this age.

Sculpture
Image Worship
1.

The tradition of image worship became popular and numerous idols were made. Images of
yaksha have been found from Pawaya, Besnagar which represents Kuber. Colossal images of
yakshas and yakshis were built in Mathura which disappeared later as the religion got absorbed
into the dominant religion. Naga images have been found at Mathura and Karimnagar. GajaLakshmi stone plaque from Atiranjikhera and mukhalinga from Gudimallam are another
examples. In Buddhism, earlier the tradition of image worship was absent and instead symbols
of Buddha were worshipped along with the stupa. Now images began to be built.

2.

Terracotta images were made and Chandraketugarh, Mathura emerged as great centers.

Buddhist Relief Sculpture


1.

The railings and gateways of Buddhist structures were elaborately worked upon. Human
bodies along with animals, birds and others came up. The landscape didn't form a background
but was very much a part of the sculpture.

2.

The sculpture was mainly meant to be seen from one side as against the Mauryan sculpture
which was same as viewed from any side.

3.

The sculpture was narratory in nature. It narrated incidents from Buddha's life and Jatak
stories. Sometimes these narrations were just one single screenshot of a story or sometimes it
was a continuous narration of a sequence of events with one scene merging seamlessly into
the next.

4.

It made use of symbols to tell the stories. Example, wheel for first sermon, birth of buddha as
Maya sitting on a lotus, enlightenment as bodhi tree.

5.

The Buddhist sculpture also drew heavily from other religious traditions. For example,
anthromorphs (of copper hoards), yaksha, yakshis, nagas, pipal, animals etc.

The Gandhara School

1.

This school emerged from 1 cent BC onwards. It was not patronized by Indo-Greeks but by S
akas and Kushanas. Hadda and Bamiyan were main centers.

2.

This was a fusion of Greek and Indian styles from the very beginning. The subjects were
Indians and the style was Greco-Roman. Thus the mother of Buddha resembled a Greek
goddess while Buddha himself too had an Apollo like face. Greek gods were depicted as paying
obeisance to Buddha.

3.

The Buddha of this school is depicted with focus on bodily features such as muscular body,
curly hair and semi-transparent clothes.

4.

Initially they used soft material such as wood and stucco. Later they began to use blue-grey
stone.

The Mathura School


1.

It was the oldest and flourished from 2 cent BC onwards. It was indigenous in origin and was
patronized by local rulers. But later with the advent of Kushanas, foreign influence was visible
clearly.

2.

Initial subjects were Buddha, Mahavira and Kanishka. Krishna was ignored before the Gupta
period. Beautiful images of Siva as ardh-nari-ishwar were built. Krishna, balram and Surya too
were its subjects.

3.

The images have a deep spiritual outlook. Buddha is shown in meditation mode. Focus is not
on highlighting the bodily features of Buddha but on his spiritualistic aura and content on face.
Popular depictions of Buddha are in the Padmasana-mudra (sitting crossed legged and
meditating) and Dharma-Chakra-Parivartana-Mudra (giving sermons).

4.

They used white spotted red sandstone.

The Amrawati / Vengi School


1.

It flourished from 1 cent BC onwards in Vengi, Nagarjunkonda, Kurnool and Krishna Godavari region.

2.

It was indigenous throughout and was patronized by Satvahnas, Ikshavakus and later
Vakatakas.

3.

It made images of Buddha and brahmanical deities.

4.

These images are famous for their feminine beauty and sensuous appeal.

5.

They used white marble in their images.

Drama
1.

The Greeks introduced the curtain in Indian drama.

Painting
1.

The cave paintings of Ajanta began in this period. They were Buddhist in character.

Science & Technology


Astronomy

1.

Indian astronomy and astrology drew a great deal from the Greeks including the
term horasastra (astrology in Sanskrit) itself from Greek term horoscope. The names of seven
days and the zodiac signs all come from Greeks.

Medical Science
1.

Charak belonged to this period and was associated with Taxilla school of medicine.

2.

We find many brahmanical texts on medicine written which could have obviously been written
by those who had a formal education and yet brahmanical literature places medical
practitioners at low level. Thus despite the theoretically low level the social utility of such
professions was high enough to warrant formal education and medical practice. Veterinary
sciences developed and books on horses and elephants were written (obviously driven by
military needs).

Arts & Crafts Techniques


1.

Industry: Leather shoes, glass making (due to contact with Romans).

2.

Trade: The Greek coins were a great improvement over the ill-designed punch marked coins.
Pliny tells us that Indian ships were 75 tonnes and some other sources tell us they could carry
700 persons.

3.

Agriculture: A hydraulic lift has been found in Sringverapura which may not have been used
for irrigation per se but the technology for moving water by varying the water levels may have
been derived from or influenced irrigation. We also find the use of wheel to draw water from the
well. The literature as well as inscription provide ample evidence of tanks, wells and
embankments.

Metallurgy
1.

Indian iron and steel technologies made rapid advancements and large number of iron
implements were made which were even exported to Abyssinian ports.

Civil Engineering
1.

The Sudarshan lake was repaired by Rudradaman.

2.

Cave architecture progressed, highly ornamented multi storied viharas were built.

Post-Mauryan Age (Satvahnas)


Architecture
Use of Burnt Bricks and Tiles
1.

From Peddabankur (Karimnagar), we have found use of flat baked bricks, perforated roof
tiles and 22 brick wells. This facilitated dense habitation as it addressed the issues of
sanitation, drinking water and durability of structures.

Fortifications
1.
Caves

The Satvahna towns were fortified. Pliny talks of over 30 walled towns.

1.

The tradition of cutting into rocks reached new heights under Satvahnas. It became
associated wit Buddhism and many chaityas (shrines) and viharas (monasteries) were cut out in
rocks. Famous chaitya is at Karle and viharas at Nasik. Chaitya was a large hall with a number
of pillars. Vihara was a large hall which was entered by a door which separated it from the

verandah in front.
Stupas
1.

Famous stupas are at Amaravati and Nagarjunkonda.

Sangam States in Tamil Land


Literature
1.

The Sangam texts are the most important pieces of work. They were composed by
brahmans of Prakrit-Sanskrit learning.

2.

Tamil text Tolkkapiyam deals with grammar and poetics and Tirukkal with philosophy. Then
there are epics Silappadikaran and Manimekalai. Silappadikaran was written by a Jaina scholar
and is a love story of a dignitary preferring a courtesan over his wife. Manimekalai is the
adventure story of his daughter. These epics throw light on the socio-economic life of the
Sangam age.

Gupta Age
Religious Practices
1.

Idol worship reached its true popularity in this age. The agricultural festivals were also given
much of their religious color and fanfare in this age.

Paintings
1.

The greatest specimen of Buddhist art in Gupta times is the Ajanta cave paintings. They
were built from a period spanning from 1 cent to 7 cent AD. But most work was done in Gupta
age. They depict various scenes from the life of Buddha and his previous births. They are lifelike, natural and have brilliant colors even after all these centuries.
dominated

by

buddha,

bodhistava,

jatak

stories,

natural

Ajanta

paintings

scenery,

animals

were
etc.

But it cannot be said that Guptas patronized these paintings.


2.

Even though the theme is religious in most paintings, we also find a glimpse of the lives of
the princes, kings, samantas etc. in them. But there is no reflection of the common man's life in
these paintings. In this way they reflect the contemporary society and its values as well.

3.

Bagha paintings have a materialistic theme and tell us about the contemporary clothing style,
hair styles, makeup, ornaments etc. Bagha paintings were made in Gupta period only as
against the Ajanta paintings which were spread over multiple periods. So they have more
uniformity. They also have more secular theme and scenes and thus are more valuable as a
historical source.

4.

Both

the fresco and

the tempera styles were used. The fresco style paintings are made on

wet plaster and the tempera style paintings are made on dry plaster.

5.

Kamasutra tells us that painting was an established form of art and was studied in a
systematic way.

Sculpture
1.

The Mathura, the Gandhara and the Amaravati schools continued and new school developed
at Benaras / Sarnath. PP also became an important center.

2.

Statues were made of both stone and metals and carved on caves, temples or free standing.
The relief sculpture showed scenes from religion as well as everyday life.

3.

Statues of Buddha were built at Mathura and Sarnath. Buddha images now had more
mudras and wore transparent clothes. One bronze image of Buddha has been found from
Sultanganj. The Buddha images from east UP and Bihar show Buddha in a serene spiritual
form (as against the emphasis on the body as in the Gandhara form). The images had a large
and clear prabhamandal as against the Gandhara images where such a feature was not
prominent. The Buddhist relief sculpture made an attempt to absorb the yaksha, gandharva,
apsara traditions by depicting them on their relief sculpture.

4.

Images of Jina tirthankaras were also sculpted. Inscriptions at Udayagiri (Vidisha) and
Kahaum (Gorakhpur) talk about establishing tirthankara images.

5.

For the first time images of Hindu gods were built. Sometimes these images were solo and
sometimes the image of the main god was accompanied with other minor gods. Vishnu images
in human, varah as well as anthromorphic forms. Shiva images came up in linga and
anthromorphic forms. Images were often more symbolic than representational - thus the gods
and goddesses may have multiple hands each holding a symbol.

Architecture
Features
1.

Both religious and secular character was visible though religious was more prominent.

2.

Temple architecture came up. The first style was the nagara style.

3.

There was increasing use of re-used or broken bricks. Eg. Bhita in Allahbad.

4.

Gupta period can be called the golden age of sculpture and image making. But the same
can't be said for architecture because the temple architecture form (nagara) just emerged in this
phase and yet it peaked only in the post Gupta age. Thus while impressive buddhist viharas
and chaityas can be seen from the Gupta age, we have to wait until the 8th century to see
impressive temples.

Monuments
1.

The Buddhist university of Nalanda came up in this age (5 cent AD). Its earliest structures
were made of bricks in this age.

2.

Jina temples were constructed mostly in S India by Kadambas. The Hoskote (Bangalore) and
Banavasi inscription are examples which mention of land grants to such temples.

Temples

1.

The first brick and stone temples were built in this age. They were of Nagara style.

2.

3.

The early temple was built on a raised platform. There was a main deity room called garbhagriha then two rows of pillars leading to a smaller room in the front of the garbha-griha called
the mandapa.

The

mandapa

was

used

to

house

the

devotees. The garbha-

griha had a flat roof and a pole on top. The entire compound was like and enclosed courtyard

and walled with gates for entry and exit. Temple walls were plain but the doorways were
profusely carved. Temples were generally built from rock.
4.

Examples of such brick temples are Bhitargaon (Kanpur), Paharpur (Rajshahi, Bangladesh),
Sirpur (Raipur, Chattisgarh), Vishnu temple @ Deogarh and Tighwa, Shiva temple @ Bhumra
and Koh, Parvati temple @ Nachna. There are remains of a temple from Dah-Parbatia in
Assam.

5.

Later the influence of Dravidian style also became visible. The temple had a plinth and a
shikhara. The pillars of these temples have capitals in the form of kalash. Deogarh temple is
one such example with a vimana on top.

Caves
1.

The Buddhist caves include Bagha caves, Mandargiri and Udaigiri. The pillars were richly
carved and on the stupa, a Buddha was carved. In the viharas, a shrine room was now
introduced.

2.

Shiva caves were built in Elephanta.

Pillars
1.

The Mehrauli iron pillar.

2.

The Bhitari stone pillar inscription of Skandagupta.

Stupas
1.

The independent stupa building activity lost momentum. Few examples are Dhamekh stupa
@ Sarnath, Charsada, Taxila. However, the stupa building in Buddhist caves continued.

Drama
1.

Two things are evident from plays of this age. First, the higher classes speak Sanskrit
whereas shudras and women speak Prakrit. Second, none of them are tragedies.

2.

The Sanskrit drama Mrichchakatika (by Sudrak) was composed in this age. It was the love
story of a brahman in love with the daughter of a courtesan.

3.

13 plays were written by Bhasa.

Literature
1.

A different ornate style of Sanskrit was developed during this period which was different from
the old simple Sanskrit. Greater emphasis was laid on kavya than on prose. The audience of
the kavya literature was mainly an urbanite and it was played in goshtis and festivals. This
literature was not for religious purposes but focused on urban life.

2.

The transition from Prakrit to Sanskrit in royal inscriptions was complete.

3.

Patanjali

composed Mahabhashya and

Panini

composed Ashthadhyayi. Amarsimha

composed Amarkosha. Kamandak wrote Nitisara and Vatsayan wrote Kamasutra.


4.

The epics, the sutras etc. were compiled in this age. Panchatantra too was written under
Vakatakas. Various commentaries on philosophical schools were written in this period.

5.

Plays were romantic comedies and tragedy was avoided. Mrichchha katika was written by
Shudrak and gives a description of urban life. Mudrarakshasha was written by Vishakhadutta.

Dance & Music


1.

Gupta rulers patronized music and dance and some rulers themselves were indulged in it.
Samudragupta is depicted as playing veena in some of his coins.

2.

The growth of temples led to growth of dance and music as well. The institution of devdasis
began.

Science & Technology


Metallurgy
1.

Bronze and iron technologies advanced further as evident from the Mehrauli pillar and
Buddha's bronze statues.

Astronomy
1.

Aryabhatta came up with Aryabhattika in 5 cent AD. He also gave true reason for the
occurrence of eclipses and measured the circumference of earth. He believed that earth was
spherical and rotated on its own axis.

2.

Varhamira in 6 cent AD explained the movement of some heavenly bodies in his


book Brihad-Samhita.

3.

Previously the year was divided into 3 units of 4 months each. Now it came to be divided into
12 equal lunar months. This was useful for agricultural operations. (Matharas of Odisha)

Mathematics
1.

Aryabhatta came up with zero, three variable equations, concept of place value and the
decimal system.

Medical Science
1.

Benaras school was a famous school of surgery. Sushruta came from there.

2.

Dhanvantri was a great physician and in the court of CGV.

3.

Palkapya wrote Hasti-Ayurveda. Sialhotra wrote Asva-Shastra.

4.

Nagarjuna discovered medicinal properties of certain metals and herbal juices.

Chemical Science
1.

Varhamira and Kalidasa in their respective works talk about the method of preparing various
colored pastes.

2.

The paintings in caves of Ajanta and Bagha use rich colors.

Civil Engineering
1.

Brick temples began to be constructed in the Nagara style.

