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Rashtrakutas, Pratiharas, Pala
Increase in the number and size of grants of land – major states battling to control the northern plains
Kanauj, focus of an agrarian concentration –
base of military activity – an attempt to revive the notion of a single kingdom having primacy
Rashtrakutas – based in the Deccan – employed the Arabs at senior
levels of adminstration – since trade was beginning to bring impressive profits
Pratiharas – western India –
descendants form the Gurjara pastrolists of Rajasthan – ruled over a large part of Rajasthan and Malwa
Palas – eastern Ganges plains –
control the circuit of the Arab trade with South east Asia through the ports of Bay of Bengal
Creation of New Settlements
Emergence of many kindgoms – reflected in the cultural life – with increased attention to regional and dynastic histories and a patronage to local
cults – clan goddesses whose origins went back to the worship of aniconic deities
However, temples and worship now meant endowments,
donations and offerings, apart from deification
The Temple in its Final Form
The principal architectural features of a temple are as follows: The sanctuary as a whole is called a vimana, and the pyramidal or tapering roof above this is called the shikhara. Inside the vimana is a dark chamber, the cella, called the garbha-griha (literally the 'womb-house'), and this is entered by a doorway on one side. In front of the doorway is a pillared hall, or mandapa, which serves as an assembly for devotees. In some examples the mandapa is detached from the vimana by an open space. Leading up to the mandapa is a porch or ardhmandapa. In some parts of the country it was common to enclose the temple complex by a boundary wall made of rectangular cells facing inward, thus forming a courtyard.
Architectural Details, Decoration & Sculpture
Much of the architectural character was the result of
repetition of motifs. - the Shikhara made up of many
miniature ones repeating themselves time and again and are
miniature shrines. The origin of the Shikhara is the subject of intense
debate, due to its prominence and characteristic form. Some theories on its derivation: from the sphere of the
Buddhist stupa, from the domed huts of central India, and also from the pyramidal covering on a ceremonial chariot of the Aryans.
A direct influence from Buddhist architecture. For example, the introduction of the chaitya arch (kudu), and the unmistakable vaulted roof as survives in the Teli-ka-
Mandir at Gwalior.
Indian temple architecture has often been called
sculpture on a mass scale rather than true
architecture. This is because there was little structural inventiveness or technical ingenuity. No attempts were made to solve the problems of spanning large distances, instead the Indian mason relied on gravity and mass for his
structure to stand, and the piling of massive blocks one
on top of the other ensured stability without using mortar.
Guilds and the Vastushastra
Two institutions that greatly influenced temple construction brought about this close coordination.The first was the seni, or guilds. Initially a system of apprenticeship, the guilds slowly became hereditary and knowledge of temple construction and sculpture was passed down through the generations from father to son. A large project necessitated a guild being obliged to settle on the site for a long period, sometimes a generation or more.
Thus "a large architectural undertaking became an art center from which a local school and style were derived."
Pratihara Style, 8th – 9th centuries A low socle and a simple and relatively stunted spire A wall decorate with a single band of sculpted niches crowned by tall pediments An unpretentious plan – consisting of only the sanctum and vestibule – sometimes preceded by a porch
The canonical Shilpa texts refer to the Nagara, the Vesara, and the Dravida styles of temples. The classification is made according to the shape and the Nagara style is defined as being quadrangular all
over, from the base to the shikhara. The cruciform ground plan and the curvilinear sikhara
are the identifying features of the Nagara style.
Characterized by a beehive shaped tower, made up of layer upon layer of architectural elements such as kapotas and gavaksas - all topped by a large round cushion-like element called an amalaka.
The plan is based on a square but the walls are sometimes so broken up that the tower often gives the impression of being circular.
In terms of Architectural developments in Indo-Aryan idioms Western India was one of the richest, in early times. Later between early 11th and late 13th centuries, was also an important phase of architectural development. Pre-11th century period was marked by raids from Afghans and the resultant strife. Once the Delhi Sultans took over there was relative peace and prosperity and this also resulted in establishment of communities due to prosperous trade and commerce in the region. Solanki rule also provided the much needed stability and Anhilwada-Pattan became the important center of culture in this region. The wealth, which came to this part was also largely due to its geological position on coast, which was enroute all the international routes from its long coast line. It was thus a focus of trade and commerce and the trading communities, whose general state of affluence was very high -diverted part of their resources to create a form
of religious architecture and became one of the distinct form of architecture of that era continuing the
finest traditions, which till date is ongoing. Many of the examples of these fine creations are no more, as the succeeding centuries of Muslim rule brought down many of these following 13th century. In 15th century this part was once again dominated by Muslim rule followed by Moghul take-over followed by brief and sporadic spells of Marathas until British finally took over the administration. Princely states in Saurashtra and other parts of Gujarat did continue, though, all were subjugated under British. The territory of Gujarat also possessed the unrivalled resources of crafts and building traditions, which was the other factor they had at their disposal, which provided a favourable climate.
Shiva Temple at Sander, North Gujarat - 11th century Solanki period
The perfection of form, innovations based on canons and stylistically matured treatment of parts of building became important features of the achievement in the architectural expression.
Sun Temple @ Modhera
SUN-worship in Gujarat is known from remote antiquity as in whole of India - indicated by the number of inscriptions found and strengthened by the distribution of monumental remains
constructed in accordance with the shilpasastra standing on a kharasila (basement) consisted of the garbhagrha (shrines) and guha-mandapa (a hall), a Sabha-mandapa or ranga-mandapa (assembly hall or outer hall/theatre hall), locally known as Sita Chavadi. In front of the temple is the Ramakunda. On its sides and corners are various small shrines with the images of gods and goddesses namely Jalasayi Vishnu, Trivikrama, Goddess Shitala etc.
The general structure of main body of the temple enclosing the mandapa (hall) and garbhagrha
(sanctum sanctorum) is rectangular, with its
length inside the walls 51 feet 9 inches which is almost exactly double of its width of 25 feet and 8 inches. Total area of about 1275 sq.ft is divided into nearly
two equal halves. The inner half occupies the
garbhagrha and the front one the mandapa (hall). The sanctum sanctorum is a 11 feet square inside. Between the outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum and that of the temple is the pradakshina-marga or
bhrama (the circumambulatory passage). This passage
was roofed with flat slabs laid across and carved with rosettes on the undersides and above this, rose the sikhara. Outside this sabha-mandapa are two pillars of a
torana from which the arch is missing.
The mandapa as usual is peristylar with an octagonal nave covered by a splendidly carved dome.
The plain walls are more than compensated by the exquisitely carved pillars and the architraves portraying scenes from the Ramayana.
The sabha mandapa (the assembly hall) is carved with scenes from the Mahabharata. The Surya-kunda also known as Rama-kunda is rectangular and measures 176 feet north to south, by 120 feet east
to west. It has many terraces and steps leading to the water level.