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The a s t a d h ^ t u image of Nandi w h i c h s t a n d s in front

of t h e Mani Mahe^a t e m p l e a t Bharmaur, b e a r s an i n s c r i p -

tion written in three lines i n t h e S l r a d a c h a r a c t e r s of

t h e s e v e n t h c e n t u r y A.D. i t is a significant document

f o r r e a s o n s more t h a n o n e . First, it tells us some of

t h e a r c h i t e c t u r a l t e r m s and s e c o n d l y , i t describes the

names of t h e i l l u s t r i o u s Meruvarman, t h e b u i l d e r of t h e

t e m p l e and h i s m a s t e r c r a f t s m a n Gugga. J . P h . Vogel h a s

published i t s t e x t and t r a n s l a t i o n . Some of t h e a r c h i t e c -

t u r a l t e r m s have n o t been t r a n s l a t e d by h i m . It is clear

from h i s own r e m a r k s , when he s a y s : "The t r a n s l a t i o n of

t h e s e c o n d p a r t of t h e f i r s t line is problematic. For

t h e t e r m n a v a n a b h a nSma ( i f t h i s be t h e c o r r e c t readina)
I cannot offer any p l a u s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n . Nor i s i t clear

what i s meant by c a n d r a i a l a and p r a q q r l v a k a . " The o r i g i n a l

text runs as f o l l o w s :

1. Om Prasada Meru-sadr^am Himavanta-mOrdhnih k r t v a

pravara-karmma-^ubhair-anekaib taccandra^tlci' -
r a c i t a m navangbha rSma p r a q q r i v a k a i yividha-mandapa

2. t a s y S q r a t o vrsabha p I n a - k a p o l a - k S y a h s a m ^ l i s t a -
v a k s a - k a k u d ^ h a t a devayanan S r i Meruvarmma ^
c a t u r o d a d h i - k I r 1 1 i r e s 5 h m?t5-pituh satatamgtma-

3. Om krtam karmmina Guqqenah//

"After that he had made himself temple like unto Mount Wieru

on the top of the Himavant through the manifold bliss of

Chis] excellent actions (karman). gabled chambers (gavaksa-
windows), navagarbha. i.e. nine parts of the garbhagriha.
antechamber or antarala (pragorlva) and mandapa (hall)
with numerous decorations were added to it; In front of
it [[was set this^ bull, fat of cheeks and body, solid by
breast and hump, the exalted vehicle of the god (Siva).
This is the glorious work of Sri .Meruvarman [famous] over
the four Oceans, [tending] to increase continually the
Spiritual fruits of his parents and himself. Made by the
craftsman Gugga."
Now the question arises: does the present temole of
Mani .Vlahesa bear all those architectural characteristics
as referred to in the first line of the inscription?
Significantly, three architectural terms so widely described
in the vastusastras, viz., candrasali. praqqriva and mandapa
help us to ascertain the relationship of the present temple
with the ones described in the inscription. The candrasala
has been described by P.K, Acharya "a room at the top of
a house, a kind of windows" , A.K. Coomaraswamy is more
specific in explanation when he writes that the "proper
term in Sanskrit seems to be candra^a. . .. meanino either
a gabled chamber on or above the kapota (for which candra
is given as a synonym), or the gable window itself".
Further he points out that qavaksa in the Raqhuvarhsa. Vlljil
and XIX: 7 is synonymous with it and is the same as modern
_ _ T 7
.iharokha. The pragorlva signifies an antarala or two

pillared portico in front of the doorway of the sanctum.

It is interesting to note that almost all the nagara
temples of Himachal Pradesh are of the praqoriva type.
The mandapa stands for a hall built in front of the
praqoriva. as in the case of Vaidyanath temple, Baijnath.
The fourth term navanabha poses difficulty in interpre-
tation. In this case, navan"abha i.e. nine navels, oupht
to be navaqarbha , that is the plan of the temple divided
into 9 y 9 = 81 squares. The Brihat Sarhhita discusses
such ritual diagram in the context of domestic and urban
architecture. However, the oriqinal distinction between
the plans of 64 and 81 squares is not maintained in the
vastusastras. where architecture other than sacred is
dealt with.
Let us examine whether the present temple is the
original one or rebuilt in the subsequent centuries, Voqel
believes that "the temples of Laksana, Sakti and Gane^a
are all built of stone and wood and decorated with wood
carving it seems highly probable that the Siva temple of
Meruvarman was a shrine of the same type, which at a later
period was replaced by the present stone temple" . The
last part of his statement is absolutely correct but not the
earlier one. The temples of Laksana and Sakti stand even
today in their oriqinal forms. None of them have a
candrasala and a praqqriva, They have mandapas, How
could be JVteruvarman's Siva temple like those of Laksana
and Sakti temples? The architectural details, as described
in the Nandi inscription do not support such views. Thus,

temple was undoubtedly of the naqara type, built of,

stone unlike the wood and stone-masonry structures-Laksaria
and Sakti temples. The present temple possesses praooriva
as well as three candrasalas. The plan of the temple
does not accomodate the ritual grid of 9 X 9 = 81 squares.
Further, nor there is any ma nd a pa attached to it. The only
possible explanation which can be made is that the present
temple is not the one built by Meruvarman. No particular
mention has been made about its particular orientation in
the inscription. Voqel is incorrect in sayinq that the
temple faces to east. Both, the Laksana and Ganesa as
well as Mani Mahesa temple face to north. The position
of Nandi also confirms it which stands in front of Mani
Mahesa temple.