Arts & Crafts Techniques


1.

Trade: Ship building industry flourished. Large ships capable of carrying 500 persons were
built.

An Estimate of Gupta Age


1.

Aryabhatta's and Varahmihira's principles were not all indigenous. THey had also borrowed
from the Romans and the Greeks.

2.

Kalidasa's work are not a symbol of any Hindu intellectual renaissance but they are merely a
developed form of an older style of writing. Even puranas and epics were composed in earlier
age, Gupta scholars merely compiled them.

3.

Bhakti movement in Vishnu and Siva sects was not a new phenomenon. It was a mere
continuation and strengthening of an older strand.

Post-Gupta Age
1.

The growing feudal order in the society limited inter regional mobility and gave a boost to the
development of regional cultural strands. Even the inscriptions are in all different scripts such
that even if we know Gupta brahmi script, it would be difficult to read various regional
inscriptions.

Science & Technology


Astronomy
1.

Brahmagupta in 7 cent AD in his book Brahma-Sphuti-Siddhanta talked about various


astronomical instruments and suggests observation based astronomy.

2.

Bhaskaracharya in 12 cent AD in his book Siddhanta-Shiromani explained the motion of


heavenly bodies.

Medical Science
1.

Vaghavatta in 8 cent AD wrote Ashtanga-Hridaya which explained the functioning of different


parts of heart. Dhanvantri wrote Nighantu.

Chemical Science
1.

Indian chemists made great progress in alchemy (due to tantric and magic influence). They
were trying to convert metals like iron, copper etc. into gold. Obviously they didn't succeed in
that but in the process they made many acids and bases.

Mathematics
1.

Bhaskaracharya's book had an elaborate chapter on mathematics called Leelavati.

2.

Brahmagupta developed the concept of cyclical quadrilateral i.e. sum of the the opposite
angles of a quadrilateral is 180 if all its vertices lie on a circle.

Metallurgy
1.

Large umber of fine bronze sculptures were made specially of the natraja theme.

Civil Engineering
1.

Large embankments, canals etc. were built in this period for irrigational purposes.

2.

Huge temples were also built.

Arts & Crafts Techniques

1.

Agriculture Technology: Irrigation increased, use of animals for threshing and milling sugar
and oil, persian wheel, and use of one-humped camel in dry areas.

2.

Manufacturing Technology: Cotton gin came up in weaving.

3.

Military Technology: Leather and wooden stirrups were there but iron stirrups, concave
saddles and iron horse-shoe were absent. Horse-archery was also absent. Use of fire-arms
and mangonels was absent as well.

Architecture
Features
1.

Religious.

2.

Court patronage.

3.

Rock cut, shaped or use of permanent material.

4.

They didn't use arch, vault, dome and mortar. So when they began to construct huge
buildings there was no way other than constructing tapering pyramidical tops or to install thick
pillars to support heavy beams. So larger and larger stones had to be used and this
necessitated the need for sculpting them for aesthetic appeal.

5.

Highly ornamented, elaborate, massive and advanced technology.

6.

Multi-dimensional i.e. many forms of architecture were pursued.

7.

Indigenous.

8.

The notion that the architect must remain anonymous was belied in the temples of this age
and the most famous architect was Kokasa. Individual enterprise and style was encouraged but
at the same time texts were written on architecture (vastusastra) which led to some
standardization. It also proves that despite the brahmanical literary rhetoric, architect caste was
not held in low esteem in reality (otherwise why a brahman would study architecture and write a
text on it). Similarly shilpashastras were written on sculpture. The sutradhara was an exalted
position and he supervised the construction activity while the stapathi was the master builder.
Some of them even received land grants and were held as belonging to the visvakarma lineage.

Styles
1.

The dravida style temples: It was prevalent in the south of Krishna river. In the phase 1, the
main feature was building pyramidical shikhara above the garbhgriha (chief deity room). The
shikhara had a dome at the top and this entire structure was called vimana. Later in phase 2,
in front of the vimana was a pillared hall with elaborately cared pillars and flat
roof called mandapa. A circumambulatory path was provided around the garbhgriha and
images of multiple gods were carved along this passage. The entire structure was walled and
had lofty gates called gopuram. In phase 3, additional structures began to come up in the
temple complex and they grew horizontally and became more massive. Ajanta and Ellora are
examples as well.

2.

The nagara style was prevalent north of Vindhyas. It consists of (a) a square elevated
platform with a number of projections in the middle of each side giving it a cruciform shape, and
(b) in the later age the flat roofed temples gave way to a shikhara (which reflected the temple's
plan) on the main shrine and smaller shikharas on the secondary shrines.

3.

The rath temple style: In the rath temples, entire rock was cut and shaped from outside to
give it the shape of a temple. Beautiful images were then carved on it.

4.

The Chalukyas of Badami patronized the vesara style (prevalent between the Krishna and
the Vindhyas) which was a fusion of the dravidian style and the nagara style. Such examples
are found @ Aihole and Pattadakal. It was prevalent from Vindhyas to Krishna. Like dravidian
style it had a vimana, a mandapa and in some cases an additional open mandapa. Like nagar
style the vimana was heavily sculpted. Like nagara style its circumambulatory path was open.
Like nagara style the outer walls had chariots carved out on them. Other examples are Jaina
temples in Dharwad and Kalleshwar temple in Kukanoor (Hyderabad).

Caves
1.

The Pallavas: They built the cave temples of 4th generation with elaborate pillars and
ornamented entries. This was under the Mahindra style (640-74 AD ) and the Mamalla style
(640-74 AD). The cave pillars are square from bottom and top and octagonal in the middle.
These caves are less complex than those @ Ajanta and Ellora.

2.

The Chalukyas of Badami: They too patronized cave architecture. 4th generation caves were
cut.

Ellora Caves
1.

Political Dimension: They represent different dynasties. The famous Kailashnath temple was
built by Rashtrakutas.

2.

Religious Dimension: They represent different different religions. Caves are there from Jaina,
Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Even in Hindu tradition, they represent multiple gods and
multiple forms of the same god as well. The Buddhist cages represent the last in the tradition of
Buddhist cave cutting. It shows a development over previous styles. They are multi-storeyed
and highly ornamented. The Kailashnath temple contains images of Shiva pantheon as well as
Vishnu.

3.

Architectural Features Dimension: They represent multiple styles of architecture. The


famous Kailashnath temple has a superstructure in Dravidian style. It is multi-storeyed and
highly ornamented.

Temples
1.

The Ganga rulers of Odisha: They patronized temples between 8-12 cent AD. The Lingaraja
temple @ Bhubneswar, Jagannath temple @ Puri and Sun temple @ Konark were all built
during this period. The Odisha temples have pyramidical shikharas on their mandaps as well.
They also typically have chariots carved out on their outer walls. Moreover the main shikhara

has multiple smaller shikharas at the top. There is a gate in each direction. The sculpture of the
Konark temple shows clear evidence of tantric influence like the temples of Khajuraho.
2.

The Solanki rulers of Gujarat: They patronized many temples in Mt. Abu. The Dilawara and
Tejpala

temples

are

most

famous

Abu

temples.

White

marble

was

used

in

construction. They also built the Karnameru temple @ Anhilwara and Rudramallah temple @
Siddhpur. The temples of Gujarat are immensely rich and were studded with semi precious and
precious stones. Such a lavish temple building was possible only due to immense prosperity
brought by the trade. It also reflected the high level of skills mastered by the guilds of sculptors
in Gujarat. A characteristic feature of this style was the present of bawris in the basement for
water storage.
3.

The Chandela rulers of Bundelkhand: They patronized the Khajuraho temples. These
temples are built of granite and red sandstone. Kanderiya temple @ Khajuraho is the only
temple in Khajurao to have shikhara (reflecting Dravidian influence). The central Indian temples
are known for their extensive use of richly carved pillars. Each mandapa has thin shikharas.
The khajurao temples are in panchyatan style i.e. there are smaller temples on the 4 corners of
the plinth. All temples are built on a plinth. These temples clearly show the influence of
tantricism.

4.

The Pallavas: Their architecture was divided into the Mahindra style (610-40 AD),
the Mamalla style (640-74 AD), the Rajsimha style (674-800 AD) and the Nandivarman style
(800-875 AD). Cave temples called mandaps were cut in Mahindra style. They were essentially
chaityas and viharas of 4th generation. Examples are @ Pallavaram and Mahendrabad. In the
Mamalla style, rath temples were cut in addition to the cave temples which became more
ornamented. There are 5 Pandava rathas. Examples of both styles are @ Mahabalipuram. In
the Rajsimha style, cave and ratha temples were discontinued and independent dravidian style
temples emerged. Examples are the Shore temple @ Mahabalipuram and Kanchi. In the
Nandivarman style, the Pallava power was on a decline and this was reflected in the temples as
well which became smaller and less elaborate. Examples are @ Kanchi and Gudimallam.

5.

The Cholas: They picked up on the the dravidian style and took it to new heights. The early
Chola temples were relatively small and superb in simplicity. One example is the Narttamalai
temple of 9th cent - a free standing temple facing some rock cut caves. From 11th cent AD the
vimanas (pyramidical shaped) and gopurams (which gradually overwhelmed the shikharas)
became massive. The garbhgriha was entered by one or more massive mandaps with multiple
pillars. The balanced proportion of the structure gave it aesthetic quality. The temple complex
grew horizontally as numerous smaller structures came up. This was linked to the military
victories of the Chola kings. Examples are @ Padupattu & Tanjore. After there decline we can
see that no attempt was made to maintain the grandeur of the temples and this is a reflection of
the economic decline which had set in.

6.

Kerala: Here the temples were made of wood instead of stone and many temples were
circular in form - the circular sanctum being surrounded by concentrically arranged areas.

7.

The Chalukyas of Badami: The Chalukyan temples evolved from Gupta style and their
architecture developed into the Vesara style which is a fusion of dravidian style and nagara
style. Examples are some temples @ Aihole & Patdakal. The Durga temple @ Aihole is a
continuation of the Buddhist chaitya plan. Aihole had megalithic stone worship centers in the
vicinity and thus emerged as a sacred town. Cave temples are located @ Badami. The
Ladkhan temple @ Aihole has a flat roof and a pillared mandapa. The comparison of plans of
Ladkhan temple and the Virupaksha temple show us the rapidity of the change in architectural
styles.

8.

The Hosyals: They built elaborate temples in Halebid, Somnathpura and Belur. Their temples
are known for excellence in relief sculpture. Earlier they just picked up from the Chalukya style.
Gradually they became more ornate (they began to use soapstone rather than sandstone which
is softer). The ground plan of these temples was no longer rectangle but star shaped or
polygonal and the whole complex was built on a raised platform. There was not so much
emphasis (as in Chola temples) on shikharas and gopurams and thus the overall temples
appear 'flat'. On the temple walls elaborate sculpting is done using animal and floral motifs,
musicians, dancers, battle scenes, and religious literature events. The star shaped plan
provided more space for sculpting. The wide, circular pillars are a distinctive feature.

Sculpture
Temple Relief
1.

The temple walls were carved with images of gods and goddesses and their attendants,
yaksha and yakshis, kings and queens etc.

2.

They show scenes of wars, love, dance and music. The Tiruparantik form of Diva is popular
in the Brihadeshwara temple @ Tanjore.

3.

In N India the sculpture @ Khajurao, Odisha shows clear tantric influences. The sculptures
are exquisitely materialistic in appearance an reflect the contemporary society. We can see the
cosmetics, clothing style, hair styles etc. of women in the society.

4.

The Pallava sculpture was inspired more from the Buddhist tradition of Amaravati school and
remained linear and avoided over ornamentation - something which was present in the
Chalukyan sculpture.

Independent Sculpture
1.

The bronze dancing figure of Shiva i.e. Natraja became a popular theme under Cholas and
Rashtrakutas. The dancing Siva has 2 types - angry and pacific symbolizing the creation and
destruction of universe. The snake is the ornament and Ganga in his hair locks. Two back
hands hold a flame and a drum while the front hands are in abhaya mudra and one points down
towards feet.

2.

The bronze images used lost-wax technique. These figures were solid from inside unlike the
N Indian sculpture which was hollow from inside.

3.

Images of kings and queens were also built in this period and placed in the temples.

4.

World's largest monolithic statue is the Jina statue of Gomteswar is present at Sravana
Belgola (Hassan, Karnataka).

5.

In S India, there was a tradition of hero stones or viragals. They hold a sword in right hand,
bow / shield in left and arrows on shoulder. Usually there is an inscription recording the deeds
of the hero.

6.

In N India the images lack the grandeur of the Gupta age - probably because now they were
mostly of gods and goddesses to be used mostly for worship.

Painting
1.

The Chalukyas of Badami: The cave paintings of Ellora and Elephanta belong to this period
and contain themes of secular nature, brahmanical religion, Buddhism as well as Jainism
(Ellora). One cave painting shows Pulakesin II receiving a Persian ambassador.

2.

The Rashtrakutas: They continued the Ellora and Elephanta cave paintings. Kailash temple
was built by Krishna I.

Dance & Music


1.

Temples played a vital role through the institution of devdasis, employing dancers, musicians,
singers etc. and also through multiple festivals from the Pallava period onwards. The devdasis
initially also composed poems and performed some temple rituals which were related to the
idea of the special power embedded in women (a S Indian original concept) and rituals and
dance were an expression of it. But gradually this was later misused to providing entertainment
to influential priests and persons.

2.

First books on music began to come up. Narad wrote Sangeetam Karanand, Someshwar
wrote Manollas.

Literature
1.

While Sanskrit was the language of the elites, a remarkable feature was the growth in
literature of regional languages. By the end of this age, regional languages had overtaken
sanskrit.

2.

The literature of this age also mentions brahmanical rituals less frequently indicating growth
of bhakti. Erotic mysticism also finds its way into the literature of the age reflecting the influence
of bhakti. Bilhana's Chaurpanchasika and Jayadeva's Geet Govinda are examples.

3.

Medium of instruction of formal language was Sanskrit which shows its growing distance
from day to day life. Professional education was provided by the guilds. But in some professions
we do find sanskrit works being written indicating some confluence.

Jaina Literature

1.

Sanskrit also began to be widely used by Jainas and Buddhists by this time. The jainas were
prolific in writing biographies, chronicles of kings and courts and texts on religion. Hemchandra
(12th cent) and Merutunga (14th cent) were famous scholars. An interesting aspect was writing
stories on Rama from a jaina perspective.

2.

The jains insisted on literacy and thus preserved and re-copied their texts as a treasury in the
jaina temples. These developed into impressive libraries. By now a new sharda script was used
which was closer to devanagari than brahmi.

Sanskrit
1.

In most sanskrit works of the age we find lack of original and innovative thinking. They were
merely commentaries on old subjects from epics etc. This age also lacks important texts on
politics like Arthasastra and Nitisara. Focus was more on linguistic proficiency. The spread of
Sanskrit grew in S India along with the spread of Brahmans and because of the proximity to
kings much of the literature has political motives.

2.

There was a trend of growing ornate style in Sanskrit championed by Banabhatta. This was
specially because of the royal patronage scholars used to receive. This period witnessed the
growth of kavya as well as grammar.

3.

There was a growing trend of writing histriographies like Kalhana and Bilhana
(Vikramankdevcharit - a historical epic but written to please a king who had usurped the throne
from his elder brother). Attempts were made to provide vanshavalis where descent was traced
from mythological lines.

4.

A new style known as "shlesha style" emerged. An example is Shrutikirti's Dwisandhan


which when read from left to right tells the story of Rama and when read from right to left tells
the story of Kauravs.

5.

Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya, Vaghavatta and Kalhana wrote in this age. Sanskrit


dictionary was composed in this era by Amarsimha (Amarkosha). Important plays were
Mudrarakshah by Vishakhdatta, Bal Ramayan and Bal Bharat by Rajshekhar.

6.

Sanskrit texts on various professions like krishiparashar, shilpashastras, vastushastras,


veterinary sciences etc. were written reflecting social priorities.

Regional Languages
1.

Prakrit: It gradually became very heavy and lost out to Pali and Sanskrit and even Jaina
scholars began to write in Sanskrit while buddhist scholars in Pali.

2.

Tamil --> Alvars and Naynar saints popularized it from 6-9 AD. Their writings were collectively
compiled in 12th cent and called Tirumurais. Tamil literature witnessed great development.
Sometime the subjects were taken from Sanskrit works like Kamban wrote Ramayna in Chola
period but it was not merely a translation of the Valmiki ramayna as the style, treatment of
gender and even the narrative was varied according to the local tradition. Thus he treats Ravan

in a much more sympathetic way than Valmiki. In the Pallava age the tamil poems contain rich
description of general country life as well as the town life in Kaveripattnam. Confidence in Tamil
can be seen in its use along with Sanskrit in inscriptions.
3.

Kannada -->Amoghavarsha (Rashtrakuta king)wrote the first work in Kannada poetry. It was
patronized by Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hosyals. Pampa, Ponna and Ranna (the 3
Kannada jewels) wrote in this age.

4.

Apbhramsha --> The Rashtrakutas patronized it and many poets in this language lived in
their courts. The doha style of writing began to come up in this age and specially popularized by
the bhakti movement. The bhakti saints also popularized other languages like Odiya, Bengali.

5.

Telugu --> It was patronized by Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hosyals. Mahabharata was
written under Chalukyan kings.

Vijaynagar
Architecture
Features
1.

Religious as well as secular.

2.

Court patronage.

3.

Rock cut, shaped or use of permanent material.

4.

Highly ornamented, elaborate, massive and advanced technology.

5.

Multi-dimensional i.e. many forms of architecture were pursued.

6.

In

the

14th

century,

it

was

influenced

by

deccani

style

of

Chalukyas

and

Rashtrakutas. During 15th century, a typical Vijaynagar style called provida style emerged.
Basically it was an advanced version of the dravidian style. In 17th cent, the nayak style
emerged (nayaks were the feudatories of Vijaynagar kings).
Temples
1.

In the provida style, the structures of the chief god and goddess were separated and the
goddess

structure

was

called

shrine

of

the

"Amma". A

new

structure

called kalyan mandap came up which was used for the ceremonial union of the chief god and
the goddess. A thousand pillar hall was created in the temple complex for the devotees. The
gopurams became bigger and more ornamented.
2.

Examples are Viruprakash temple and Hazaraswami temple @ Hampi.

3.

The nayak style temples were bigger and more ornamented. Example is Meenakshi temple
@ Madurai.

Monuments
1.

Palaces, queens' baths, stables etc. were constructed. Example is Lotus palace of
Krishnadevrai.

Sculpture
1.

Secular sculpture developed with bronze images made of kings and queens.

MEDIEVAL INDIA
The 13th & 14th Centuries
Persian / Arabic Literature
1.

Poetry was a popular form. Amir Khusrau and Amir Hassan were great poets. They also
wrote qawwalis and created a new Indian style of poetry and is the originator of Hindustani
music.

2.

History writing was another popular trend. Barni, Afif, Siraj etc.

3.
Books we written, specially dictionaries, with painted illustrations.
Persian vs Arabic Historiography
2. analytical type. keep in mind that historiography is the study of how history is written. it is the study of
all aspects of writing history. going by this definition..... volume wise arabic history works are less
voluminous, persian more. reason, persian had been the court language of medieval rulers. what
ever was written in arabic was by travelers before delhi sultanate, by religious scholars, arab
immigrants to india. (list here famous examples)perspectives - arabic historians were not sympathetic
to hindu traditions and culture. most of the works written by religious scholars, immigrants carry that
tinge of fanaticism and superiority complex with respect to india in general and hindus in particular.
persian - more sympathetic as they were written by those who settled here and non-religious
historians. content and style - no differences that i know of. standard muslim style historical writing
with plenty of allusions to religious terms. very few were objective. most of them were written to
praise their patrons. eulogies and exaggerations. political history, cultural history, economic history,
military history etc were the genres.
methods of study - both relied on general observations, litterary sources written before them in their
languages. very less or no importance was given to numismatics, inscriptions, archaeological sources,
non-arabic and non-persian literature.
Al-Utbi's Kitab-i-Yamini
1.

He himself was Secretary to the Sultan Mahmud. He thus played an important role in the
government at Gazni, and no doubt had first hand knowledge of many of the events he
described, at least those that took place in the capital. His work covers the entire reign of the
first sultan of Gazni Nasiru-d din Subuktgin, and of his son Mahmud up to the year 410 H.
(1020 CE). As the founder of the Ghaznivite dynasty, Subuktigin played an extremely important
role in the history of India and Central Asia.

2.

Despite his proximity to Sultan Mahmud, Al Utbi seems to have little or no direct knowledge
of India. He seems to have little knowledge of Indian topography and his statements regarding
localities and place names are unreliable. No Indian words appear in his text aside from Rai.

3.

His numerous incursions into India were largely raids designed to capture spoil in material
wealth, slaves and livestock. He is portrayed as a zealous Muslim eager to destroy "idol
temples", but this was probably justification for pillage, since these activities contravened the
earlier Arab policy of granting Hindus and Buddhists protected dhimmi status.

Minhaj-us-Siraj's Tabakat-i-Nasiri
(a) Motivation behind writing
1.

Minhaj served in very high posts in his career. He was very close to the sultans. Thus his
interests were completely aligned with the interests of the sultanate i.e. to preserve and
establish strongly the Turkish rule.

2.

Another motivation definitely would be to please the sultan and he worked under many
sultans. But this was a minor motivation only as he didn't depend on writing to earn his
livelihood.

3.

By glorifying the western connections of Islam he sought to inspire the muslims as well which
was needed as they were facing a number of challenges in that age.

(b) Importance
1.

Due to his proximity to the sultans the value of his work goes up because it reflects the
thoughts of a person whose interests were completely aligned with that of the Turkish rule and
who was actively helping the sultans in preserving and establishing the rule.

2.

The sultanate was in a nascent and insecure stage then. The sultan was trying to establish
his legitimacy and authority and for this he had even sought investiture from the Caliph. In his
work Minhaj tries to establish the historical links of the Sultanate with Western Asian Islam and
covers this in his initial chapters itself.

3.

By glorifying the western connections of Islam he sought to inspire the muslims as well which
was needed as they were facing a number of challenges in that age.

4.

His interests were in the preservation and propagation of Turkish rule and his writings reflect
the insecurity of the age. He didn't care who was the sultan so long as the rule was preserved.
Thus he praised each and every sultan very highly despite the fact that he may have violently
replaced the previous sultan. For the same reason he keeps a balance between all sultans.

5.

Where he departs from the other writers of his age was he covered not just the history of his
sultan but also the entire history of Islam.

6.

Because he was writing a history of a long period it was necessary for him to draw upon the
works of other scholars. Wherever he finds 2 conflicting opinions he mentions both with sources
along with the one he accepts and the reasons for doing so. For his own period he relies on his
own experiences or those of witnesses.

7.

He gives an indiscriminate religious tone to his work. He almost absent minded uses terms
like Islamic armies and devil's armies to describe wars even if they were between two muslim
rulers only. By doing this he merely showed where his sympathy lay. This tells us about the
educational system of the day because he was a product of an educational system which was
highly religious and used only religious terms.

8.

His bias against Hindus can be seen only when he describes the conflicts. Otherwise he
ignores it when they pose no threat to the sultanate. This clearly reflects the attitude of the
sultanate rulers as well who used religion to achieve their goals in the conflict situations only
and otherwise were indifferent in all practical purposes. In many instances Minhaj goes ignores
the uncomfortable religious aspects of a problem as well if it ran counter to his objectives. This
attitude was reflected in the sultans as well.

(c) Limitations
1.

He remained confined to the ruling and elite class only. But this tells us about the nature of
state system in those days.

(d) Comparison with Barani


1.

Minhaj comes across as a scholar who lived in a turbulent phase - one where the rulers'
concern was the preservation of their rule and for which they had to make many compromises
and even shift goalposts i.e. be practical. We cannot expect him to be driven by any particular
ideology or political leaning. Institutions were fluid and situation was dynamic and one had to be
very careful. By Barani's time the institutions had stabilized, self preservation was no longer the
overriding objective and one could stick to an ideology. Tensions were emerging between these
institutions and this is reflected in Barani's writings as well.

2.

Minhaj writes in detail about different amirs in different areas and thus many of the events are
repeated. Barani on the other hand focuses on the events of only one area and writes period
wise. Thus there is no repetition in Barani.

3.

Minhaj mostly chronologically lists various events and doesn't analyzes the trends, elements
of continuity / discontinuity and the reasons thereof. Barani tries to analyze some aspect or the
other at the end of each chapter for instance how each sultan viewed punishment as.

4.

Minhaj doesn't tell us about the problems faced by the sultans. Barani tells us how Balban
strengthened his position, how sultanate changed under Khaljis, how mongol threat changed
the nature of sultanate under Ala-ud-din.

Zia-ud-din Barani (Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi & Fatwa-i-Jahandari)


(a) Motivations behind writing
1.

Barani himself writes that he hoped that his work will help others learn from past mistakes.
He claims he was repentful for not criticizing MbT when it mattered. By this work, he hoped,
people will learn and not commit the same mistakes.

2.

But in reality he had fallen out of favor of the new sultan Firuz and was even imprisoned.
Firuz had outlook which ran contrary to MbT in many ways and hence Barani was writing to
please him and earn favor.

(b) Importance
1.

His work doesn't just reflect his own thinking but tells us about the views of the educational
system and the particular section of maulvis. These maulvis relied on extremist form of Islam to

preserve their existence in polity. They expected the sultan to consult them on even political
matters and this kept their importance intact. But under MbT the dominance of maulvis had
reduced drastically as he had to make many compromises to propagate and strengthen his rule
in India which included appointment of even Hindus to high offices and not consulting the
maulvis in political matters. They were thus fearful of losing power in the politics of the age. This
is reflected in the work.
2.

Thus he prescribes that the sultan must take steps to propagate Islam, punish non muslims,
impose shariat and give more authority to men of (muslim) religion.

3.

By his time the sense of insecurity in the sultanate was over and the sultans were well
established. There was no need to draw legitimacy form the western connections any more (in
fact delhi was the sole surviving muslim sultanate). Sultanate had no connections left with the
west. So Barani makes no attempt to draw origin from west and merely carries forward from
Minhaj. He focuses only on India.

4.

Barani's work and views expressed reflect the insecurity of his class in that age. Being a Turk
or a high born was no longer considered enough to qualify for a high post! This class was
facing competition from the educated Indians. One had to have qualities also to succeed.
Barani and his class obviously resented it and in his work he criticizes the low born, prescribes
they shouldn't be given education neither employed in state service. In an ideal muslim world all
higher born will have assured hereditary high offices.

5.

Barani represented a class of nobles who depended on land and the surplus extracted for
their well being. Thus he was also very critical of merchants and traders and prescribed that the
state should ensure they don't accumulate wealth.

6.

He obviously hated Hindus because of both his education and the fact that many of them
were employed in higher posts and were richer than him (who was languishing in jail). So he is
very critical of highly placed hindus and ignores the poor hindus as he ignores poor muslims.

7.

Barani tries to analyze some aspect or the other at the end of each chapter for instance how
each sultan viewed punishment as. He tells us how Balban strengthened his position, how
sultanate changed under Khaljis, how mongol threat changed the nature of sultanate under Alaud-din.

(c) Limitations
1.

His work Fatwa-i-Jahandari is not a historical work at all. Barani has presented his own views
in form of Mahmud Gazni's lessons to his sons. Moreover the historical events presented (from
Gazni's tongue) are of doubtful historic nature. The book is just a reflection of Barani's own
thoughts on how things should be.

2.

Barani tries to mention many sources but fails to bring them out clearly. Moreover if any fact
was convenient for him and supported his views he would claim it had come from a god fearing
muslim and he could thus take it on its face value.

3.

In Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi he rarely mentions any chronology and wherever he does that it is of


doubtful nature. Perhaps it was due to the fact he was writing from jail and thus had to rely
mostly on his memory.

4.

His book is a bundle of exaggerations and he contaminates many characters.

Shams-i-Siraj Afif: Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi


(a) Motivations behind writing
1.

He was clearly not trying to please Firuz because Firuz had died by the time. He was writing
in a time when sultanate had disintegrated, anarchy prevailed all over and Timur had plundered
Delhi. So he was trying to recollect the old glorious days. He misses the past in light of his
present and that is why he tries to paint a prosperous and peaceful picture of old days.

(b) Importance
1.

His writing reflects the anarchist state of affairs of his time and how he tried to justify each
and every act of Firuz in order to portray a past that was glorious and sorely missed.