The historical as well as archaeological importance of

the Nandl inscription lies in the fact that even in the
seventh century A.D. the architects as well as composers
of the inscriptions were well conversant with the science
of temple architecture. Secondly, this could not be the
temple as described in the inscription. H, Goetz has
maintained that the state sanctuary of the Brahmapura
kingdom, i.e. Mani Mahesa temple was destroyed during the
Tibetan invasion under Khir-srong Ide-btsan (755-97 A.D.) ,
If Goetz is correct it is highly probable that the same was
rebuilt several centuries later at the same site in the
same orientation. Therefore, the art-style and architecture
of the present temple cannot be assigned earlier than the

Narasimha temple built by queen Tribuvanarekha (940-60 A.D.);

and later than Sahilvarman's naqara temples of Chamba tovm.

Notes and References

•'-J. Ih. Vogel, "Inscriptions of Chamba State", AST AR.

1902-3, pp. 240-4; idem, "Antiquities", pp. 143-4, no. 7,
pi. X.

^Ibid.. p. 144, fn. 2.

The original inscription in-situ was read for re-checking

to the present author by Dr, R.K. Kaul Deambi of Kashmir
University, Srinaqar.
See also Vogel, 0£. cit«. pp. 243-4.

Dictionary. s_.v., p, 194; for comparison, see his

An Encyclopaedia of Hindu Architecture. s_.v,, p. 172.

A.K. Coomaraswamy, "Indian Architectural Terms",

JAGS, vol. 48, 1928, pp. 253-4.
7 _
For an elaborate discussion on praqqriva. see M.A. Dhaky,
"Mattvaranam in Vastu^astras", JOI.vol. xvi, no. 1, September,
1966, pp. 70-8.

Cf. E_I, vol. vii, p. 71,

^BS, Chapter LIII and LVI.

^*-Vooel, "Antiquities", p. 144.

"^^H. Goetz, The Early Wooden Temples, p. 27; cf. V^oqel,
op. cit., p. 255.


ARAJANI - A women e n q r a v e r of P u n i l a - P r e n g u l a and Canouya

q r a n t s of Ganesavarman of A . D . 1 5 5 8 .
( " A n t i a u i t i e s " , P a r t I I , no« 1 7 , l i n e 1 7 , p p . 5 4 - 5 ; n o . 1 8 ,
l i n e 10, o, 56).

CHHA... KA - An o v e r s e e r of A.D. 1225 or 1169? He s u p e r i n -

t e n d e d t h e work of e r e c t i n g a f o u n t a i n s t o n e d e d i c a t e d t o
Varuna a l o n g w i t h s u t r a d h a r a whose name i s i l l e g i b l e i n t h e
same i n s c r i p t i o n ,
( S a i F o u n t a i n I n s c r i p t i o n of t h e R e i g n of A j a y a p a l a ; S a s t r a I
(A.D. 12257) or K a l i 4270 (A.D. 1169?) " A n t i q u i t i e s " , P a r t I ,
. n o , 35, line 4, p. 237),
DADHA - An architect who renovated the Durga temple at Hat
Koti in A.D. 1888.
DEVA - The son of Deva, a stone mason of A.D. 1144 who
carved the fountain-slab dedicated to Varuna with carpenter
(Luj Fountain Inscription of the First Year of Jasata;
Sastra 41 81 (A.D. 1105-6), "Antiquities", Part I, no. 28,
lines 5-6, p.205),
DURUGU - A carpenter of A.D. 1716 who was one of the nine
artisans enqaqed in the repairs of Vajreshwarl Devi temple,
(Vajreshwarl Inscriptions, "Antiquities", Part II, no. 103,
p. 175).
GAGGA - A s t o n e ijiason of A.D. 1170 who c a r v e d t h e Salhi
fountain with Sahaja.
( S a l h i F o u n t a i n I n s c r i p t i o n of Rajanaka L u d r a p a l a of the

27th year of L a l i t v a r m a n ; .^astra [ 4 2 ] 46 (A.D, 1 1 7 0 ) .

" A n t i a u i t i e s " , Part I, no. 33, line 3, p. 223.