2.

In his attempt to portray Firuz's reign as one of total peace and prosperity and under a great
king, he tells unintentionally us about Firuz's weaknesses. On his part he merely focuses on
positives and presents the weaknesses as if they appear his strength. He didn't try to hide facts
because had this been the case he would have not even mentioned the weaknesses. Examples
are the famous bribe case and the military defeats.

3.

He didn't come from a very well to do family like Barani. So he is free from his biases. He
didn't have any strong ideological leanings Moreover he writes in a very simple language.

4.

He is also free from the anti-hindu biases of Barani and Minhaj (probably because he was
free from the extremist atmosphere in his upbringing like them and also because the muslims of
the age didn't face any threat from hindus - they were ravaged by mongols). Though he praises
Firuz's act of burning a brahman and imposing jiziya but that is a part of his general attempt to
portray Firuz as a great king and his reign as a golden age.

5.

Coming from a commoner background we find he moves beyond the sultan and his durbar in
his work and talks about the problems faced by the commoners.

Ibn Batuta's Rehela


1.

It is not a reliable source at all. It is interesting only because it throws some light on the socio
political events of the age. But the writer is completely biased against MbT.

2.

Moreover his description of places and things doesn't have any depth and he simply briefly
describes thins without doing any research.

Amir Khusrau
1.

Amir Khusrau took the literature from elites to the commoners. He wrote numerous popular
puzzles in a form which is enjoyable to common people. This was perhaps because he was
very close to sufis and hence influenced by them and also contributed to their cause. Thus his
writings are a reflection of sufi movement.

2.

He was a poet and not a historian. Whatever history he wrote was either on instance of the
sultans (who even told him the topics on which to write about) or to please them. Even while
writing history his focus was on the poetic aspect and not historical truth.

3.

His first work was Kiran-us-Saden (1289) which was written to please Bugra Khan and his
son Kaku-i-Bad. In this he tells us about delhi, its buildings, durbar, social life of amirs etc. and
his hatred towards mongols. Naturally his focus was on the poetic aspect.

4.

His second work was Miftah-ul-Futuh (1291) in which he praised Jalal-ud-din and his military
campaigns against Malik Chajju, against Ranthambore etc.

5.

Khwajain-ul-Futuh or Tarikh-i-Alahi was written in a highly ornate style and described the first
15 years of his reign. Although it is again more of a poetic work its historical significance comes
from the fact that it is the only contemporary source we have. This book describes military
campaigns of Ala-ud-din and Malik Kafur and presents a beautiful description of the physical
and cultural geography of India.

6.

His next work is Ashika which talks of Ala-ud-din's son Khijr Khan's desire for princess of
Gujarat Devalrani. Ge describes the campaigns launched to get her and also the geography of
India.

7.

In his work Sipihar he praises Mubarak Khalji.

8.

His strong point is that he has given a lot of dates and in general he is more trustworthy than
Barani. His writings also highlights the social conditions prevailing in the age - something most
historians of the age couldn't do. He tells us about the people, their dances, songs, settlements,
professions etc.

Al Berouni's Kitab-ul-Hind
(a) Motivation behind writing
1.

Some scholars believe that he sympathized with Indians because Mahmud had plundered
his native place too like India. Hence he was so sympathetic to Indian cause.

2.

In reality he was motivated by pure scientific and intellectual curiosity. He wanted to


understand Indian philosophical, religious and scientific thought. He analyzed everything that
came across him in a critical and scientific manner and presented his analysis in an unbiased
manner.

(b) Importance
1.

In his quest he found that most of the information he came across about India is based on
secondary sources only. He realized that second hand information is invariably corrupted as it
passes from people to people. Hence he was driven to find the original sources and hence he
began to learn Sanskrit and collect ancient Indian texts. He referred to works of Varahmihira,
Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Patanjali as well as Bhagwad Gita, Vishnu Purana, Vaayu Purana.

2.

For this he also consulted many brahmans of the age whenever he needed some help in
proper interpretation.

3.

He had a completely scientific outlook and an unbiased opinion. So religious conventions


couldn't corrupt him.

4.

Wherever he feels his understanding and knowledge is lacking he accepts it without


hesitation. He mentions it clearly wherever he had to rely on sources without testing for their
authenticity or secondary sources.

5.

He describes Indian society, culture, festivals, dress, food, entertainment, scientific thought,
philosophical thought etc. in great detail. He describes the weights and measures used in India,
distances, geographical features, alphabet etc. prevailing in India. Not only does he merely
describe them but also critically analyzes them. He talks of the legal system as mentioned in
the scriptures and highlights how the prevailing system differed from it. Weavers were low even
among the outcastes who lived only outside the villages and towns. He tells us that Buddhism
was not to be seen anywhere and he had only heard about it. He tells us about the influence of
Bhakti by recognizing a firm monotheism in N India.

6.

He expresses regret that Indians had abandoned the scientific outlook of their ancestors and
had relapsed into stagnation in mind and in thought. Instead of keeping their minds open and
learning from others as their ancestors did they now relied only on traditions.

(c) Limitations
1.

His work is mostly limited to the intellectual class of the age which was obvious given his
methodology. He holds ignorant people in very low esteem.

Hindi Literature
1.

Parochial / feudal outlook: After the fall of the Gupta empire the political landscape had
become increasingly fragmented and the land based feudal system which developed
encouraged a local parochial outlook. We can see this clearly in the literature of the age.

2.

Stagnation in the society: The society had shut its mind towards embracing new ideas and
encouraging original thinking. We find a similar trend in the literature as it became void of fresh
outlook and continued on established themes only.

3.

Phases of hindi literature: (a) ancient phase (adi kaal): reflects the feudal order of the day, (b)
bhakti phase (bhakti kaal): reflects the impact of bhakti movements of the day, (c) reeti kaal:
after the bhakti phase when the zamindari and jagirdari systems returned with new vigor along
with the presence of romanticism.

Phase 1: Ancient phase / Adi Kaal / Veer Gatha Phase (8 - 14 cent AD)
(a) Raso Literature
1.

It was called veer gatha phase earlier because the first literature found comprised almost
exclusively of the writings of the court poets glorifying the bravery of their ruling masters in
order to praise them. They often were full of exaggerations. Examples are Prithviraj Raso,
Parmal Raso (Alha and Udal), Beesaldev Raso (love affair of Ajmer ruler Beesaldev and Malwa

princess Rajmati). In addition to glorifying their bravery the poets also glorified their love affairs
with beautiful princesses of the age.
2.

Reflection of feudalistic order and parochial outlook: The literature was full of praise for the
local rulers and how they fought other local rulers. They left no words unwritten in the praise of
their local lords and ridiculing the other chiefs. Their aim was not to present historical facts but
to glorify their masters. By glorifying wars and feuds they played an important role in promoting
regional rivalry and disturbed national unity.

3.

Reflection of cherished ideals in the society: Bravery and love. Fighting wars was
noble. These wars were fought solely for personal reasons of the rulers be it vengeance or to
get a princess or simply to display one's bravery and never for the interests of the state. They
consider a brave warrior to be the most noble person.

4.

Reflection of poor status of women in the society: The way they focus solely on the beauty of
the princess while glorifying the love affairs of their masters tells us that women were treated
merely as an object of consumption. Women were expected to perform jauhar and sati. They
had no existence of their own.

5.

Reflection of lack of law and order and peace in the society: They glorify wars on the other
chiefs. They glorify violence and mention the insecurity of common people specially if they had
any valuables.

6.

Reflection of the state system: The rulers had no concern whatsoever with the welfare of
their subjects. They merely collected taxes and fought wars and were concerned with their own
glory and welfare only.

7.

Reflection of growth of regional dialects: Many of these works use a mixed form of regional
Rajasthani dialects - a style often called pingle style.

(b) Siddh Literature


1.

It reflects the contemporary religious and cultural life very well. It was written for the
propagation of Vajrayan buddhist sect in eastern India in the local languages. This literature
tells us about the changes which had occurred in the buddhist religion over the ages.

2.

They criticize complex rituals, traditionalism, extremism and advocate a simple life. They
show a dominance of mystic ideas in their thoughts. At the same time they also advocate
continuation of grihasta life.

(c) Jain Literature


1.

It flourished in western India in the form of poetic literature in local languages. For the poetic
form it is also called Raas literature. It comprises of the poems which were sung in the jain
temples by the worshippers.

2.

They told us about the contemporary feuds etc. but their main aim remained to emphasize
the principles of non violence enshrined in the Jain religion. Chandan Bala Raas is a famous
work.

(d) Nath Literature


1.

It emerged in eastern India as a reaction to Siddh literature. While the Siddh literature
believed in continuation of normal married life the Nath sect opposed consummation. It was
advocated by Gorakhnath and Matsyendranath.

2.

They believed in austerities and self control. They idealized a man who doesn't get deviated
from his path despite being surrounded by all temptations. It has elements of mysticism in it.

(e) Material Literature (Laukik Literature)


1.

Romantic literature: Its main works are Jaichandra Prakash, Jai Mayank Chandrika and
Vasant Vilas. Their main emphasis was on expressing the feelings of heart, description of
women etc.

2.

Literature for commoners: Amir Khusrau took the literature from elites to the commoners. He
wrote numerous popular puzzles in a form which is enjoyable to common people.

Phase 2: Bhakti Phase (14 - 16 cent AD)


1.

Different provincial rulers began to patronize music. Due to the fusion of Indo-Islamic music,
khyal style emerged. Texts were written on this music which formed a part of the bhakti
literature.

2.

This period was a period of growing regionalism and declining central authority. This was
reflected in the rapid growth of regional languages as well which became fully developed in this
period. Similarly new styles of literature emerged in different parts and attained maturity. This
trend is reflected in the bhakti period literature.

3.

Bhakti movement sought to involve more people with it and to awaken them. This led to the
development of literature for people instead of the literature for the elites as in the previous raso
literature.

4.

Bhakti and sufi movement led to spread of communal harmony. This effort can be seen in the
literature as well.

5.

Bhakti movement drew from the basic tenants of upanishads and vedas but was progressive
in its outlook and humanist in character. This can be directly seen in its literature as well.

6.

The nirgun literature can be divided into two - one emphasizing knowledge (like kabir, nanak,
dudu dayal) emphasized on the greatness of the teacher. It was more radical, egalitarian,
assimilatory, vocal in their criticism of traditional rituals and closer to the masses. The other
type of nirgun literature emphasized on love (sufis, chandayan, mrigavati, padmavat) which
preached monotheism and tried to bring hindus and muslims closer. It was romantic in nature
with God as the love object. They believed by loving God we can eliminate all differences. They
portray God as a woman and soul as a man.

7.

The sagun literature can be divided into two - one devoted to Rama (tulsidas, ramanand) and
other devoted to Krishna (mira, surdas). They use a highly poetic literature which could be sung
in the temples.

Phase 3: Traditional Phase / Riti Phase (Mughals)


1.

Under the Mughals we saw the emergence of a truly composite ruling class which included
Hindus as well. We can see the impact in the literature of the time as it came closer to the
Islamic literature. We can see the descriptions of the dresses, attitude and practices, subjects
etc. all in a way which indicated that both communities had come closer to each other. Thus the
protagonists of hindi literature now freely wore dresses made of fine silk and muslin, used
arabic perfumes, engaged in entertainment like the mughal rulers, their durbars, various
practices became more like mughals. Even the religious subjects like Krishna and Radha are
portrayed in an intensely romantic and playful manner and wearing muslim costumes. There is
a clear departure from the traditional focus on spiritualism and devotion towards worldly
pleasures. There is increased focus on wealth, wine and women.

2.

Under Akbar we find many muslim writers like Rahim, Ras-khan composing in Hindi while
many Hindi works being translated into Persian. A new upanishad called Allah-o-upanishad was
even composed. We see that the writers who tried to preach communalism could not find any
popularity in this age.

3.

With respect to women, the literature clearly shows them as an object of to be enjoyed as
against their depiction as goddesses, mothers etc. earlier. Even characters like Sita and Radha
were no longer objects of worship but the focus was on their body and makeup and they were
treated as objects of consummation.

4.

Thus we can see a clear decline of bhakti spirit in the literature of this age and instead being
replaced by consumption which was also the social undercurrent as the ruling class (who were
the audience of such literature) believed in consumption only. Thus this literature can also be
called as class literature. In opposition to this there was a minor strand of mass literature
specially coming from sufi saints of the age like Mira etc. which opposed worldly
consumption. We can also see a strand of literature emphasizing on morals in the form of
dohas of Rahim etc.

5.

Just like the ruling class was separate from and unmindful of the problems of the masses the
class literature also ignores the masses and focuses only on the lifestyle of the rulers. We can
also see a clear movement towards attributing divine association to the emperors and kings as
was emphasized by the Mughals.

Sanskrit Literature
Kalhana's Rajtarangini
(a) Why was such a work written only in Kashmir?
1.

Some scholars believe that Kashmir because of being cutoff from rest of India and its distinct
geographical setup was able to maintain a separate cultural identity. Thus regional loyalty was
very strong in Kashmir. Moreover it had constant interaction with the Buddhists in Tibet and

China as well as with Central Asia. Such places had a strong tradition of historiography and
hence the work was written in Kashmir.
2.

But it must be recognized that in that period entire India was fragmented into numerous
localities and under feudal system. Regional outlook was strong everywhere. Such attempts to
write on regional histories came up everywhere but what make Kalhana's work unique was its
sense of history.

3.

Kalhana was different from other raso writers in the sense that he probably didn't have the
patronage of any ruler. Thats why his work could rise above the petty nature of his
contemporaries.

(b) Motivations for writing


1.

He writes in the kavya style in order to make it interesting to the reader. Though he ensures
creativity in his writing yet he never loses sight of his main goal vis to write historical truths as
seen by him. Thus he maintained his objectivity in most matters.

2.

He was writing in a very turbulent period. Harsha's reign had ended and there were lots of
wars and struggles around. He wanted to write impartially so as to present facts before people
and make them learn from their mistakes.

(c) Importance
1.

He mentions his sources in detail. He mentions the 11 scholars who gave him the family tree
of Kashmir rulers. He mentions the legends, myths, folklore etc. wherever he had to rely on it.
But his strongest point is he relies on inscriptions in the temples, land grant inscriptions etc. and
mentions them clearly.

2.

His work is divided into 8 parts. First 3 cover history of more than 3000 years which mainly
rely on Puranas and legends. His real historiography begins from 4th part and in 4 - 6 he covers
the Karkota and Utpal rulers. For these parts he relies on inscriptions as well as buddhist texts.
In 7 and 8th part he covers the Lohara dynasty.

3.

In the beginning he comes across as a mere presenter of various folklore. There was no
attempt of any analysis. But as we come closer to his period we can clearly see the critical
analysis done by him. This expresses his views clearly on matters as well as contemporary
realities. For instance Kashmir went through a very turbulent phase post Harsha. Local feudal
elements had become very strong and there was anarchy. So he says that a king should be
strong so that he can control the affairs of the kingdom efficiently. He should make sure that no
one in even the remotest village has sufficient wealth left with him so that he could even think of
posing a challenge to the king. He writes that the feudal elements derive their strength from the
vast amount of land they hold. He criticizes kayasthas and bureaucrats and accuses them of
harboring treacherous intentions against the kings. He never paints anybody in full white or
black and impartially tells us about his strengths as well as weaknesses.

4.

It tells us about other realities of the social life as well. He mentions very proudly that he
belonged to a brahman family. The society had rich who fed on fried meat and drank perfumed
cool wine. While the poor had to live on wild vegetables. It says Harsha introduced a general
dress in Kashmir of long coats. He gives us a whole lot of other information like geography,
family trees of important people, economic activities like coin moulding etc.

5.

It contains a striking description of the engineering works supervised a minister of


Avantivarman. Landslides and soil degradation led to a great amount of rubble and stone being
deposited in the Jhelum river which impeded the flow of water. This was cleared, embankments
were constructed to prevent the landslides, dams were built and lakes were drained. The
minister even managed to divert the course of the Jhelum and the Indus rivers slightly which led
to reclamation of land for cultivation. This has been supported by archaeological evidences and
subsequent economic prosperity of Kashmir and it led to withdrawal of Kashmir from the plains
politics since the need to move there was lessened.

(d) Limitations
1.

His analysis is not entirely free from his biases. Thus while he criticizes bureaucracy
(because it was made of mostly kayasthas) and says the bureaucracy had corrupted the kings
and persuaded them to follow anti - people policies, he says that the king should consult
brahmans instead. This perhaps reflects his personal grudge.

Architecture
Features
1.

Before the advent of Turks, Rajput architecture belonged to the trabeate style and had flat
roofs, false arches and stone / mud based. But Turks brought with them the Islamic style vis
true arches, domes and used lime mortar and brick based.

2.

Turkish architecture was technologically superior as it used true arches, domes, lime mortar,
headers and stretchers brick outlay, was massive.

3.

It also left enough space for the circulation of air.

How the architecture reflects contemporary socio-politico-economic realities?


1.

Urbanization: Turks were urban dwellers. Their monuments are in urban areas and promote
urbanism.

2.

Concentration of wealth: The turkish rulers extracted all the agriculture surplus in their hands.
This surplus had to be put to use and it happened in the form of grand monuments.

3.

Reflects the distance between the rulers and the ruled, the despotism of the sultans: Each
monument reflects the tastes of the sultan as because of their scale each sultan tried to build
according to his likes to expand his glory. Ala-ud-din built Alai Darwaza which was majestic in
scale. This reflects the despotism of the sultan and his ability to extract surplus from the
peasants.

4.

Communal composition: Most of the monuments were Islamic which showed the distribution
of power in the urban society. Islam doesn't permit images of birds and animals so floral
designs, geometric designs and calligraphy came up.

5.

They can be divided into 3 phases - (a) During and immediately after Turkish conquest when
many hindu temples were destroyed and new islamic monuments were sought to be created in
their place quickly. (b) Exchange of skills and traditions between Indian and Islamic architecture
forms but at the same time also shows lack of mastery of Indian craftsmen over the new Islamic
form, (c) evolution of a special Indo - Islamic form.

6.

During and immediately after Turkish conquest: Turkish rulers had not yet established
themselves. They needed to create an awe among the ruled. Thus Iltutmish created many
monuments in Delhi so that the public could be awed. Qutub Minar was built as a symbol of
Turkish victory. Further the monuments of the age can't be divided exclusively into secular and
religious monuments. This is because the rulers needed monuments which could be used for
huge public gatherings of the nascent Muslim society in India. Thus they were often located in
the middle of the town and had large open garden in them, pillared verandahs on 3 sides and
the praying site facing west. There was a raised platform where imams and sultans could
address the public. First such monument of the kind was Kuwwat - ul - Islam in Qila
Pithora. They had come to India as conquerors. So they didn't bring along any masons. So the
initial monuments have a deep influence of Indian architecture. The buildings of this phase were
built by demolishing parts of existing hindu temples and converting them according to muslim
needs by destroying the images, putting a wall in garbhgriha and inscribing Quranic verses.
Also the flat roof had to be converted into a dome and flat windows into arch. The Indian
craftsmen were used to their traditional style only. One of the earliest monuments is Adhai Din
Ka Jhopda which was built by Qutub-ud-din which has false arches.

7.

Expanding muslim population in India and subsequent rise of Indian muslim class: A
mosque's area is often proportional to the Muslim population living in the area. Thus Quwwat ul - Islam mosque was expanded by Iltutmish and Ala -ud -din. As Indian muslim class grew
stronger it also got its fair share in the ruling class in the form of Khaljis. So the expansion of the
mosque also symbolizes rising power of Indian muslim class.

8.

Exchange of skills and traditions between Indian and Islamic architectural forms: Gradually
we see pure form of Islamic architecture coming as Indian craftsmen began to master the new
form. Balban's tomb had the first True arch. Jamat-i-khana mosque of Alauddin is the first true
Islamic monument. Alai Darwaza can be construed to be the first monument which symbolizes
the end of the initial phase of insecurity and the Indo-Islamic architectural form.

9.

Tughluq age: The monuments built were inferior in grandeur and beauty compared to the
Khalji phase. Perhaps they represented a reaction to the excessive ways of the Khaljis or the
economic problems facing the sultan. Under Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq we can see the

continuation of the fusion of Indo-Islamic forms. Thus in his mausoleum we can see a kalash
kept on top of the dome. The construction work in Tughluqabad may also reflect the haste and
commotion in the face of impending Mongol threat. Firuz constructed many monuments but
none matched the grandeur of earlier sultans. Specially under Firuz, sloping walls
called salami were prevalent to give an impression of solidity to the monument. True domes
were constructed but they were somewhat small. Pentagonal designs came up.
10.

Lodi age: Lodis believed in the kingship theory of being first among the equals. This is also
reflected in the architecture as we find that the monuments built by many Amirs were equal in
scale and grandeur to those built by the sultans. By their time, the octagonal designs, double
domes and headers and stretchers brick layering styles came up. Char-bagh style also came
up.

Painting
1.

These paintings also show many musical instruments like various forms of veena.

Evidences of Growth of Paintings Under Sultans


1.

It was generally considered that the sultans didn't favor paintings. But recent evidences firmly
establish that paintings flourished under the sultans, under the provincial rulers of the age as
well as under the elite elements of the society.

2.

Contemporary writer Taj-ud-din Raja says that paintings were quite popular under Iltutmish's
reign. He explicitly talks of paintings involving human and animal figures while the Caliph's
envoy was welcomed at the port. Other contemporary writers confirm what he says.

3.

We find both direct and indirect evidences of paintings being used as illustrations in books
during Ala-ud-din's rule. Amir Khusrau writes in detail how these designs were prepared.

4.

Shams-i-Siraj Afif in his Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi writes clearly that Firuz banned the living portraits
of humans in the palace galleries and bedrooms of the sultan. This tells us that such a practice
was followed right in the heart of sultanate.

5.

Similarly Barani writes in Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi that Jalal-ud-din finished the work of


construction of a palace started by Sultan Kaku-i-bad and decorated it with paintings.

Regional Paintings
1.

Jaunpur paintings: Various plays and other literary works in the Avadhi language make liberal
use of illustrations and/or talk explicitly about paintings. Prominent are the romantic works of
Chandayan and Mrigavati. The subjects of such works were often derived from Ramayan and
Mahabharat. Another Persian manuscript has been found which is heavily influenced by
Persian painting style.

2.

Paintings under Jain merchants: Since 9 - 10 cent AD we find miniature illustrations in


religious works of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism under the Palas. In the 13 - 15 cent AD
such a tradition emerged very strongly under the patronage of rich Jain merchants and spread

to central and northern India as well. In Ahemdabad many secular as well as religious Jain
works were created which had illustrations in them.
3.

Mandu paintings: We have found 4 major manuscripts here which give evidence of
flourishing painting art here. A manuscript found here (Niyamatnama) has many miniature
portraits of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Khalji. These paintings show clear fusion of Indian and Persian
art. They use bright and lively colors and reflect the liveliness of the durbar of Mandu. Another
manuscript is Miftah-ul-Fuzala which is a dictionary. The manuscript Vostan shows heavy
influence of Persian art. The 4th one is Ujaib-ul-Sannati.

4.

Bengal paintings: A manuscript Sharafnama has 9 paintings. Sikandarnama has beautiful


paintings on its opening page itself. They show clear fusion of Indo-Islamic forms.

Composite Culture
1.

The fusion of Indo Islamic culture began with the Turks in 13th century. Before that Arab
merchants were residing in India in the Malabar and Rashtrakuta empire and Arabs had also
conquered Sind. But still not much exchange happened. This fusion reached greater heights
under the Mughals.

Music
1.

Despite the opposition of religious extremists, music flourished under the Sultans. Amir
Khusrau developed a new Indian style of poetry. MbT and Zain-ul-Abedin were big patrons of
music. Then under Mughals it reached its zenith. Abul Fazl tells us about the prominent
musicians in Akbar's court which included both Hindus and Muslims. Under Bijapur's sultan
Ibrahim Adil Shah many texts were written in poetry. He himself was a poet. Bahadur Shah and
Muhammad Shah also encouraged music.

Language and Literature


1.

One of the major steps which promoted the fusion was the complete Persianization of the
administrative work. This encouraged Hindus to take up Persian learning and they also began
to contribute to the Persian literature.

2.

Regional languages also began to liberally exchange with Persian due to this move. Though
they kept their basic grammar and syntax but incorporated many words from Persian (specially
Marathi for instance Peshwa, Avadhi, Bengali). We can see the influence of Persian in Nanak's
work as well as Tulsi's Ramcharitmanas. Regional languages also developed as the Muslim
rulers in provinces also patronized them (for instance Zain-ul-Abedin encouraged compilation of
Rajtarangini, he also encouraged Kashmiri literature. Sanskrit works came up in Muhammed
Begara's reign, Gujarati works were encouraged by Ahmedshah. Similarly Bengali, Telugu etc.
were encouraged by the local rulers). Many works were translated from Persian and Sanskrit
into these regional languages.

3.

Akbar was very fond of literary works and had a big library of works in many languages. He
also got many works translated into Persian.

Urdu Language
1.

The Turkish invaders came here and settled here. With time their links with Central Asia
broke (specifically due to Mongol invasions) and hence they had to recruit for their armed
forces from among Indians. Naturally there was a barrier in communication between the
Persian speaking central asians and hindi speaking Indians. Thus urdu came up as the camp
language. Amir Khusrau was one of the first prominent writers to also take up Urdu.

2.

When the sufi saints and subsequently the sultans went to deccan they faced the same
language barrier again. So the language which subsequently came up after exchanges with the
regional languages is called Deccani language which evolved into the more formal / classical
form of Urdu. With the expansion of Mughal empire in 17th century in Deccan the spread of
Deccani increased.

3.

In 18th century Urdu emerged as the leading language of the gentry and symbolized the
revolt against the Persian dominance.

Provincial Architecture
1.

Gujarati style represents the clearest influence of Hindu style of architecture. We can see this
in the Jama Masjid @ Ahemdabad, Khambat and Badi Masjid @ Champaner etc. where they
resemble Hindu and Jaina temples closely. The dome was supported by slender minarets.
Influence seen in Fatehpur Sikri.

2.

In Golconda fort we can see that the arches were ornamented with Hindu motifs like cranes,
parrots, lions, peacocks etc. Similarly in Bijapur's Jama Masjid we can see sculptures of Pipal
trees on the walls which is a sacred tree for Hindus.

3.

Under the Bundelas @ Orchha and Datia we can see arches along with Hindu style. Under
Marathas we can see Islamic features lime minarets, domes etc. which are even used in the
construction of temples. Marathas also had gardens constructed in their palaces along with
fountains, canals etc.

Religion and Philosophy


1.

Bhakti and Sufi movements influenced each other and the popular thought. Din-i-ilahi was a
manifestation of the fusion. Dara Shikoh was also a great assimilatory character and influenced
by sufism.

2.

Still the exchange couldn't take place beyond some popular practices and beliefs. At the
philosophical level the fusion was not visible except for the above mentioned instances. There
were some sufi saints who incorporated some practices of hindu saints like yoga etc. A
particular sect of Muslims believed Prophet to be an avatar, Muin-ud-din Chisti to be a demigod.
We can see people of both community celebrating many festivals together. This communal
harmony was encouraged by the provincial sultans as well.

Evolution of a Composite Ruling Class

1.

With time the domination of Turks ended and we can see Indian Muslims rising in the rank of
the ruling class. Then there were many Hindus who were exploited in the Hindu society, they
sought to take advantage of the new situation for their advance. Slowly even the better off
hindus aligned themselves with the sultans and even though they didn't get a share directly in
the upper echelons of power they were quite important for the sultanate.

2.

When Sikandar Lodi ordered for the adoption of Persian as the official language many
learned Hindu classes like Kayastha, Kashmiri brahmans etc. learnt Persian and took
advantage. The ruling class at the village and local level still comprised predominantly of
hindus. Yet before Mughals a truly composite ruling class couldn't emerge.

Amir Khusrau in Music


1.

He was very much influenced by Indian music and gave many new ragas (like tilak, sarpada,
saajgiri) and taals by fusing Indian and Islamic music. He is said to have popularized Qawwalis
and invented tabla and sitar.

Sufis in Music
1.

They contributed in the form of gazals and qawwalis. Gazal is a romantic form of music
where the object of love is a person in this world only. Qawwali is the romantic music where the
object is God. As such gazals became very popular in the durbars of sultans.