GUGGA - A mast'^r c r a f t s m a n of A.D. 680-700. He was t h e

b u i l d e r of four temples and a l s o c a s t t h e a s t a d h a t u imaqe
_ / _ ^ •• ^
of L a k s a n a , Ganesa, Nandi and S a k t i .
( i n s c r i p t i o n s of Chamba S t a t e , AS I AR,
1902-3, pp. 242-4; a l s o "Antiquities",
Part I, nos. 5-8, pp» 138-45 ) .

GUGAKA - An enqraver of the Baijnath prasastis(A.D. 1204).

(The second prasasti of Baiinath, IZI.
vol. i, line 33, p. 115 ) .
JEMALA- An architect of A.D. 1716, who shared the renovation
work of the Vajreshwari temple with other artisans.
(Vajreshwari Inscriptions, "Antiquities",
Part II, no. 96, p. 174; no. 97, q. 174;
no. 09, p. 175).
JIDU - A carpenter who participated in the work, of the
renovation of Vajreshwari temple,
(Ibid., no. 38, p. 173 ) .

JIT- An enqraver of the courtyard inscription at Baijnath.

(ASI. AR, 1905-6, p. 22).
KAMLONE - A carpenter of A.D. 1144.
(Luj Fountain Inscription of the First Year of the Jasata,
"Antiquities", Part I, no. 28, line 5, p. 208).
VADAN - An ironsmith who shared the work of the renovation
of Vajreshwari temple.
(Vajreshwari Inscriptions, "Antiauities", Part II, no. 86,
ivIRARCHU - The chief supervisinq architect under whom were
enqaqed eioht artisans in the renovation of the Vajreshwari
temple at Chamba.
(Ibid.. no.85, p.172; no. 87, p. 173).

NANNA - A sculptor who made the BhaqawatI imaoe qf Tur (Cha'-nba).

(Tur Imaqe Inscriptiqn, "Antiquities ", Part I, no.19, line 3,p.175).

NAYAKA - The h i g h minded son of Asika (A.D. 1 2 0 4 ) , who

was t h e head of masons; came f r o m S u ^ a r m a n ' s town (Kanqra
p r o p e r ) t o B a i j n a t h and c h i s e l l e d the l o f t y temple of Siva
and i t s mandapa,
(The F i r s t P r a ^ a s t i of B a i j n a t h , E_I, v o l . i , l i n e 36, p p . 1 0 7 , 1 1 1 ) .
PANJA-MANAKA JIMAKA - The maker of t h e Markuli imaae (Udaipur,
L a h a u l - S p i t i ) . He appears t o have been a r e s i d e n t of the town
of Bhadarvah (J & K) as mentioned in the i n s c r i p t i o n .
(Markula Image I n s c r i p t i o n , " A n t i a u i t i e s " , P a r t I , n o , 4 8 ,
l i n e 6, p . 2 5 1 ) .
RUPUNU - An enpraver (A.D. 1396) of the Mahesa and Junorar
Copperplates of Bhotavarman.
(Antiquities", Part II, no. 2, line 12, pp. 24-5; no. 25,
line 16, pp. 31-2) ,
SAHAJA - A sculptor, who chiselled the Salhi fountain slab
with Gaqqa (A.D. 1170).
(Salhi Fountain Inscription of Rajanaka Ludrapala of the
27th Year of Lalitvarman; ^astra[42]46 (A.D. 1170),
"Antiquities", Part I, no. 33, line 3, p. 233.
SHAMJ- This must be the name of some writer on architecture.
Samu-drishtim anusrityanirmita" constructed (the lofty temqle
of Siva by two architectes, Nayaka and Thodhuka) in accordance
with the opinion of Samu". However, F. Kielhorn thinks that
Samu must be read as sastra. i.e. "in accordance with the
teachinq of the ^astras".
(The First Praiasti of Baijnath. EI. vol. i, lin 37, pp.107,
111, footnote 72; cf. Readinas From Baijnath Pra^astis, lA.
vol. XX, p.115).
SIDDHAPA - A s c u l p t o r of the n i n t h c e n t u r y A.D., who
fashioned the IVhjjuni Devi imaae d i s c o v e r e d from Nirmand.
(Note on t h e Nirmand Wbsk I n s c r i p t i o n AO, v o l . i , p . 2*^2).
THODHUKA - The son of Sammana, was one of the most p r o f i c i e n t
a r c h i t e c t s of Kanqra who fashioned the temple of Siva a t
B a i j n a t h with Nayaka.
(The F i r s t P r a ^ a s t i of B a i j n a t h , v o l . i , l i n e 3 7 , p p . 1 0 7 , 1 1 1 ) .
Notes and References

The list includes the names of the architects, stone

masons, carpenters and engravers of the inscriptions and
those temples, surveyed in the present study,
The names of some artisans besides those not listed
above are: Saqata (no. 91), Bhia (no. 92), Dabhia (no. 93),
Godho (no. 101) and Jiva (no. 102); cf. "Antiquities",
Part II, pp. 173-5.