Culture in Mughal Empire


Persian History Writing
Nature and Character
1.

In N India land records were kept in Persian only. In S India however, both local and Persian
languages were used. This gave a great boost to the spread of Persian.

2.

The histories were written within the confinement of Islam i.e. criticism of Kuran, Hadi, Sunna
etc. is not possible and it must remain within the confines of the religion.

3.

The rising might of the emperor had an influence on the historiography as well and now the
history of the age became the history of the emperor. The completed works now came to be
dedicated to the emperor. The earlier Arabic tradition of giving sources was also discontinued
here. Divine association of the kings was emphasized upon to establish their sovereignty. We
find the tradition of history writing spreading to the provinces as well.

4.

We find extensive use of religious terminology in the texts which might appear to the extent of
outright communal at the first glance. But it must be kept in mind that in those days religion and
education were intricately linked. The scholars were invariably men of religion and they knew no
terminology other than religious. Thus they make indiscriminate use of such terms. For instance
using such terms lashkar-i-kufra and lashkar-i-islam even when both sides fighting each other
were Muslims.

5.

We must also keep in mind that the interest of much of the history writing section differed
from those of the sultans. The history writing section mainly came from the religious ulemmas

class and wanted sultan to be bound by the shariat and kuran so that he would have to consult
them on all matters and their importance in the politics grows. Sultans on the other hand were
not willing to accept any sovereignty above them. So to please the ulemmas and to show their
complete loyalty towards shariat whenever it was possible they tried to give religious color to
actions otherwise necessitated by politico-economic considerations. The historians naturally
used to give lot of importance and communal color to such events.
6.

The political stability and economic prosperity of the age can also be seen in such works.

Differences from Sultanate Era History Writing


1.

The completed works now came to be dedicated to the emperor.

2.

The earlier Arabic tradition of giving sources was also discontinued here.

3.

The emperors used to pay a lot of attention to history writings themselves as is evident from
the tradition of autobiographies in the mughal age. When they couldn't they appointed highest
scholars for the task and gave them full access to all government records (including the
classified ones) and gave them other privileges as well. But as usual this means these writings
were often biased.

4.

In the mughal works we can see events presented chronologically year after year along with
all the dates. But in Barani's work we see lack of such chronology.

5.

The techniques of paper making and binding showed marked improvement over the
sultanate era and so we have larger amount of sources of mughal era with us.

Zahir-ud-din Muhammed Babur and Tuzuk-i-Babri


(a) Importance
1.

Its importance is that its an autobiography and this is where Mughals differed from sultans.
The work is from someone who was shaping the India of the age and brought a revolution. He
divides his work in 3 parts - first part runs from his accession to the throne of Fargana and ends
with leaving Samarkand for the final time, second part tells us about his struggles and wars in
India and the third part tells us about the state of affairs in India.

2.

He describes the political situation of the country in great detail. He talks about different
provincial rulers like Gujarat, Malwa, Bijapur, Golconda etc., Vijaynagar, Bengal, Rajputana. He
talks about the difficulties faced in keeping the conquered areas firmly under his control. He
talks about the difficulties faced in collecting land revenue.

3.

Being a foreigner he tells us in detail about all things which struck to him and which may
have been ordinary to a resident here. He was a keen observer and describes people and
geography in great detail. He writes about their clothes, food, habits, behavior, profession,
social structure, festivals, art forms, architecture, technologies etc. in great detail. Thus he
produces a rich account.

4.

He also writes very frankly about his own mistakes. It also gives a good account of the
conditions prevailing in Humayun's initial years and tells us about his strengths and
weaknesses as well.

(b) Limitations
1.

He can be accused of distortion of facts also specially while highlighting his military victories.

2.

He forms a negative stereotype of Indians based on his observations of certain backward


sections of the society.

3.

He also leaves out certain provinces like Sind, Kashmir, Odisha, Khandesh. He neglects
Portuguese as well.

4.

His is also a broken account - sometimes it had long breaks.

Humayun's Historiography
1.

Tarikh-i-Rashidi by Hussain Mirza: He was a senior commander in Babur's and then


Humayun's army and hence the importance. He talks in detail about Humayun's period. He
writes about character and habits of Humayun. He gives a different and detailed account of
circumstances leading to the battle @ Kannauj and Kamran's role in it. He said that some
revolts had emerged in Punjab and Qandhar so Kamran had to return immediately but he left
5000 sawars with Humayun.

2.

Kanun-i-Humayuni by Khond-Mir: The writer was a senior official under Humayun and thus
gives us a good account of the events and conventions of the durbar.

3.

Humayunnama by Gulbadan: She was a step sister to Humayun and tells us in detail about
the life of royal ladies and Humayun's exile and conquering Kabul.

Akbar's Historiography
1.

It had 3 strands - (a) the official version i.e. Akbarnama written by Abul Fazl and which was
sponsored by Akbar, (b) neutral version i.e. Tabakat-i-Akbari written by Nizam-ud-din Ahmad,
and (c) anti-Akbar version Muntakbh-ut-Tarikh written by Badayuni.

(a) Akbarnama by Abul Fazl


1.

Abul Fazl was a liberal person like Akbar and consequently had come very close to him. In
1590 he was entrusted with the task of writing history of Akbar. The first part starts with Akbar's
birth and ends in 1572 where he talks about creation of the universe, other religions and their
prophets, Akbar's ancestors etc. In the second one he covers the period till 1588. The third part
is Ain-i-Akbari. The 4th part talks about the geography, people, climate, indian saints, sufi saints
etc. of India. In the final part he gives his brief autobiography.

2.

He studied all relevant Arabic and Persian history books, he used all relevant official records,
farmaans etc., he interviewed a lot of people including the amirs and Akbar himself, he knew
intricate details of many things being a high amir himself and whenever there was a dispute
regarding anything he used to take opinion of maximum possible number of people conversant
with the matter and if there was still any dispute left then Akbar used to take a decision.

3.

Abul Fazl was a great supporter of Akbar's liberal religious ideas and he wanted to
strengthen his position further. So he highlighted the divine aspect of Akbar's kingship and also
praised sulh-i-kul policy of Akbar. He supported his claim to mustajir. Various religions generally
associate births of prophets or great men with some divine signs. Abu Fazl tries to link Akbar's
birth with some divine signs as well. If he was not given formal education during his childhood,
Abu Fazl links it to such a tradition among the prophets. He wanted people to believe that Akbar
had an element of divinity in him so that they follow his orders without any issues.

4.

He rejects the highly ornamental style of Persian writing of previous historians and instead
writes in a very simple and yet lovable language. Unlike other Persian historians he doesn't use
any such language which can even hint at religious intolerance. This was a big break from the
history writing tradition of the age.

5.

Ain--i-Akbari reflects the liberal religious views and sulh-i-kul thoughts of Akbar. It tries to give
a harmonious portrayal of hindus and hindu philosophy and presents them as being tolerant,
liberal and assimilatory. Although it must be noted that he didn't know Sanskrit like Berouni and
thus suffered from this handicap. He tries to portray the apparent differences between various
religions as a result of different languages, ignorance of the religious heads and interpreters,
their traditional and fanatical outlook, use of religion by them and the rulers to serve their
personal ambitions etc. In reality there is no difference between any religion. He rejects the
claim of old historians that in India there is an inherent conflict between the muslims and
hindus. He also rejects any fanaticism be it in hindus or in muslims. Thus he praises Todarmal
for his qualities but criticizes him for his lack of tolerance.

(b) Tabakat-i-Akbari by Nizam-ud-din Ahmad


1.

Nizam-ud-din was a high ranking officer under Akbar yet wrote in a neutral way. His book
covers the history of sultanate and Akbar and other provinces like Bengal, Malwa, Jaunpur,
Kashmir, Sind etc. He didn't write to gain favors from the emperor and was a man of high
integrity.

2.

He uses other works like Tuzuk-i-Babri, Akbarnama and numerous other historical texts of his
age.

(c) Muntakbh-ut-Tarikh by Al Badayuni


1.

Badayuni represented the traditional fanatical ulemma class. He had grown up and received
education in a very orthodox and fanatical environment. He hated Akbar for his religious
tolerance which he believed had led to the ignorance of learned scholars like him. He believed
that all the high posts and influence should be exclusively reserved for muslims and that too for
learned scholars like him. This was his biggest limitation but at the same time also lets us know
the impact of Akbar's policies on this section.

2.

Badayuni had been invited to ibadatkhana affairs of Akbar. But he soon found out that his
orthodox views would have no impact on the emperor. He was also jealous of Abul Fazl (who

not only influenced Akbar's policies but also was involved in implementing them) whom he
accused of poisoning the emperor's mind and this hatred shows in his work. He believes
himself to be a soldier of Islam and brands both Akbar and Abul Fazl as enemies of Islam. He
was also dissatisfied from Akbar for his regulations imposed on madad-i-mash (the tax free
land grants made to muslim ulemmas).
3.

His work has 3 parts - first one begins from Subuktgin and lasts till Humayun's death (this
can be considered as a summary of Tabakat-i-Akbar), second relates to Akbar and third relates
to some sufi saints, poets and muslim scholars.

4.

His work is full of religious intolerance and hatred for hindus. But it must be kept in mind that
he was jealous of rich hindus as they were richer than him and focuses his venom on them. At
the same time he ignores poor hindus just like he ignores poor muslims as this reflects the
typical mindset of the privileged class of the age.

5.

His research and analysis was shallow as he was not really interested in describing any
event of the age. He merely wanted to pour venom on both Akbar and Abul Fazl.

Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri by Jahangir
1.

This is an autobiography and describes in detail his campaigns including failures,


factionalism emerging in the high noblery, transfers of mansabdars and how he himself turned
away from his responsibilities. The work reflects his desires, his efforts, successes, failures
everything. He describes how he wanted to be like his father. He writes in detail about his daily
life, his thoughts very honestly.

2.

He doesn't stay limited to his life only. He also describes his officers, his perception about
their thoughts and factional fights etc. This makes it a very good source. He also describes the
geographical details of his journey to Kashmir, Malwa, Ajmer, Gujarat and Punjab.

3.

First 15 years of his reign were very good but from the 16th year onwards problems begin
and he starts to retire from active life. This is reflected in the form of irregular entries in the
book. In the alter years he delegated the responsibility of history writing to Motmid Khan who
writes in the name of Jahangir till the 19th year. From then on he writes Ikbalnama-i-Jahangiri in
his own name which again is a very reliable source.

Padshahnama (for Shahjahan)


1.

This has 3 versions. First was written by Kazwini which covers the first 10 years of his reign.
Next was written by Abdul Hamid Lahori and covers first 20 years of the reign. The third version
was written by Muhammad Waris which covers the last 10 years of his reign. This work covers
in detail the princes, amirs, scholars, sufis, poets, campaigns, political events, transfers etc.

Aurangzeb's Historiography
(a) Alamgirnama by Kasem Shiraji
1.

He covers the first 10 years of his reign. Like other official historians, he too had access to all
the governmental records. Where he needed more information he could investigate anyone and

was also free to consult the emperor. He liberally praises Aurangzeb and criticizes his brothers
and even Shahjahan. He praises those amirs who sided with Aurangzeb in his succession war.
(b) Muntakbh-ul-Lubab by Khafi Khan
1.

This is a critical work of Aurangzeb's reign and he writes how the peasantry was oppressed
by the mughals and always lived in fear. He also criticizes the handling of deccani affairs and
his work contains the elements pointing towards the decline of mughal empire.

(c) Futuhat-i-Alamgiri by Isardas Nagar


1.

This covers his reign up to 34 years and talks in detail about his relations with rajputs. He
writes how by 1691 Aurangzeb's policies had failed and his noblery had hatched ambitions to
carve out independent principalities.

European Sources: Jean Taverner


1.

He was a merchant and hence was interested mostly in economic activities of the country.
But a difference between him and other writers is that he didn't remain confined to the court
activities. He travelled across India and also wrote about the people, social life (whatever he
could understand) and economic life. Thus he becomes an important source albeit one which
should be interpreted with proper caution. He thus writes about the production activities in India,
the merchants, the sarafs, the involvement of amirs in trade, various temples etc.

2.

One limitation is that he travelled through forests so he could have written about the tribals
there but he didn't. Then his writings on religious and cultural lives are at best shallow.

European Sources: Francis Bernier


1.

He had stayed in India for a long period. So he came to understand the circumstances here
in a better way. He had access to the royal courts and hence writes about the lives of the ruling
class including the princesses. He writes about the rajputs as well.

2.

He also throws sufficient light on the economic life. He writes about the craftsmen, the
peasants etc. But he incorrectly asserts that the emperor was the owner of all land here.

3.

On amirs he writes that they lived a very consuming life. Despite large incomes they were
always indebted. He talks about the transportation means, the mughal army, the brahmans and
their narrow mindset and superstitions, the sati system, devadasi system and craft production
processes in India.

Mughal Architecture
Features
1.

Change & Continuity: Double dome, char-bagh style were elements of continuity. Influence of
provincial architecture, kalash, petra dura style were elements of change.

2.

Due to the central asian origin of the emperors the architecture was characterized by fusion
of Hindu-Islamic architecture specially under Akbar. One such influence is the kalash placed on
top of the domes which was borrowed from Hindu temple architecture. In SJ's time, greater

emphasis was placed on Islamic character of buildings. Thus during Akbar's period we can see
a fusion of regional styles into Mughal buildings. In Red Fort we can see distinct Gujarati and
Malwa influence. The use of domes was avoided and instead replaced by chatris. Domes were
used only in the mosque. We can see the use of colorful and glazed tiles on the external walls
in Sikri which resemble Persian style. On the other hand the internal walls and chatris were
ornamented with motifs of different animals and human beings in the Rajput style. Fatehpur
Sikri too saw huge influence of Gujarat and Rajput styles. Rajput influence is witnessed in the
doors and windows and in Jodhabai's and Birbal's palaces while Kashmiri influence is visible in
Mariam's palace. In Birbal's palace we can see the arches were decorated with motifs of lotus,
rose and other flowers. In the Diwan-i-Khas we can see the influence of Jain, Buddhist as well
as Hindu styles.
3.

It used the char-bagh style. Initially the monument was constructed in the middle of the
garden on a raised plinth and flowing water. Humayun's tomb is the first example. Shahjahan
changed it to placing the monument in one corner of the garden.

4.

Many beautiful gardens with flowing canals were created. It began with Babur who got a
garden created in Agra when he began to live there. Example are Shalimar @ Lahore, Nishat
Bagh in Kashmir.

5.

Double dome was another feature. Humayun's tomb is the first example.

6.

Red sandstone from Dhaulpur was extensively used by Mughals. Examples are
Shahjahanabad and Fatehpur Sikri. Marble was also used. From Jahangir's time a visible shift
was made towards use of marble.

7.

Some new cities like Din Panah by Humayun and Shergarh by SSS were built.

8.

Pietra dura style was used for ornamentation. Floral designs were carved in walls and semiprecious stones were fitted in these engravings for entire design.

9.

Last example of Mughal architecture is Safdarjung tomb.

10.

The architecture was suited to the climatic conditions of the land. The rooms were large and
airy. There were big gardens around the building and many fountains as well. The roofs had the
khus-khus grass to keep them cool.

Mughal Architecture as a Reflection of Contemporary Life


1.

It symbolizes the great power of the ruling class and the great divide between the rulers and
the ruled. Mughals brought a vast area of the country under their administration. They had
elaborate machinery to extract the agriculture surplus and this surplus was concentrated in few
hands only. This gave them the ability to provide for best of the resources from all over the
country in their monuments. This shows in the superiority of their architecture. The elite and
privileged class used burnt bricks, mortar and stones (because stone cutting and polishing was
costly) and arches, domes and vaulted roofs in their constructions. They also made use of

glasses for their windows and Jahangir even used colored glasses which were very expensive.
Commoners used mud bricks or kuccha houses.
2.

They reflect the increasing power of the emperor even in respect of his amirs. Thus while in
the Lodi rule we find that the monuments of his amirs were as good as those of the sultan, in
mughal age monuments of the emperors were way above anybody else's. While the emperors
had the resources and capacity to obtain best of material and labor from any part of the country
his nobles and provincial rulers / governors clearly couldn't do so.

3.

We can see the impact of Akbar's desire to be the religious leader of Indian muslims as well.
In Diwan-i-Aam @ Sikri we can see that the emperor's throne was placed in the western
direction which gave him religious supremacy as well. The use of many provincial styles in the
buildings can be seen to reflect Akbar's desire to be the emperor of whole India and not just a
part of it. But this innovative and assimilative character was replaced by a traditional character
in Shahjahan's monuments.

4.

The monuments clearly show the state of the empire in those days. For instance the majestic
fusion and smooth construction of Sikri shows the stability and the strength of the empire. By
Shahjahan's time a stagnation had occurred which we can see in the lack of variety in the
construction. The freshness and cultural fusion of the buildings gave way to artificial grandeur.
The innovative and assimilative character of Akbar's time was replaced by a traditional
character in Shahjahan's monuments. It appears that this was an attempt to hide the growing
problems of the empire. By Aurangzeb's time the architecture declined due to his personal
indifference as well as economic condition of the state. Whatever monuments are there show
traditional style only and lack of creativity. Instead the monuments of the regional principalities
began to grow in their attraction. This shows the decline of the empire.

5.

These majestic projects reflected the cultural currents and tastes of the age in the ruling
class. The emperors often personally paid attention to the plans and construction of the
monuments. Thus we have paintings of Akbar observing the construction of Fatehpur Sikri
personally.

6.

After 300 years of liberal exchanges and changes, Indian architecture style had stabilized.
The craftsmen had become masters of their art and this shows in the buildings which show a
style that is more mature and uniform than its predecessors. Architecture during sultanate
period was heterogenous and more like a collection of different styles.

7.

The construction made use of labor intensive technologies which indicate the abundance of
unskilled and skilled labor of the age and that it had become an important industry. Large
amount of labor was employed. For instance Akbarnama tells us 4000 workers were employed
everyday for the construction of Agra fort. Jama Masjid of Delhi employed 8000 workers and Taj
Mahal employed 20000 workers working everyday.

8.

The architecture was suited to the climatic conditions of the land. The rooms were large and
airy. There were big gardens around the building and many fountains as well. The roofs had the
khus-khus grass to keep them cool.

9.

The architecture clearly shows a fusion of Indo-Islamic styles and shows the prevailing
undercurrents of communal harmony and liberal exchange in the society.

10.

The mughal amirs used to construct their buildings close to the buildings constructed by their
ancestors.

11.

The foundation of any major project was laid only after consulting the astrological charts.

Mughal Painting
How they reflect the contemporary life?
1.

Painters were both Hindu-Muslims as well as lower caste hindus.

2.

Court patronized. Book illustrations played an important role. Karkhanas were established for
painting. Painters were paid monthly salaries + bonuses.

3.

It was un-islamic yet liberal interpretation of islam allows it.

4.

Painted portraits of Akbar showing despotism.

5.

Specialization absent.

6.

Mughal paintings show the construction scenes of the big monuments and also tell us about
the used technologies. For instance some paintings show us how stones were cut and polished
to be used in Fatehpur Sikri.

7.

Court scenes, hunting scenes, wars were painted. Indian colors were developed.

Mughal Paintings under Akbar


1.

In the initial phase during Akbar, paintings used to draw heavily from persian style though we
could see some influences of Indian style occasionally. One of the first important paintings was
the miniature style Dastan-i-Amir-Hamza or Hamzanama. It had 1200 paintings and used bright
colors. Amir Hamza was a Persian mythological hero and Akbar used to enjoy his stories.
Hamzanama depicts foreign plants and flowers. We can also see influence of Hindus style in
the painting of women in it. In Anwar-i-Suhaili we can see that the birds and animals are painted
in a very natural style whereas in persian style animals are painted in a very artificial way (they
appear more like masks than alive animals). It shows Indian trees and flowers but paints hills
and clouds in persian style. These painters were mostly Persians.

2.

In the next phase Akbar's policies had become much more assimilatory and the resulting
fusion culture had become mature. Akbar was becoming more interested in analysis of different
religions. So he wanted many books of different religions to be translated into Persian. Such
translations would also include miniatures. This gave a big boost to the fusion process. We can
see the same impact in the paintings as they now included various provincial styles like Gwalior,
Gujarat, Rajputana, Lahore, Kashmir etc. This was possible as their painters were now drawn
from all over India and not just Persia. Tootinama is an important painting from this phase and

we can see Indian influence in both subjects as well as style. The most famous painting of this
age was Razmnama which worked as a milestone for other paintings.
3.

With time we can also see the European influence in the paintings. It began when in 1580
Akbar invited a missionary to his durbar. They brought many paintings with them. The mughal
princes were impressed and the painters tried to incorporate its features in their own paintings.
In the beginning they just copied the outlines and filled it in their own colors and style. Later on
we can see the european influence both in the subjects and style. A popular feature now was
that the front objects were put in a perspective by changing their size.

4.

During the final years Akbar was besieged with many problems including the revolt of prince
Salim and death of princes Murad and Daniyal. We can see the corresponding decline in the
paintings as well specially miniatures. This decline was evident not only in quantity but also
quality as they now lacked creativity.

Mughal Paintings under Jahangir


1.

During Akbar's reign the painting was bound by the subject of the manuscript of which it
formed a part. Jahangir freed it from this limitation and encouraged free paintings (on subjects
dictated by him) including portraits. Initially he got some of the paintings redone from the royal
library. Then he turned towards life size portraits and other scenes from royal life. It must be
kept in mind even Akbar got portraits done but under Jahangir they became the dominating
theme. Jahangir was eager to have important events of his life and reign recorded and asked
the painters to paint his durbar scenes, festival celebrations, flowers and animals which
interested him etc. There is one painting which shows Jahangir aiming for a lioness's eye and a
Rajput prince is pointing towards it.

2.

The paintings of the age elevated Jahangir's aura and showed him in a majestic form. Maybe
they are an attempt to take his mind away from the dissonance of his failures to tackle some of
the problems he faced or some of the desires he could never fulfill. They were just an attempt to
show him as a great, all conquering, merciful and just ruler. For instance we can see him
greeting the persian ruler on equal terms though he never met him. The one painting shows him
presiding over (as a great great emperor) a meeting of many kings and princes from far off
lands. In another he is seen as kicking Malik Ambar's head.

3.

Thus gradually in his reign we can see miniatures declining and getting replaced by free style
paintings including the portraits.

4.

The paintings also show the animals and birds in a very natural way and focus on their bodily
features with a preciseness which is amazing. We can see signs of scientific study of such
subjects before the paintings.

Mughal Paintings after Jahangir


1.

For some years Shahjahan let them work as they were working under Jahangir. But later on
he began to have himself painted in association with some divine powers like for instance the

angels themselves are descending on earth to keep the crown on his head, or they are standing
holding flags in their hands and praying for his victory and long life. He also had himself painted
in most imposing forms. In one painting we can see Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan with Akbar
directly giving the crown to Shahjahan.
2.

Perhaps all this was an attempt to hide the decline in the fortunes of the empire. That is why
there is too much of glorifying the emperor. The decline in mughal painting had clearly set in
and creativity had given way to traditionalism.

3.

European influence can be clearly seen in these paintings as there is generally an


illuminated circle behind his head radiating light as in the european paintings of Jesus. Further
we can see that the background is generally painted blur in light colors.

Rajputana School of Painting


1.

Rajputana paintings can be broadly divided into - (a) court paintings which depict as usual
the lifestyle of the feudal lords. We can see clear mughal influence here in the form of dresses,
symbols, background, scenery etc. The influence grew as the painters returned from the delhi
court due to the decline of the empire. (b) literary paintings which typically draw their subject
matter from hindu religion. They also show less influence of islamic art and more of rajput
traditional art only because the interaction with mughals was more in the ruling class. (c) folk
paintings which typically show festivals, celebrations, daily life events etc.

Mewar School
1.

It mainly flourished in Chittor, Udaipur, Nathdwara, Deogarh, Sirohi, Saawar under Sisodias.
It shows comparatively lesser influence of mughal style due to distant political relations with the
mughals.

2.

Under Rana Amar Singh we can see that the men clothing is triangular in the bottom part of
the body which indicates mild mughal influence only. Under his successor Rana Jagat Singh we
can see an increase in the religious paintings as well as court paintings. These paintings
depicted men and women in a mix of mughal and traditional wear, birds, flowers etc. all in their
natural state but the hills were painted in mughal style.

3.

In the first half of 18th century the court paintings flourished further as lot of painters came
back, but after that we can see a decline under the influence.

Amber School
1.

It flourished under Kachwahas in Amber, Jaipur, Alwar.

2.

Here the folk painting and literature related religious painting flourished more. It flourished
under Man Singh, Sawai Jai Singh and his successors. But by 19th century it lost its appeal.

Marwar School
1.

It flourished under Rathores in Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Pali. With time we can see
growing mughal influence in the Jodhpur school as the traditional rajput elements were

replaced by refinement and adornment. It portrays men and women in stocky bodies and men
with mustaches.
2.

Bikaner school was the one most closely affiliated with the mughal style as it had very close
political relations with mughals. Instead of bright colors or beautiful scenery work like other
rajput schools it uses soft lines and color assortment like the mughals. It appears that when
mughal painters were neglected under Shahjahan they came to Bikaner. Apart from the mughal
influence we can also see deccani influence here because Rana Anup Singh stayed in deccan
for long under Aurangzeb. They too focus on the bodily beauty of women who are light and
slim.

Bundi School
1.

It flourished under the Hadas in Bundi and Jhalawar. Bundi was located between Amber in
north, Mewar in south and Kota in west. So Bundi used to attract painters from all these schools
and hence developed its distinct style.

2.

It typically used bright lively colors, focused on the bodily beauty of women and added to
their beauty by using sceneries including hills, rivers, forests, trees, fruits, flowers etc. in very
natural sense. It used a special mixture of colors to show the sky in background.

3.

In 18th century the subjects were mostly hunting scenes, durbars, portraits of the feudal
lords and their entertainment (examples of mughal influence). It too declined in the later half of
18th century.

Kota School
1.

Although it is close to Bundi, it still developed a unique style. Bundi passed through a
turbulent phase in the 18th century. So many painters from there came to Kota and worked
here. Thus it came closer to Bundi.

2.

The subjects were mostly hunting scenes, portraits of the feudal lords and their
entertainment (examples of mughal influence). It too declined in the later half of 18th century.

Kishangarh School
1.

The Rana here was very interested in art forms and was influenced by sagun bhakti. The
famous Bani Thani painting is from Kishangarh. The paintings here depict Radha and Krishna
in gardens or celebrating festivals etc. It was very much influenced by bhakti and the focus is on
the bodily beauty of Radha.

Pahadi Schools of Painting


Kangra School of Painting
1.

This school reflects the closeness to nature and uses natural scenes to express human
emotions. For example dry trees to symbolize separation, bright flowers to symbolize meeting
etc.

2.

It has many regional variations which can be seen in Bilaspur, Jammu, Mandi, Garhwal,
Chamba, Nurpur etc.

Basauli School of Painting


1.

We can see a clear fusion of folk art of Kashmir, Mughal school and Rajput school here. Its
chief centers were Jasrota, Mankot, Bandharlata, Jammu, Nurpur, Chamba.

2.

Initially we can see the traditional art forms clearly with people wearing traditional dresses
and ornaments etc. After the turbulence in Delhi due to invasions and throne games, many
painters came here and we see the influence of mughal style growing. This we can see in the
form of changes in dresses, expressions of women, ornamentation etc.

Guler or East Kangra School of Painting


1.

One of the reasons for its development was that due to disorder the route between Delhi and
NWFP and Kashmir changed from passing via Lahore to via Jammu. So with time this came
under mughal influence.

Differences with Mughal and Rajput Schools


1.

While mughal school has focused on the splendor of the emperor and his court, pahadi
school expresses the emotions, nature, religious sentiments etc. Thus pahadi school could
focus on life outside the royal sphere as well.

2.

Pahadi school tries to portray common life style and clothing style through krishna as it
happened in European renaissance. Thus krishna is depicted as wearing pahadi dresses and
among pahadi women wearing traditional dresses. The scenes are depicted in the original state
of nature.

3.

Apart from krishna, pahadi paintings also depict common girls playing the common games of
the day or playing music or depicts animals and birds in their natural settings. Women are
shown as well like mughal paintings. the paintings of the princes and their families are very
much mughal styled. The difference here though is that while such mughal paintings focused
on some political events like battles, surrender by the enemy, receiving an ambassador etc.
pahadi paintings on such events are few.

Provincial Architecture & Painting


Lucknow School of Painting
Deccani School of Painting
1.

It flourished in Bijapur, Golconda and Ahmadnagar. There was a lot of exchange between the
three centers due to the upheavals of the age so it is often difficult to distinguish which painting
belonged to which place. There were exchanges with Rajputs as well as Mughals. Nizamshahi
sultans also welcomed the painters from Vijaynagar empire. Thus the paintings show a good
fusion with hindu style as well.

2.

These paintings show openness as against the traditionalism which crept into mughal
paintings during Shahjahan. The most famous painting is that of a yogini (or princess) from
Bijapur. Adil Shah I and Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur were great patrons of art including
paintings. Their paintings are clearly influenced by western romantic school.

Patna School of Painting


Lucknow School of Architecture
Rajputana School of Architecture
Classical Music
1.

Originally there was only one system of music but in medieval age, north India came under
the influence of Persian music leading to formation of 2 schools - Hindustani (north) and
Karnataka (south). They have common basic features like raga, taal, performance includes a
soloist (either vocal or on instrument), a drummer and a tanpura.

2.

Initially Dhrupad style was popular which used veena as the instrument. Another music style
which was popular among people in those days was Dhamar style which focused on describing
krishna along with the country girls, krishna playing holi in Braj, celebration of festivals etc.
Mughal court couldn't remain uninfluenced by Holi and Tansen et al composed many Dhamars
as well and thus this folk music style found its way in the mughal courts. Apart from these two
there was the bhakti music specially from Kabir, Mira etc. which was sung. Then Akbar also
gave patronage to musicians from southern india as well as north west. Thus an all
encompassing music evolved in his period. Jahangir was a patron of music as well specially
gazals. This continued under Shahjahan but declined under Aurangzeb.

3.

In the 18th century under Muhammed Shah (court musicians Adarang and Sadarang) and
under ruler of Jaunpur, the khyal style emerged dominant. It differed from dhrupad in the sense
it allowed for more freedom of the musician as well as was was light and full of life. It has only
two parts (sthayi and antara) as against the 4 in dhrupad. It is more suited to the female voice
and this helped in its spread. In khyal style as well there were two types - chota khyal and bada
khyal. Bada khyal has slow tempo while chota khyal has medium and high and hence became
more popular among the two. Khyal was difficult to play on the traditional veena and hence new
instruments like sitar and tabla came up.

Carnatic Music
1.

In contrast to Hindustani music, the main emphasis in Carnatic music is on vocal music; most
compositions are written to be sung, and even when played on instruments, they are meant to be
performed in gayaki (singing) style.

2.

It peaked under Vijaynagar empire @ Tanjavur in 16 - 17 century. Purandar Das is known as the
father of Carnatic Music. Bhakti movement and folk music traditions contributed a lot to the

development of Carnatic music.


Shruti
1.

It refers to musical pitch, the note from which all the others are derived. It is also used in the
sense of graded pitches in an octave. While there are an infinite number of sounds falling within a
raga in Carnatic music, the number that can be distinguished by auditory perception is twenty-two.

Swara

1.

It consist of seven notes, "sa-ri-ga-ma-pa-da-ni". Every member of the swara has 3 variants (like
ra, ri, ru) except for sa, pa, ma. It refers to a type of musical sound that is a single note, which
defines a relative (higher or lower) position of a note, rather than a defined frequency.

Raga
1.

In Carnatic music, it prescribes a set of rules for building a melody. It specifies rules for
movements up (aarohanam) and down (avarohanam), the scale of which notes should figure more
and

which

notes

should

be

used

more

sparingly,

which

notes

may

be

sung

with gamaka (ornamentation), which phrases should be used or avoided, and so on. In effect, it is a
series of obligatory musical events which must be observed, either absolutely or with a particular
frequency.

Tala
1.

Taals are the repeating succession of beats or claps like on a dholak (dhik-dha-dhik-dhakdhin). They have cycles of a defined number of beats and rarely change within a song.

Hindustani Music
1.

Fusion of Vedic and Persian music as well as sufi tradition. Names like Amir Khusrau and Tansen
are associated with this school. Sufi tradition brought religious assimilation in the music as Muslim
singers sung praising Hindu deities and vice versa.

2.

It is traditional for performers who have reached a distinguished level of achievement to be


awarded titles of respect; Hindus are usually referred to as pandit and Muslims as ustad.

Dhrupad Style
1.

Its name is derived from the words "dhruva" (fixed) and "pada" (words). This tradition can be
traced back to Vedas. But it saw a decline from 18 century onwards. A newer genre, khyal, gained
popularity at dhrupad's expense as it placed less constraints on the singers and also the new
instruments being developed the sitar and the sarod were not suited to dhrupad.

2.

Dhrupad as we know it today is performed by a solo singer or a small number of singers in unison
to the beat of the pakhavaj or mridang rather than the tabla. The vocalist is usually accompanied by
two tanpuras.

3.

Dhrupad styles have long elaborate alaps and gradually accelerates. The alap is derived from
a mantra, in a recurrent, set pattern: a re ne na, t te re ne na, ri re re ne na, te ne to ne. In most
styles of dhrupad singing can easily last an hour. It is broadly subdivided into the alap proper
(unmetered), the jor (with steady rhythm) and the jhala (accelerating strumming) or nomtom, when
syllables are sung at a very rapid pace. Then the composition is sung to the rhythmic
accompaniment: the four lines, in serial order, are termed sthayi, antara, sanchari and aabhog.

Khyal Style
1.

Khyal bases itself on a collection of short songs of two to eight lines each called a bandish. Khyal
bandishes

are

typically

composed

in

variant

of Urdu

Hindi,

and

sometimes

in Persian, Marathi or Punjabi, and these compositions cover diverse topics, such as romantic or

divine love, praise of kings or gods, the seasons, dawn and dusk and they can have symbolism and
imagery. The bandish is divided into two parts the sthayi and the antara. The sthayi often uses
notes in the lower octave, while the antara uses in upper octave.
2.

Every singer generally renders the same bandish differently, with only the text and the raga
remaining the same. A typical khyal performance uses two songs the bada khyal in slow
tempo comprising most of the performance, while the chota khyal in fast tempo used as a
finale. The songs are sometimes preceded by improvised alap.

3.

The

singer

uses

the

bandish

as

raw

material

for

improvisation,

accompanied

by

a harmonium or sarangi, tabla and a tanpura in the background.

Tarana Style
1.

It is a type of composition in Hindustani classical vocal music in which certain words and
syllables are used in a medium tempo and fast tempo. It was invented by Amir Khusrau.

Tappa Style
1.

Tappa originated from the folk songs of the camel riders of Punjab and developed as a form of
classical music by Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori @ Oudh.

Thumri Style

1.

It is a semi-classical Indian music. It developed @ Oudh and deals mainly with


Krishna.

RAW MATERIALS
Bilaspur Paintings

Bilaspur town of Himachal witnessed the growth of the Pahari paintings around the
mid-17th century. Apart from the illustrations of the Bhagavata Purana, Ramayana
and Ragamala series, artists also made paintings on rumal (coverlets) for rituals and
ceremonies.

Jasrota Paintings

Jasrota paintings are mainly found in Jammu and Kashmir and revolve around court
scenes, events from the life of the kings, allegorical scenes, etc.

Mankot Paintings

Mankot paintings of Jammu and Kashmir bear a resemblance to the Basohli type,
with vivid colors and bold subjects. In the mid-17th century, portraitures became a
common theme. With time, the emphasis shifted to naturalism and subdued colors.

Nurpur Paintings

Nurpur paintings of Himachal Pradesh usually employ bright colors and flat
backgrounds. However, in the later periods, the dazzling colors were replaced by
muted ones.

Sittanavasal Paintings

Sittanavasal is the site of an ancient Jain Monastery, located at a distance of around


58 km from Trichy. The monastery is known for housing some of the most exquisite
frescoes in a rock cave. Most of these cave paintings are based on the Pandyan
period of the 9th century. The themes of these paintings include animals, fish,
ducks, people collecting lotuses from a pond, two dancing figures, etc. Apart from
that, one can also find inscriptions dating back to the 9th and 10th century. The
ceiling of the Ardhamandapam is adorned with murals from the 7th century.

Dhamyal (Haryana)

Dhamyal or Dhup is one of the most popular folk dances of Haryana. Dhamyal
dance is performed either by men alone or with women. A circular drum (Dhup) is
played lightly by the male dancers. The spring season is a time of celebration in
Haryana. The celebration is done usually after the work in the fields has been done.

Padayani (Kerala)

Padayani is one of the most colorful and popular dances of Southern Kerala.
Padayani is associated with the festival of certain temples, called Padayani or
Paddeni. Such temples are in Alleppey, Quilon, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam
districts. The main Kolams (huge masks) displayed in Padayani are Bhairavi (Kali),
Kalan (god of death), Yakshi (fairy) and Pakshi (bird).

Padayani involves a series of divine and semi divine imitation, putting Kolams of
different shapes and colors. In the performance of Padayani, dancers, actors,
singers and instrumentalists play an important role. The actors or dancers wear
Kolams that are huge headgears, with many projections and devices and a mask for
the face or a chest piece to cover the breast and abdomen of the performer.

Kummi (Tamil Nadu)

Kummi is a popular folk dance of Tamil Nadu. Kummi dance is performed by tribal
women during festivals. Kummi is a simple folk dance where dancers form circles
and clap in rhythmic way.

Kolattam

'Kollattam' or the stick dance is one of the most popular dances of Andhra Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu. Kolattam is derived from Kol (a small stick) and Attam (play). It is
also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu. Kolattam dance is a combination of
rhythmic movements, songs and music and is performed during local village
festivals. Kolattam is known by different names in different states of India. The
Kolattam group consists of dancers in the range of 8 to 40. The stick, used in the
Kolattam dance, provides the main rhythm.

Perini

The Perini Thandavam is a male dance of the warriors. As a part of tradition, the
warriors performed this dominant dance in front of the idol of Nataraja or Lord
Shiva, before leaving for the battlefield. This is popular in some parts of Andhra
Pradesh state. In earlier times the rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty patronized this
form of dance. The Perini dance is performed to the accompaniment of the beat of
the drums.

Thapetta Gullu (Andhra Pradesh)

Thapetta Gullu is a folk dance form of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh. In the
Thapetta Gullu dance more than ten persons participate. The participants or
performers sing songs in the praise of local goddess. While performing the Thapetta
Gullu dance, the dancers use drums, hanging around their necks. The dancers wear
tinkling bells around their waist.
Dollu Kunitha (Karnataka)

Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka state. In the Dollu Kanitha
dance, large drums are adorned with colored clothes and hang around the necks of
men. The songs used in this dance usually have religious and battle fervor. The
main emphasis is on quick and light movement of the feet and legs. The Dollu
Kunitha dance forms a part of the ritualistic dances of the Dodavas of Karnataka.

Ghode Modni (Goa)

The culture of Goa bears strong European influence as it was ruled by the
Portuguese for many years. Ghode Modni dance portrays the brave deeds of the
Goan warriors. In the Ghode Modni (dummy horse presentation) dance the
delightfully dressed dancers perform dances, armed with swords. During the Ghode
Modni celebrations people are in a mood for fun and frolic. Elaborate parades and
spectacular processions are taken out, accompanied by dances of boys and girls.

Lava Dance of Minicoy (Lakshadweep)

Lava dance is a colorful and energetic dance of the Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep.
During the Lava dance performance the dancers are dressed in multi-hued
costumes and a headgear. They also carry a drum. The dancers perform to the
rhythmic beats of drums and songs.

Tarangmel (Goa)

Tarangmel is an energetic and youthful dance of Goa. The Tarangmel dance is


usually performed during Dussehra and Holi celebrations. During Dussehra and Holi,
the energetic young girls and boys throng the streets in colorful group with flags
and streamers (tarang). This gathering of young people is an invitation to everyone
to join in the festive spirit. The musical instruments used during Tarangmel are
'romut', 'dhol' and 'tasha'.

Dandiya (Rajasthan)

Dandiya is a popular folk dance of Rajasthan. Dressed in colorful costumes the


performers play skillfully with big sticks in their hands. Dandiya dance is
accompanied by the musical instrument called the 'Meddale' played by the
drummer in the centre.

The Bhil tribal of Rajasthan perform a variety of dances. All these folk dances
correspond to the agricultural cycle. The Ghumer dance, Raika and Jhoria are some
examples of this type of dance. The Gher dance is a favorite and popular dance of
the Mina tribe who are similar to the Bhils while Valar is typical dance of the
Garasias of Rajasthan.

Tera Tali (Rajasthan)

Tera Tali is another famous folk dance of Rajasthan. It is performed by two or three
women of the 'Kamar' tribe. The women folk sit on the ground while performing the
Tera Tali which is an elaborate ritual with many other rituals in it. An interesting part
of the Tera Tali dance is tying of metal cymbals (Manjiras) to different parts of the
body, mostly on the legs. The Tera Tali dancers hold cymbals in their hands and
strike them in a rhythmic manner. On many occasions the women clasp a sword in
between their teeth and balance a decorative pot on their head.

Dindi And Kala

Dindi and Kala are devotional dances of Maharashtra. In these dances the playful
attitude of Lord Krishna is presented. Dindi is a small drum. The musicians,
comprising 'Mridangam' player and a vocalist, stand in the center and give the
dancers the necessary musical background. Men and women folk perform the dance
on the rhythmic music. This dance is usually performed on the Ekadashi day in the
Hindu month of Kartik.

Tippani is a popular folk dance of Saurashtra. Tippani is performed by women


laborers in parts of Saurashtra.

The Dhangari Gaja Dance is performed by Dhangars of Maharashtra to please their


God for blessings. The Dhangari Gaja dance is performed in the traditional Marathi
dresses - Dhoti, Angarakha and Pheta, accompanied by colorful handkerchiefs.
Dancers move around a group of drum players.

Koli (Maharashtra)

The Koli dance derives its name from the Koli tribe of Maharashtra. The dances of
Kolis incorporate all elements of their surroundings. The Koli dance is performed by
both men and women - divided into two groups. The main story of the dance is
enacted by the smaller group of men and women. In this dance the Kolin or
fisherwoman makes advances to the Kolis or fishermen.